Sensitivities of adoption search explained by CoramBAAF on BBC Radio as mother begins publicity campaign to find adopted child

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The sensitivities of adoption search and reunion were discussed on BBC Radio today by Julia Feast of CoramBAAF, as a mother began a publicity campaign to find the child she gave up for adoption in the 1960s.

Carol Long was 18 years-old when she was taken by her family to a home for unmarried mothers in Bedfordshire where she gave birth to a daughter who was then adopted. Now, 51 years later, Mrs Long is appealing for information so that she can be reunited with her daughter.

Mrs Long, who now lives in the United States, this morning told BBC Three Counties Radio that she was living at home with her parents at the time and family circumstances meant that she wasn’t allowed to keep her child, who she named Adelaine Shelly.

She said: “It was a very sad time for me. But it’s something that stays with you and every September 3rd I say 'Happy Birthday' to her. If I met her now I would say 'I’m so sorry' and ask her to forgive me and give me another chance.”

Julia Feast, CoramBAAF’s adoption search and reunion specialist, told the station that the law changed in 2005 and that birth relatives are now able to apply for an intermediary service so that that the adopted person can be located to find out if they would like to have contact with the birth relative who is making the enquiry.

She stressed that it is important to use an intermediary as searching and making contact with an adopted adult or a birth parent can be complex and can also stir up an array of emotions for all those involved..

“It certainly isn’t easy if you don’t know the person’s name, as in Carol’s case, because Adelaine will have a new adoptive name and this is not allowed to be disclosed to the birth mother without Adelaine’s consent.

"There are services out there and there are agencies that can help Carol to locate Adelaine. Some local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies provide this for free.  

"Coram BAAF provides a free, specialist website where Carol, and others looking for information about adopted children or birth parents, can locate where their records might be.”

Julia added: “It is really important to get the help of specialists so that an intermediary can make contact so the person seracing for their relative has time to think and process what they discover, as well as implications for the wider family.“

For more information about Adoption Search and Reunion:
Those searching for birth and adopted relatives or researching an adoption that took place in the UK, can visit CoramBAAF’s Adoption Search and Reunion website where they can search for the location of adoption records, look for local agencies that offer support services and learn about their right to make contact. 

Books on adoption search and reunion are available in CoramBAAF's bookshop, including:

  •  Special and Odd, a witty, revealing and candid memoir by James Mulholland which explores the impact of growing up adopted, searching for and finding his birth mother 29 years after being given up for adoption, and dealing with the psychological trauma and addictions he associates with his adoption.
  • Searching Questions based on a unique study about what motivates some adopted people to search or not and will help all those who decide to embark on a journey where 'truth is often more involving than fiction' and the final, unpredictable outcome may be either heart-breaking disappointment or real joy.