Q and A
HOW DO I FIND MY BIRTH PARENTS?
I was born on 17th March 1942 and when I was about five years old my mother and father told me a story, saying that they were not my real parents. Of course at the time it just went in one ear and out the other. They told me my parents both died in the war. We were all living in Hackbridge, Wellington, Surrey.
I left the UK in 1967 and have been in New Zealand for 40 years, and both my foster parents are dead. A couple of years ago I was cleaning my flat and happened to knock down a picture of my foster parents; the glass had not broken but the metal frame had twisted, so I got the cardboard back off and underneath was a folded piece of paper. I carefully folded it out and to my shock it was my adoption order. Well I sat down, had a beer, and had a think about it, seeing my real motherâ€™s name, Dorothy î ºî º, and my fatherâ€™s, Thomas î ºî º.
I then obtained a birth certificate, but my fathers name was not on it. I donâ€™t know which way to go now, and would love to know if I have a blood relative somewhere, so I am asking if you could kindly help me in some way. A friend of mine said it was fate; that picture just had to drop.
Because of the nature of your enquiry and the possibility that either or both of your birth parents are still alive, I have not included their surnames.
The General Register Office maintains a record of adoptions made on the authority of courts in England and Wales in the Adopted Children Register. It is from this register that adoption certificates are issued. At 18, an adopted person can apply for a certificate of their original birth registration, via the â€˜Access to Birth Recordsâ€™ service at the General Register Office. From 30th December 2005 changes to the law enabled birth relatives to also apply for access to an adopted personâ€™s adoption registration. However, access to adoption records for birth relatives must be done via intermediary agencies.
Adopted persons or birth relatives wishing to make contact with each other can register on the â€˜Adoption Contact Registerâ€™. This was originally set up to put adopted people and their birth relatives in touch with each other if that is what they both wish. As from 30th December 2005 the register includes the facility to not only request contact but also specify no contact. There is more detailed information on the General Register Office website (www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/adoptions).
Whether either or both of your birth parents did die in the war, or whether this was an explanation suitable for a five year old, must be your question. Did they in fact not die but perhaps marry and have further children, your half-siblings? According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commissionâ€™s website (www.cwgc.org) 23 Thomas î ºî º with UK nationality died in action from 1942. But of course he may not have been British, and possibly was stationed in England from the USA, Canada or elsewhere. You could search the Indexes to Marriages for Dorothy î ºî º sometime after you were adopted. As there are likely to be several entries you would probably need to restrict the search to the Wallington area of Surrey. It is always possible that your parents did eventually marry each other.
The adoption order was issued by a magistrate for the County of Surrey, before the Juvenile Court sitting at Wallington. The order gives only the names of your parents but no other personal detail. It may be that that further information was recorded at the time and survives in the case file. Regrettably nothing is guaranteed. There is further information on the Surrey County Council website www.surreycc.gov.uk â€“ type â€˜adoptionâ€™ into the search box.
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