A question of rights

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A question of rights

Postby Alba » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:46 pm

Hi folks,
I have a question for any lawyers out there.
Adopted adults have the right in this country to access their original birth certificates. However, if they are not told of their adoption before the legal age of access, e.g. in Scotland at 16, they are effectively denied that right. It is certainly undesirable to withhold this information from individuals, but is it unlawful?
And if it isn't, should it be?
I'd be interested to hear what people think?
Alba
 
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Re: A question of rights

Postby ladyarcher » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:01 pm

I'm not a lawyer of course...........just a crusty old adoptee........

Don't quite see where you are coming from........as far as I know the information can be applied for at any age past that of actual childhood depending on where that is set......... as you say, in Scotland, at 16....... just because you either don't know, or don't immediately apply on attaining that age, you are not denied the right..........are you saying that children should have their original birth certs. from birth whether they want the cert. or not, or rather, whether they understand the implications, which they won't of course, for quite a while...........

There are many reasons why children are adopted, some of them are very bad reasons, in that they have had to be taken away for their own safety.......I am sure you are not saying that children in that position should be in possession of their original details from very young........we already know that young children are accessing unsuitable things on the internet, it would be very little effort for many of the more internet savvy ones to find their birth parents at an age when they are truly not capable of making any reasoned judgments...........

La - born 1944 - adopted 1946 .......etc
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Re: A question of rights

Postby Alba » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:27 pm

Thanks for the reply Lady Archer.

My question is about late discovery adoptees, who are not informed by their adoptive parents that they are adopted, perhaps ever, or well after the age when they would have the right to access their birth certificates. The law gives them the right to the information, but they are effectively denied the right because they don't know that they are adopted.
It's very sad thing, but is it illegal?

Hope that clarifies my question
Alba
 
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Re: A question of rights

Postby ladyarcher » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:18 pm

Interesting question, I had approximately thought that was what you meant..........I think that it is likely to be one of those grey areas that has probably never been tested.......as far as I know there is no 'duty' by law, to inform a child that it is adopted, either as a duty by the local authority or agency who arranged the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the Government via the General Registry Office............it would be fairly rare these days for a child never to know they were adopted, but I guess it is just possible perhaps, particularly if they never applied for a passport.....

...... about 25 years ago I was in the records office when it was still in St Catherine's House in London, after it had moved from the much more beautiful Somerset House.........while I was there I overheard a lady probably in her late sixties or thereabouts, she was getting very upset and agitated because she could not find her birth entry in the registers..........rather thoughtlessly I said to her had she looked in the adopted child register, which I was looking in at the time..........she looked, and there she was......... she had never known that she was adopted.......she had recently lost her very elderly mother and was needing various certificates, one of which was her own birth cert.......... she had never had it, had never been abroad, had never married........ her mother had told her that all the family papers had been destroyed in the bombing in the war, and as they lived in London she had no reason to doubt this.......it was, of course, a considerable shock to her, and in retrospect I feel I should have done something, or said more to her........ but I was young and very comfortable with the idea of adoption having lived with it for as long as I could remember, and had little idea that others might not feel quite the same way.....of course, for her it was too late to find out anything at all........ the one person who could have told her anything, her 'mother', had just died, and even if she could have done any tracing back then, it would have been unlikely that her b.mother would still be alive ........

I guess that if such a law was ever made that all adoptees should be told they are adopted, then it could not stop at that, there would also have to be the provision for access to papers and answers to questions, along with all the rest of the stuff that goes with it, such as searchers, intermediaries, counselling services available, etc and a lot of people around to pick up the pieces when things went wrong....... I cannot see that the financial resources necessary to carry out everything that would be needed would ever be put in place.......that is not counting all the behind the scenes clerical work that would have to be done simply to find all the paperwork .............. birth mothers, adoption and adoptees are just not that important to the powers that be.......

Perhaps it would be interesting to bring up a question like that at the Court of Human Rights........

LA
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