3. Intermediary agencies

You can use an intermediary agency to help you trace a birth relative if you were adopted or you’re related to someone who has been adopted. The fee for the service depends on the agency.

You can use an intermediary agency if:

  • you were adopted before 30 December 2005
  • a relative of yours (including a relative by adoption) was adopted before 30 December 2005

When an intermediary agency finds a person, you can only contact them if they agree to it. If they don’t agree, the agency won’t tell you their name or whereabouts but might be able to share some information, like:

  • their domestic or family circumstances
  • their general health and well-being

If you don’t want to be contacted

Adopted people and birth relatives can use the Adoption Contact Register to say that they 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. There are 2 types of veto called an ‘absolute veto’ and a ‘qualified veto’.

An ‘absolute veto’

This means an intermediary agency can’t approach you under any circumstances (your adoption agency can still pass on information to you, eg about a hereditary medical condition or details of an inheritance).

A ‘qualified veto’

This means you can say when you would be prepared to be contacted, eg you could say that an approach on behalf of your birth parent wouldn’t be acceptable, but an approach by a sibling would.

More help and information

For further information on intermediary services you can contact: