Access to birth records

If you're an adopted person and would like to access your birth records, please read the guidance below. 

Depending on the time when you were adopted, the rules may vary, but we will try to give you the appropriate advice so that you can get the information that you need.

Your birth records are the official information that relates to you before you were adopted. It includes the following:

  • Your birth name
  • Your birth mother’s name and your birth father’s name, if this was recorded on your birth certificate
  • The district where your birth was registered
  • The name of the court that granted an adoption order
  • The date of the adoption order
  • In some cases it may also provide the name of the agency that dealt with your adoption.

In most cases you must apply to the General Register Office (GRO) to receive this information using the Birth Information Before Adoption (BIBA) application form. This form is available online by clicking here

If you currently live outside of the UK you will need to apply using this form by clicking here.

If your adoption took place before 12th May 1975 and you do not know your birth name then you MUST have a counselling interview with an adoption advisor. In all other cases you do not have to have a counselling interview, but one will be available if requested.

A counselling interview will involve a discussion with an adoption advisor, who is a qualified social worker with training and experience in adoption. The areas covered in the counselling interview will be about your experience of adoption, what you know or do not know, as well as advice on moving forward- such as accessing adoption records and your views on tracing and contacting any members of your birth family.

If you are starting out on this journey it can be quite daunting, so it is often helpful to have this counselling interview in order to understand what is involved and be advised by somebody who is experienced in this area. This service is free of charge.

In very rare circumstances where there is some evidence that receiving your birth records information may endanger yourself or others, then an application for birth records information may be refused. 

If it is the case that you do not know your birth name, but you know the adoption agency that facilitated your adoption (the Appropriate Adoption Agency or AAA), you could go direct to that agency for release of your birth record information. [If you wish, they will also offer a counselling interview with you too]

In all other cases (i.e. you were adopted after 12th November 1975 and/or you do not know the adoption agency (AAA) involved in your adoption), then you will need to apply directly  to the GRO and make an application for birth record information via completion of the BIBA form. 

When you complete your BIBA form you will be asked if you wish to have a birth records counselling interview and with whom. If you would like a counselling interview, there are three options available to you on the form. These are your Local Authority, or Regional Adoption Agency; an Adoption Support Agency or Voluntary Adoption Agency; or the General Register Office. If you choose Adoption Tees Valley as your Regional Adoption Agency, then in most cases you will be referred to Adoption Matters, which is a Voluntary Adoption Agency who are contracted to access birth records information for people on behalf of Adoption Tees Valley. The information will be sent to the agency that you have requested to do your birth records counselling interview.

If you do not wish to have a birth records counselling interview, you will need to provide documents that give proof of your current address, alongside the completed BIBA form. Information will be sent directly to you, as opposed to the agency undertaking the counselling interview. 

Once the information has been sent out by the GRO the agency will inform you and will usually offer an appointment to you within one month. If there is a waiting list it may take longer. If there is any reason why you might need to be seen sooner, please let the agency know and they may be able to arrange a priority appointment for you.

Hopefully this has provided you with enough information to begin the process of accessing your birth records information. If you are still unsure about anything, then please get back in touch with us. Additional information is also available on the following website: https://www.familyconnect.org.uk/

If you'd like any further support please feel free to contact our support team on 01642 526 400 or email info@adoptionteesvalley.org.uk