A new Adoption Bill has been published which will enable those affected by adoptions to have the right to make contact with the blood relatives with whom they lost contact. So, mothers who gave up their children will be able to seek to make contact once the child is eighteen; so will siblings and grandparents.
Adoption is generally more inclusive today, and there are, of course, far fewer adoptions of babies. This is therefore largely a historical problem, relating to people who were adopted as children in the second half of the last century.
It is also an example of the wider availability of information these days. Confidentiality used to be the key message. Families hid their family skeletons. Girls were sent away to have unwanted babies. People with learning disabilities were hidden in back rooms. There were relatives one did not speak of.
Now, people talk of their most intimate problems on television. They take their cases to the newspapers, whatever other members of their families may think. Adoption used to be a hidden fact. Now it is coming into the open.
This is no bad thing. Adoption is a complex relationship. If it is sound, it will not be undermined by openness. But it is not the same thing as the birth relationship.
The Government Bill and draft Regulations are up for consultation on dfes.gov.uk/consultations2/29/docs/consultations.pdf .