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New Book Reveals Pain of Birth Relatives Seeking Contact with Adopted Adults

Originally Published 7 July 1997
I'm Here Waiting is the title of a new book published 15th July which calls for major changes in adoption legislation and management to create a more sensitive system that gives birth parents and other relatives more legal rights to information about their adopted children once those children become adult.

Under current legislation birth relatives have no legal right to information about adopted adults. The only formal way they can express their wish to be contacted is to pay to put their details on the Adoption Contact Register. If the adopted person also registers then the birth relatives' details are passed on to the adopted person, who may or may not desire to make contact. Yet the Register has received little publicity and few people know of its existence. For most birth parents it is an agonising wait with little hope of a successful link being made.

I'm Here Waiting, by Professor Audrey Mullender of the University of Warwick and Sarah Kearn, is the first research study to examine interviews of birth relatives who have used the Contact Register for England and Wales, established in 1991. The book uses the 1784 responses to the survey to pinpoint anomalies created by current legislation and the emotional turmoil that results. Many relatives complain of the frustration and heartbreak of finding that the Register offers no proactive search facility.

The book also challenges perceptions that birth relatives are likely to disrupt the lives of adopted adults. Birth mothers speak of wanting to 'thank' adopters, of seeking to pass on medical information and of a fundamental need to know to whether their child is still alive. Many of those searching are brothers and sisters who feel a desperate need to contact a brother or sister who may have been placed before they were born.

Notes for editors:
The full title of the book is I'm Here Waiting: Birth relatives' views on Part II of the adoption contact Register for England and Wales (ISBN 1 873868 41 3) by Professor Audrey Mullender and Sarah Kearn. It is published on 15th July by BAAF publications. Review copies are available from Susanne Clarke on tel 020 7 593 2071
The research for the book was sponsored by the Nuffield foundation.

For further information please contact:-
Professor Audrey Mullender
Department of Applied Social Studies
University of Warwick
Office: 024 76 522353 Home: 01926 858242



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