About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Tynan Hooper - Adoption

Monday, 16 November 2009

Tynan Hooper (33) had been adopted and has been trying to trace his original Irish births parents for over 10 years. He has had some bad luck during his search. On one occasion, the adoption agency that he was using to find his parents incorrectly informed him that his mother had committed suicide - he was told that she had committee suicide a few days after he had tried to contact her- her felt a lot of guilt about this at the time. As well as tracking down his original birth cert and some details on his early life, he is now trying to find his mother's original birth cert. Barbara Kane, Direct of social Work social worker from the Adoption Board also joins us to discuss the impact adoption can have as well as how people might go about tracing their birth parents and how she can help Tynan.

We are also joined by Barbara Kane, Director of Social Work, the Adoption Board of Ireland.

How many adoption agencies there are in Ireland and what exactly are the different types?

There are currently 10 Registered Adoption Societies.

There are 5 HSE Regional Adoption Services with 11 offices countrywide.
These offices hold records of adoptions handled by local authorities/health
boards. They also hold the records of the many Registered Adoption
Societies that have closed down over the years.

The 10 registered societies along with the HSE Adoption Services provide an
adoption information and tracing service. The registered societies
originated as adoption placement services but as the numbers of domestic
adoptions declined from the mid 1970's and as the children grew to
adulthood and began to make enquries, they moved to become providers of
information and tracing services.

How do people approach them?
By phone, email, in person (by appointment) or by post.

Should their first port of call be the adoption board?
Not necessarily, if you are already aware of the relevant agency and their
current address, you can contact them directly.

How can the adoption board help?
We can give general advice on tracing procedures and we provide a referral service to the relevant agency. The Adoption Board also provides a direct information/Tracing service to adopted persons where no other agency was involved in the adoption. The Board also runs the National Adoption Contact Preference Register which was launched in 2005 to facilitate
contact/exchange of information between adopted people and their natural

Is it a simpler process in recent years?
There is now more acceptance of the needs of both natural family members
and adopted persons for information and tracing services. It should be
noted however that the issue of the birth mothers confidentiality remains a
major consideration. Technlogical improvements and increased access to
various databases have also improved the speed and efficency of the
searching process.

How long does a tracing search take?
This depends on many factors, such as how much information the agency has,
did the adopters/birth mother maintain contact with the placement agency,
how commonplace is/was the persons name, how long ago was the adoption, the
extent and type of information the enquirer has themselves etc.

Is it expensive?
Not for the person making the enquiry as there is no charge for these
services. Following the launch of the NACPR in 2005, €1M in extra annual
funding was provided to the Registered Adoption Societies.

Do some people not want to be found, some parents?
Yes, that is very often the case, and it is really up to the parent. There are more people trying to find their natural parents, that parents trying to finds their birth child(s)

It is a very emotional time for people when they are looking for their birth parents?

The Board strongly recommends that tracers avail of individual counselling
and support throughout the process.

Is there more adoptees looking for natural birth parents, than natural birth parents looking for their children who they gave up for adoption?

Yes. For example, of the 6270 applications to join the National Adoption
Contact Preference Register received in the first 2 years of its operation,
71% were from adopted persons.

Are all the agencies regulated?
All adoption societies are registered by the Adoption Board under the 1952
Adoption Act.

What kind of regulation is there?
The new Adoptiion Bill will introduce a new regulatory framework for all
adoption service providers. Meanwhile the Adoption Board, in cooperation
with the registered adoption societies and the HSE, has introduced a
Standardised Framework for the Provision of Adoption Information and
Tracing Services.