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Information » People in Your Life » Being in Care » Adoption


Adoption is when you are legally made part of a new family and no longer belong to your birth family.

Some people are adopted at birth and some people are adopted later in life, if their parents cannot look after them anymore or if they are adopted by a step-mother or father.

Adopted at birth

Some parents wait until their child is older before telling them that they are adopted and others will tell their child at a young age. It's the decision of the parents whether or not to tell the child they are adopted at all.

  • Finding out you are adopted can be a confusing and emotional time so get as much support as you can from family and friends
  • It is natural to feel angry and upset but try to talk about your feelings as much as you can with your parents. They are there to support you and want to help make it easier. Ask as many questions as you want
  • Remember, whether or not you are blood-related, your adopted parents are still your parents and they are still your family
  • Some people want to find their birth parents. This might be upsetting for your adoptive parents because they are the ones who love you and raised you. Talk to them and help them understand why you want to meet your birth parents
  • Remember it is easy to build up people in your mind and your birth parents may not live up to your expectations, so don't make any decisions without thinking it through fully and talking to someone like your adopted parents or a friend
  • Your adoptive parents are the ones who have raised you, fed you and kept you safe, so show them the respect they have earned and keep them involved with your thoughts. This will be a very hard time for them too and they might be worried about losing you
  • You must be 18 or over to trace your birth parents. You can then see your birth certificate and gain information about what court or agency handled your adoption. This is the best route to finding your birth parents but remember, there are no guarantees and you should be prepared for disappointment as not everyone can be traced

Being adopted

Deciding whether or not you want to be adopted is a huge decision that no-one should pressurise you into making.

  • You will legally be part of a new family and not your birth family so you must be happy with your decision. Adoption is forever, but it doesn't necessarily mean you can't see your birth family again. You must make your choices clear during court proceedings whether you will want to see your birth family
  • If you feel over-whelmed, try talking to someone outside of the situation like a friend, a friend's parent, a neighbour, social services or a teacher at school. They will support you during your decision but they cannot make it for you. Alternatively, try calling one of the many organisations dedicated to helping young people, such as MEIC, who will listen and give confidential advice
  • Remember, adoption does not change who you are only who is legally taking responsibility for caring for you

If you are thinking about having your baby adopted, please talk to someone you trust who will be supportive in giving you advice before making any decisions. For information that will help you to make this decision please go to www.baaf.org.uk

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