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Descendants of deceased adopted persons DAP

(18 Posts)
bigpondza Thu 13-Dec-12 16:17:47

I started reseaching my family history after I discovered that my father had been adopted. He died without telling his family that he had been adopted and, looking back, this new knowledge explained a lot about his character. I searched for his birth information only to hit brick wall after brick wall. I discovered that because my father had not asked to see his birth records before he died I, as his child, did not have the right to access this information because, in terms of the Adoption Act of 2002, I was not considered to be a birth relative.
That was several years ago and since then I have formed a support and pressure group Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons (DAP) to fight for the rights of people who like me are denied access to birth information. We have the support of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and expert legal help. We have run petitions on the 10 Downing Street website, brought a personal test case in the High Court in London - when the case went against me because the judge said that it was not a matter for the court but was a matter for Parliament to change the law. Involving MPs and ministers, approaching the law commission and now we are waiting for the House of Lords select committee on adoption legislation to publish its report in February next year, when we hope that they will make recommendations to change the law.
We believe the intent of the Adoption Act was to make access to information easier for all birth relatives and that it was an omission that descendants were not included in the definition.
One of the arguments put forward by the GRO is that they have to protect the righs of the birth parents - my father was born in 1923 and adopted in 1927 - his birth parents could not be affected by my gaining access to this information. If you or someone you know is affected this way by the restrictions of the Adoption Act please join DAP by contacting me as the co-ordinator either on facebook or through the BAAF Search and Reunion website.
We believe we have a right to know our biological heritage.

whenim64 Thu 13-Dec-12 16:37:28

Great job bigpondza. I wish you every success with your campaign. We have adopted famly members who have gone to some trouble to ensure their children don't hit brick walls when they want to research their family histories.

Bags Thu 13-Dec-12 17:00:23

The case as you state it does sound odd, pondza. Perhaps, if there are other petitions to get the law changed, you could highlight them on gransnet for us to have a look at. Good luck with your searching and your campaigning.

jeni Thu 13-Dec-12 17:43:26

Sounds very strange law!

Nonu Thu 13-Dec-12 18:07:34

Keep fighting , big pondza , and good luck .!

[festive smile]

grannyactivist Thu 13-Dec-12 19:51:38

Hello bigpondza and welcome. I spent many years as an adoptions counsellor so am aware of this legislation and in fact I followed what I now realise was your court case (heard before Justice Roderick Wood?) quite closely. I'm glad that you have continued to fight for this and that BAAF have been so supportive - I wish your campaign success.

bigpondza Thu 13-Dec-12 20:39:38

Hello grannyactivist

It is good to chat to someone who knows about this legislation. People who are new to it have difficulty getting their minds around it.

Since my court case, we thought we were making progress with the Law Commission reforms and then they decided that they did not have enough resources to follow through. Our recent activity has been submitting evidence to Baroness Butler-Sloss, Chairman of the Select Committee and although our matter falls outside her terms of reference, we believe that she will add something in her report due out in February.

We would like to find an MP who would lay down an amendment about the same time as the adoption committee report is published. We have several MPs on our side and questions have been asked in the House.

I am about to start tackling the problem from an equality point of view and will be taking it up with the relevant Minister.

If you would like to exchange ideas with me directly you are welcome. My e-mail address in on the Search and Reunion site.

Thanks for your interest.

bigpondza Thu 13-Dec-12 20:40:11

Thanks for your support. It has been a long hard fight and it is not over yet.

bigpondza Thu 13-Dec-12 20:41:29

Yes it is a strange law. The intent of the amendments to the adoption Act in 2002 were to make access easier but we were overlooked. It has to change.

bigpondza Thu 13-Dec-12 20:43:08

I strongly believe that adoption is not a taboo subject and should be openly discussed. I think my father was ashamed and felt rejected.

grannyactivist Thu 13-Dec-12 20:51:27

Adoption has been a topic of conversation here on GN many times bigpondza.
Has Michael Gove been approached about this issue? He was adopted himself and has an interest in the matter.

janeainsworth Fri 14-Dec-12 11:50:47

pondza just bumping your thread for you.
Why don't you post a link to the Search and Reunion site, as that would make it easier for people to contact you.
Just copy and paste the URL and then put it in double square brackets smile. There are instructions from Gransnet if you scroll to the bottom of the thread.
Best of luck with your campaign.

bigpondza Fri 14-Dec-12 16:16:50

Thanks Jane, I was not sure of the rules about promoting organisations and so held back but here is the link:

If you click on Descendands of Deceased Adopted Persons on the LHS it will take you to the campaign page then scroll down to the bottom and you will find me. The page is a bit out of date and I must liaise with BAAF to change it.

