People aged 18+

We recognise that adoption is a lifetime experience

We provide services to people who were adopted as children, and are now adults, who may wish to access their birth records or trace birth family members.

Adopt South West provides adoption support services on behalf of the local authorities covering Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. Therefore, if you are a person who is adopted living in the Adopt South West area (even if you were adopted through another agency, or via a different local authority), please contact us if you require support or advice.

Support for people aged 18 years old and over

If you are a person who is adopted, we can offer help and support. We provide a counselling service to adults who want information about their birth history.

Please contact us using this form to access this support: enquiry form – I am an adult who was adopted

Alternatively, you call 0345 155 1076 or email

Emotional and behavioural support

  • Adoption and Special Guardianship Support Fund– funding for specialist therapeutic services; this is subject to assessment of need. Workers in Adopt South West are available to assess and advise on what therapeutic services may be the most appropriate to support you. This is available for young people who are up to (and including) the age of 21 years, or 25 years if the person is in receipt of an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).
  • If you are person who is adopted, and you live in one of our six local authority areas (Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Plymouth, Somerset or Torbay), we can help you find out more about your birth family history. This involves supporting you to access your adoption records and providing information and advice about how to trace members of your birth family, if you make the decision to do so.

Education support

  • Adopt South West can work with you to complement education-based support. While we are not able to offer direct support in college or university, we work with colleagues in education across the region; providing advice and looking at the best ways of supporting you.

Health support

  • If you have been been supported by Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) they will be able to advise you regarding a transition to Adult Mental Health services.

Your identity support

  • Therapeutic life story work could be available to you through the Adoption Support Fund. If you need any advice or support with any life story issues please email or contact the advice and support line 0345 155 1076

Financial support

  • If your family received an adoption allowance up to the age of 18 years old, in certain circumstances this can continue beyond the age of 18 years old. For more information on this, please email or contact the advice and support line 0345 155 1076

Finding your birth relatives

At the age of 18, you can apply to get a copy of your original birth certificate by contacting the General Register Office.

  • Online: (the form you need to complete is called Access to Birth Certificate Information Before Adoption)
  • Write to: General Register Office, Adoptions Section Room C202, Smedley Hydro, Trafalgar Road Southport PR8 2HH
  • Telephone: 0300 123 1837 and press option 8

If you were adopted before 12 November 1975, you will have to attend a counselling session with an adoption counsellor before your birth details are released.

We will meet with you and will try to track down information about the circumstances of your adoption. This information comes from files that may still be held by adoption agencies, other local authorities, adoption charities, or the relevant courts.

In situations where you are affected by issues stemming from adoption, some counselling may also be provided.

Adoption Contact Register

The national Adoption Contact Register helps to put people who are adopted and their birth family in contact with each other, if this is what they both want.

You can also use the Adoption Contact Register to say that you don’t want to be contacted. Tell your agency and register a veto if you don’t want to be approached by an intermediary agency.

More information about intermediary agencies and registering a veto can be found at GOV.UK – Adoption records.

More information