Birth Records Counselling

Benefits of our Birth Records Counselling service:

As an adopted person it is your statutory right to access your birth records. Sometimes it is stressful and time consuming to achieve this, especially if you are a busy person. It can be a lonely strenuous journey without support, and we aim to take the anxiety out of your search. This is a discreet way to find out more about your birth identity and your first family, your origins and roots and the circumstances of your adoption, without the need to contact any birth family. This service gives you a chance to digest information before deciding at a later date if you’d like to find a parent and go on to the next stage of the journey. 

The Birth Records Only Journey

Time Frames

We have to take steps to trace your records which are set down by The Care Standards Act. These steps are set out below. First of all, we must warn you that it is rarely a speedy process. On average it would take three to four months to receive records.  Sometimes it is quicker and sometimes the process can take even longer. We need to prepare you for this. However, in order to minimize anxiety and frustration we will update you at every step of the way by giving you a call and explaining our actions. We also invite you to call us to check progress, if you are at all concerned. At the very least you will know where you are on the journey, and you will be given reasons for any delay. 

On Boarding

Emma, who is my work partner and is a social work birth records counsellor, will talk to you in detail in order to on board you onto our service. Emma will undertake a full Consultation with you about your expectations and she will also undertake a risk assessment to ensure that we are aware of any vulnerabilities around the adoption and your circumstances. Once she has completed this Emma will hold your details until she receives your adoption documents and can then move onto Birth Records Counselling.  

You may have documents that help us move forward more quickly but if you don’t we will write to the General Record Office to ascertain the direction we should take.  For example, if you have your birth name we can move forward more easily but if you don’t – we can contact the General Record Office for this and locate your original birth certificate. It often takes up to six weeks to hear back from the General Record Office.  We may also have to write to the court who undertook the Adoption Order for more information, and this again could take some time and we must warn you, will slow the journey down.    

You will receive our Easy Read Terms and conditions in which we set out what we can do and what we can’t do for you. 

Once we have clarified the Appropriate Adoption Agency who hold your adoption records, we will contact them for your file. This can be more complex…..sometimes we have to go to several agencies but we always persevere until we get the right place. This again can be sticky in terms of time, and you will see if you look at the Joanna North Adoption website blog that we have made strenuous efforts through our research with University of East Anglia in 2022 to ensure that the Dept for Education meet our expectations that birth records for Adopted People should be more easily available. We will be updating you about any delays. We continue to gather data about delays so that we can report back to the Department for Education.   

illustration showing birth records counselling in process - opening birth records

Once we do receive these records, we will let you know so that we can prepare you for the next stage.  This will be the point at which you pay the next instalment of your fee to us. You will already have spoken to Emma as she will have undertaken your Initial Consultation and Risk Assessment. Emma will generate a short report explaining your records and set a suitable appointment time with you.  

If we are unable to locate your records…. There will be no further payment due from you and we will explain why we have been unable to locate these. On the other hand, we may have a plan to battle on and find them and we will talk to you in detail about any such plan.

If once the Birth Records Counselling is complete, you feel that you are ready to move ahead to a tracing and intermediary service, please let us know. This is a separate journey over and above birth records counselling, and we will discuss the cost for this next stage of the journey and prepare you to move forward. 

Meanwhile throughout all our work Jo our manager will be in the background supporting Emma with any vulnerable cases and ensuring that we comply with Ofsted standards. As is usual with our work please let us know immediately if there are any complaints and Jo will deal with these and talk to you. Please see our Service User Experience Procedure. We always put things right for our clients. Jo and Emma also engage in monthly reflective practice together so that we can be sure we are working at our very best both psychologically and emotionally for this challenging work. We also run a monthly Adults Affected by Adoption group. We also have a podcast called Mind Kind and more recently you can hear adopted people talking about the struggle to find their birth records. Here is the Mind Kind Podcast page where you can find all episodes and many podcast services for easy downloading. Listen here on apple podcasts.

We are looking forward to working with you!

From the Joanna North Adoption Team.    

Email us with any questions:

Further information: Birth Records Retrieval and Counselling Service