Hope to hear from everyone soon.

Nelliemoser Fri 14-Dec-12 19:08:56

Bigpondza I have a suggestion worth trying if you haven’t already.
Do you have your father’s adoption certificate?
Your father’s original birth details would still show his mother’s surname on the GRO records, but not on the birth certificate. This would be changed with the adoption.

You would need to know his mother’s surname at his birth to search these records.

I assume you have his date of birth.
If you have the full names of his adoptive parents, try to search backwards for the adoptive parents marriage and see if you could find his adoptive mothers previous surname.

Trace him on the adoptive mothers previous surname first.
His adoptive mother might actually be his birth mother and "adopted" him with a new husband to reduce the stigma of his illegitimacy. Legal adoption only started in 1927.

If that doesn’t work I would look back at the 1911 census to see if you can find the adoptive mother there and if she has any siblings or sisters.

It may be that if your dad's mother had died or was unable to care for him, an aunt or other family member may have taken over his care and adopted him. It would not so have been unusual in any family.

From the 1911 census I have recently discovered that when my unmarried PGM was pregnant with my dad she was sent off to stay with a step Aunt to get her out of Liverpool. It solved a mystery about where he was born.
I assume that you are signed up on one or other of the family history websites.
I would love to know if you find anything out.

bigpondza Sat 09-Mar-13 10:36:35

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Mr Edward Timpson has agreed to meet with Nick de Bois MP to discuss the rights of descendants of deceased adopted people, after Mr de Bois raised questions in Parliament this week. DAP would like to thank Nick and his colleagues for raising this matter at this crucial time as the Children and Families Bill has recently been published.

1. There is an article on Nick’s website here:'s-work/latest-news/nick-highlights-the-problems-faced-by-the-descendants/560

2. YouTube link showing video footage of the question and its answer:

We are considering whether this meeting (date to be advised) could indicate a slight softening of opposition by the Department for Education. As you know, DAP, with substantial support from BAAF and other organisations, has been campaigning to get the Department to amend the law, but, of course, this change could be due to the fact that the House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption Legislation Report was published on 6 March 2013 containing the following important statement:

274. We believe that the exclusion of descendants of adopted persons from the definition of relatives in section 98 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 creates an unfair anomaly in the legislation. This can be a cause of significant distress. We recommend that the Government amend section 98 of the Act to bring within its scope the direct descendants of adopted persons. The Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005 should be amended accordingly.

Exciting Times. It is not certain that this recommendation will be accepted, but it is a significant step forward.

Jadey Sat 09-Mar-13 22:33:26

So happy for you bigpondza!!!! best of luck

Galen Sat 09-Mar-13 22:42:02

Well done!

bigpondza Sun 08-Sep-13 14:05:06

Baroness Sally Hamwee has tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill to enable descendants of deceased adopted people to obtain information about the birth records of their adopted relative.

It takes the form of a new clause which would alter the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

Children and Families Bill
After Clause 6 - Insert new clause

(1)Section 98 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 is amended as follows.
(2)Omit paragraph (a) of section 98(1) and insert –
(a) assisting
(i)persons adopted before the appointed day
(ii)the descendants of persons adopted before the appointed day
who have attained the age of 18 to obtain information in relation to the adoption of the adopted person”

This amendment would grant descendants of deceased adopted people the same rights as other birth relatives to request access to intermediary services in order to obtain the information they need. The financial impact on government of such a change would be neutral because the infrastructure to handle these applications is already in place.

This amendment will be debated at the committee stage of the Bill, in the House of Lords, probably on 9 October 2013.