Dilemma: how can I find my birth family?

Katharine Whitehorn / 16 August 2016

A readers writes in to ask how he can begin tracing his biological parents.

Dilemma: I want to find my biological family

I was fostered as a baby. All my life I have wanted to know about my birth family but I have no idea where or how to start. 

I have a birth certificate but that’s all. My own children would also like to know their roots and medical history – so important these days. 

I was born in London but now live in Devon.

Katharine Whitehorn says

The first step is to try to find out if you were in the care of the local authority or were fostered by a charity such as Barnardo’s or the Children’s Society. Try contacting social services in the borough of London that you grew up in. 

The internet is an excellent resource for tracing. The website adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk has a useful guide for both adopted and fostered adults wanting to trace their birth family.

The website is run by CoramBAAF, the successor to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering in London, which has a database of all adoption and fostering agencies in the UK, past and present – though not of the children they looked after.

It’s not difficult to do the search yourself and I suggest you give it a go first. If you then decide to use a tracing agency, bear in mind they will charge a fee. Good luck.

Read more answers to dilemmas from Katharine Whitehorn

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