20. The problem with interrupting due process

Traffic lights. problems with interrupting the intermediary process

The problems that arise if you interrupt the intermediary process before it is completed.

We understand that our clients are always very keen to get on with the process of finding their birth relatives. You may recall also that this is often a lengthy process taking anything from 3 months to over a year…see our leaflet ‘why does this take so long?’ We do explain this to people, but they often forget as emotions get stronger and the journey makes progress. We are here to support you with this. Very occasionally people get so exasperated that they decide to contact their relative themselves, ignoring the work that we are doing and perhaps finding people on social media and directly contacting the person concerned. In this leaflet we want to explain why this is not a wise choice and what to do if you are feeling this process is too slow.

  1. Firstly, we understand your frustration. The legally required administration in adoption tracing is slow. We want to re-assure you that we are always pushing this process along. For example, we contact local authorities again and again when they do not contact us, and we don’t take ‘no response’ for an answer. We are probably well known by now for complaining when Adoption Authorities do not respond.
  2. Recently in 2020 we were of course held up by Covid 19 restrictions. Although we were all still working, the General Records Office was closed and not giving out any of the information that we needed to proceed. We want to thank all of the people who understood this, but we know and understand that for some people this was unbearable and frustrating. This is just one example but there may be other events that hold up this public work and if we know of this we will always let you know.
  3. If due to delay you do feel the urge to make contact yourself and by-pass the intermediary service, we are setting up – please make your first response to be to call us and tell us about that. We will always advise you not to do this because it can be disruptive to the subject of the search. This can be confusing to them especially if we have already started the sensitive journey of contacting them and we are waiting for a response.
  4. We are always very concerned that this may appear to be disrespectful of the rights of the subject to take their time to consider their options to respond to our request. We have to consider their wellbeing. This is why we wait and let people take their time and it is why we support you to wait too.
  5. If you call us at this time, we will always show you exactly what stage we are at and what we are doing to try to make progress. We will explain where the search process is stuck and will explain to you what we are doing about that. We will try to put a time frame around this to help you.
  6. The great danger is that it may ruin your chances of a good reunion and we would not want this for you. Whereas when we take our time and contact a subject in a thoughtful way it causes them the least disruption and the best chance of thinking carefully about what they want to do. Don’t forget that the subject of the search has the right to say no and they may be deeply upset or offended by being contacted directly especially if we are already in contact with them.
  7. We want to cause as little disturbance as possible to the subjects of our search and this may mean waiting for a while to see if they wish to make a decision to respond. We cannot give an exact time on responses…sometimes people respond in a few hours, sometimes it takes weeks and we have had people respond within months.
  8. We have a duty of care to protect you as well as the subject of the search and to conduct this search in a timely, legal and dignified manner. This is why we will always ask you please not to jump in and by-pass the intermediary process once it has started. So don’t forget

Call us straight away if you feel the tendency to do this so that we can help you understand clearly what is going on and support you with counselling or advice.

We will ask you not to contact the subject directly as we know this can have disastrous consequences for everyone.

We will check and double check to see if there is anything we can do to help make progress and we will keep you informed.

We will have to make it clear on the file that we cannot be responsible for outcomes if you do interrupt this process. We also cannot refund your fee to us for the work we are doing as we will still have to close the file and make many communications for a full intermediary service.

We hope you will understand our request. We will be working with you on this so please let us help you.

Dr. Joanna North.

Consultant Psychotherapist Adoption.

September 2024.

Joanna North Adoption (Ofsted registered)

Traffic lights. problems with interrupting the intermediary process