Siblings reunited via group helping people through adoption emotional rollercoaster

To mark National Adoption Week, The Irish News is running a series of articles on the subject. Here, we examine support available to everyone involved in the process

The focus of this year's National Adoption Week is siblings 

ADOPTION is a lifelong journey which can impact upon many over the years – from the child who was adopted, to the birth mother and her family, to the adoptive parents and their family.

Set up in response to legislation allowing adopted adults access to original birth certificates in 1989, the charity Adopt NI have been helping reunite families, as well as providing much-needed emotional support and counselling to adults whose lives have been impacted by adoption.

The theme of this week's National Adoption Week is siblings, with a focus on finding the right adopters for vulnerable sibling groups of children. Adopt NI is encouraging adult birth family members and siblings to access a wide range of support available to them.

Rob, who was born in the early 1960s, accessed Adopt NI’s counselling service and through a search to trace his birth mother, also discovered a half sibling. He says that he found comfort knowing Adopt NI was able to pass a message to his birth mother.

"The discovery that I had an older adopted sibling has been a pure joy. He too was traced and over the last few years we have got to know each other and are developing a close and warm relationship," he adds.

In addition to delivering the regional tracing service for social workers in Northern Ireland and doing private tracing, intermediary and reunion work, Adopt NI runs a monthly support group, offering one-to-one support and counselling.

"Individuals often find that meeting someone else from within the adoption triad makes such a difference to them, wherever they are in their journey. We provides a range of support, facilitated by people with personal experience of adoption," says chairwoman Karen Scott-Harrison.

"Our support groups are very informal, sitting around over a cuppa, chatting about shared experiences. People feel it's a safe place they can come to talk about their issues, because maybe their family doesn't know that they are adopted or they gave their baby up," the organisation's regional manager Ciara Scully adds.

She would like to see support groups set up for older birth mothers, whose children were forcibly put up for adoption.

"My message to those struggling with this burden is to give us a call," she says. "We can go and meet them and have a coffee and talk about what help we can give them."

More information at, call 028 9045 4222 or email

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