The Adoption Barometer is a unique, annual snapshot of adoption in the UK, based on survey response data from thousands of participants from prospective adopters to adopted adults.

In 2021, we asked adopted adults about their experiences of transitioning to adulthood, what support they felt they needed as they moved into independence, and what was actually available to them.

More than 70% of adopted adults told us that they needed more support to help them transition to independence, but only one quarter felt that they could find support that understood their needs as an adopted person. A shocking 60% of adopted adults aged over 25 had paid for counselling, therapy or support since turning 16.

For 2022, the Adoption Barometer is focusing on experiences of establishing and maintaining relationships with birth family members. Although plans for maintaining direct relationships with birth relatives, especially siblings, are becoming a more common feature of modern adoption, the overwhelming majority of those adopted during the 20th century did not have this opportunity.

We want to understand more about the impact both of maintaining birth family relationships in childhood and being unable to do so, from the perspective of adoptees. How well have adopted young people been supported either to maintain relationships with birth relatives, or to cope with the loss of these relationships? What are the challenges faced by adopted adults tracing birth family members in adulthood?

Adopted children are frequently reliant on their adoptive parents to support them in establishing and maintaining direct relationships with birth family members. Our separate survey for adoptive parents focuses on attitudes towards ‘direct contact’ and perceptions of the barriers to achieving it. Where direct contact is taking place, we ask about the support available for the child, the adoptive family and the birth relatives involved.

The Adoption Barometer 2022 will be published in June.

Previous Adoption Barometers

Celebrating Success, Inspiring Innovation The Adoption Barometer in Wales