Adoption Information

Step-parent adoption

If you or your partner have children from a previous relationship living with you then you are a stepfamily. When step-parents are taking full day-to-day responsibility for stepchildren they may want to make their relationship with these children more formal. One way to do this is adoption. A stepparent who is the partner of the natural parent of a child can apply to adopt their partner’s child or children. There are other ways now to take on parental responsibility for stepchildren and you need to consider what is best for the children, you and your partner.

Special guardianship order

A special guardianship order is an order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘special guardian’. It is a private law order made under the Children Act 1989 and is intended for those children who cannot live with their birth parents and who would benefit from a legally secure placement.

Intercountry adoption

If you are thinking about adopting a child from abroad we suggest you contact the Intercountry Adoption Centre (link: advice line on 020 8447 4753, where their qualified social workers will be able to advise you. But remember that inter-country adoption is a more complicated process than adopting children from within the IOM, as both IOM law and the laws of the child’s birth country will apply.

Adopted adults

If you are an adult who was adopted as a child, the following FAQs may be of interest.

Where can I find out about my adoption?

If you were born or adopted in the Isle of Man, contact About Adoption with as much information as you have already. We may not have your adoption records but we will be able to point you in the right direction. Services on the Isle of Man differ slightly to those in the other UK countries and this can be explained to you, depending on your individual case. It is also possible to make use of After Adoption, a specialist adoption agency based in the UK that support adopted adults and their families:

How do I get a copy of my original birth certificate?

If you were born in England and know your original name and place of birth, you can apply directly to the General Register Office (GRO) in Southport:

If you don’t know your original name and were born in England, you need to apply through the GRO in Southport for ‘’Access to Birth Records.’’

If you don’t know your original name and were born in the Isle of Man, contact us and we will talk you through the process. How you obtain the certificate from the IOM Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages will depend on when you were adopted and where you are living now. Follow this link to their website: where you can find more information.

I have heard that I have to have ‘counselling.’ What is that all about?

This is not any form of therapeutic counselling- this is more of a session of advice and information. It is a good opportunity for you to talk about your adoption and make an informed decision about what you may want to do next and ensure you are aware of the possible consequences of those actions.

Do I have to have this counselling?

When the law changed and adopted adults became entitled to receive their original birth certificates, many families (both birth and adoptive) who had been assured complete secrecy surrounding their adoption felt vulnerable and exposed. To ensure that those receiving this information had the opportunity of thinking through the possible consequences of any search, adults adopted before 11th November 1975 in England and Wales and before 1st January 1986 on the Isle of Man are required to have a session with a social worker to talk about these issues. If you were adopted after these dates it is advisable but not compulsory that you attend a counselling session.

How do I find my adoption records?

Contact us with a copy of your original birth certificate, your adoption certificate and any other information you have or have been told. We have a reference directory which gives us details of where past adoption records are now held. We will help locate yours. In some cases, sadly adoption records no longer exist, or have been lost (particularly records prior to 1950). If you were placed privately for adoption, there may be no records.