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.
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