Access to Files

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Access to Files

Postby AdoptedAsOlderCHild » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:43 pm

Hello all! I have applied for my foster care and adoption files. I was adopted as an older child (as per my username!) and spent quite a lot of time in care. I applied for my files many, many months ago, and I'm pleased to say that they've just been located. I'm pleased at least that they haven't been "lost". However, they are now in the process of being redacted, which I'm told could take some time. 'Redacted' isn't the word they used but it's the word I'm going to use, because that's what it is. Anyone else have experience of receiving their files and what is and what isn't redacted? I can understand why in some way, but then in other ways it's a complete nonesense as if everything that's not about me is redacted out, how am I supposed to know anything....

Also, the whole process so far has been quite a bureaucratic exercise and also an exercise in persistence. 40 days!! Erm, no!
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Re: Access to Files

Postby Lowrider Lincoln » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:13 am

Hi,

Welcome to the forum..

When I applied for my adoption file it was explained to me that all files can and are subject to censorship. It's not censorship of information about yourself, it's to do with the privacy of your adoptive parents. At the time your adoptive parents were applying to adopt they will have been vetted for suitability. Much the same as nowadays things like personality, social upbringing, financial position, background checks etc. Apparently it is their privacy that can not be accessed to you. Some of the same checks will probably have been done regarding your birth mother if it was a planned adoption, that information will not be withdrawn, you should have access to it if available.

If your files are being accessed by your councillor or social worker then it is at their discretion as to what is presented or redacted. My councillor was pretty good in as he was keen to forward as much as possible. His opinion was that my needs to answers was greater than the intended privacy of my adoptive parents.

As it turned out my files contained nothing at all about my adoptive parents. Don't really know where that information is kept but it wasn't with my files.

My adoptive mum told me that their first application to adopt was refused due to her overweight problem ( at the time she was probably a size 14 weighing about 12stone!) she wasn't overweight, just didn't fit their perfect ideals. The adoption agency's at the time had free reign on who or what they saw fit to adopt. A lot of the time social status played a bigger deciding factor than anything else. The point I'm trying make is, I was expecting the information about mums weight to be withdrawn but had birth mother had same issues that would be passed on.

I hope you get a speedy resolution, it is agonising waiting. I know from personal experience.

Best wishes.
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Re: Access to Files

Postby ladyarcher70 » Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:25 pm

Hello AAOC ...... and welcome, from me too.......I too was adopted as a slightly older child, but not, I would guess, as old as you.....I was just around two ..

... I can't add any information about files because my local authority still insists it has never heard of me......despite me giving them full information of my date of birth, place of birth, birth parents' names and address, birth father's army number and barracks.....the hospital I was born in, the childrens' home I spent a short time in......and full details of my a.parents and date of adoption..and the fact that I had found my b.mother and was in frequent contact with her, and I was in contact with my b.father's family, although he had already died.......

....why? .....you will be saying to yourself did I want any info. from the local authority......well, it was because I was looking for my full sister who had been adopted separately, and of whom I had all the same info. as myself, including her birth cert..... but of course, in her case, I did not have the details of her adopting family .. although I did know that she had gone somewhere not very far from me.......as it turned out she had been about ten miles away from me all our childhood....... but that's another story....

Local authority reckoned they had never heard of her either, at the time I was enquiring, some years ago now....... however I had put a notice on the Adoption Contact Register fairly soon after it's start........ and fifteen years later, when my full sister at aged 63, decided to do some searches herself...... her social worker, from the same local authority that had never heard of us, checked the register, and there was my message sitting waiting for her.......

So you can see that I don't have a lot of faith in local authorities and their efficiency......or rather their lack of it........ hopefully you will get some useful info..... but whatever your outcome, keep coming back here for help, support, a rant.....whatever you need at the time......someone will always be listening....

LA70
born 1944 - adopted 1946
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Re: Access to Files

Postby AdoptedAsOlderCHild » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:26 pm

Hello both, I hope you had a good new year! Thank you for replying to my post, and I'm sorry for not replying sooner. This is mainly because it's all actually quite stressful, but also because Christmas happened and then I forgot my password and also the passord to the email account I was connected to! Anyway.

Lowrider - I've had some issues with my LA wondering whether they can release information about my birth mother (who is deceased) as she is a 'third party'. However, if I don't have information about my birth mum, then what is the point? I know who she was and I remember her, but given the circumstances of my adoption (from care), information about my birth mum is very relevant (in fact, I'd say it's relevant to adoptees of all types of adoption). A lot of my records will be foster care records, and, because of this, in some ways my reasons are more similar to a care leaver applying for their files (many moves etc). I hope they don't only give me the information about me - ie. what I was doing and saying. I also need information about other people.

Ladyarcher - that's dreadful! Sometimes I feel that there's no or little accountability anywhere. Don't people realise that these are people's lives? I'm glad, though, that the Adoption Contact Register worked for you at least and that you got in contact!

I am particularly frustrated by what feels like my local authority acting as 'gatekeepers' of information. I understand that they need to follow laws and protocols but it feels extremely patronising. I know that certain information was released to my adoptive parents, certain information had been given to foster carers before them, and certain information will be given to me. The only people with the full information will be social services. I find this bizarre.

I think that compared to some I may be unusual in that I already have a lot of information and I'm already in contact with the people I want to be in contact with (for which I am thankful). But because of this I'm having a hard time explaining why I want the files. But I don't really understand why my local authority has to get their head around this if I have my head around it! I guess that it's a protocol thing. But for me, it's as much to do with wanting to know what they wrote as wanting to know what happened. I don't feel that these are necessarily the same things. (Although I wouldn't say it in quite that way to them).

I dont' want t say too much but it is particularly frustrating. And stressful.

Oh, and I did originally get quoted '40 days' - ha!
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Re: Access to Files

Postby ladyarcher70 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:30 am

Hello again AAOC...... I can definitely relate to your wanting to know what was written, rather than what happened.... because they often are two very different things, and this has influence on how we are treated and looked upon by others ............ as I said in my post, I have nothing 'written'...... because they don't have a record of me.......so they say....

.... however when I found my sister, which is six years ago now, she had been given some bits of info. from her a.parents, which had presumably been given to the a.parents by Surrey at the time of her adoption. The thing was, that most of what she had been told was fairly wildly inaccurate........ this included where she had actually been born ...... which was the same hospital as myself, and only sixteen months later..... My sister had been told she was born in Guildford........when in fact we had both been born in Woking ....... and she had great difficulty in accepting this even when I showed her our birth certs ..... now these things may seem quite trivial to a lot of people, who have not been adopted, but they are important to us adoptees, and as you say, people don't 'get it'.....

These little bits of info. written about us, are just tiny bits of ourselves that we can hang on to, when so many other things have been taken away from us........there is always this thing quoted at us that 'we were adopted and were lucky'.... and it was 'for our own good'........ but the fact remains that we did not get the opportunity to agree to this act that was to be so 'good for us'............. unrealistic of course, to think of a baby, or even a young child, having enough understanding to agree or disagree to this total change ........ but at the end of the day as they say, it was done to us without our consent......and so, at some point in our lives we should be able to at least have the information we want, without having to jump through endless hoops ...

....doing something to an underage person without their consent is now referred to as 'abuse' ....... it is surely 'abuse' to take away someone's life ....... and although we were not killed...... our lives were taken away from us ........ our names, our relatives, our heritage ...... all gone ......

sorry..... if this seems over dramatic ........ but when I let myself think about it, which is not often, it angers me.......

LA70
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