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Adoption in Scotland

Adoption Questions

I was adopted in Scotland. How can I trace my original birth entry?

Adoption Unit at General Register House can provide you with an extract of your original entry if you were born in Scotland. Write, email or telephone (see below) the Adoption Unit providing details of your adoptive name, date of birth and your full postal address. You will be sent a declaration form to complete.

What might be revealed?

  • further information about place and time of birth
  • the original name under which you were registered
  • your mother's name and surname and possibly occupation
  • your father's name, if recorded, and
  • the name and possibly the relationship of the person who registered the birth.

This information may also give you a lead into Adoption records or Adoption Agency records. You will also be told the location of your Court records. Many older records are held in General Register House and it may therefore be possible to see these papers at the same time as you are given details of your original birth name (subject to confirmation of identity).

Contact us

Write to:
The National Records of Scotland Adoption Unit
Room 3
General Register House
2 Princes Street
Telephone: 0131 535 1355 or 1383 or 1376
You also have a statutory right to counselling services under the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

Is there any simple way of contacting my birth parents or contacting a child I have given up for adoption?

No. But the independent agency Birthlink in Edinburgh operates the "Birthlink register" for Scotland. This was set up in 1984 at the request of birth parents who, unlike the adopted person, have no statutory rights to tracing events or gaining access to Court papers etc. The following people may choose to register on "Birthlink":
  • any person born or adopted in Scotland (or where there is a close Scottish connection), who wishes to make contact with their birth family;
  • any birth parent who wishes to make contact with the child they placed for adoption;
  • any birth relative who wishes to make contact with the adopted person.

The adoption counsellors at Birthlink may act as an intermediary between the adopted person and their birth parent or relative where this is requested. When the person registering on "Birthlink" is in contact with another adoption agency with whom they wish to retain contact, then this can be recorded on the "Birthlink" form. In such instances, if a link is made through the "Birthlink" register, Birthlink will notify the other agency, at the same time as the adopted person and the birth parent, that a link has occurred on the "Birthlink" register.

More information about "Birthlink" and registration forms can be obtained from the "Birthlink" website:

Page last updated: 14 October 2014

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