I have a great deal of sympathy for those parents and children who were affected by pressures, during the post-war years, to give children up for adoption. Since the 1970s there have been major shifts in the way society sees the family, single mothers, and the needs of children and successive governments have done much to collectively resolve the social ills of the past. Society has become less judgemental and it is now, rightly, no longer considered a stigma for an unmarried mother to keep her baby.
The importance of facilitating greater openness in adoption has been recognised for a number of years. Adopted adults have the legal right to see their birth certificate and their adoption file in order to find out about their family history and the circumstances in which they were adopted. Both adopted adults and their birth relatives are able to apply to intermediary agencies for assistance with tracing family members. Intermediary agencies also provide counselling, support, and advice to adopted adults and birth relatives. Further changes through the Children and Families Act 2014 will extend the provision of intermediary agencies to assist a wider category of relatives, including the children and grandchildren of adopted adults, to help trace relatives and find out about their family history.