- Contacting a family member separated by adoption
- Adoption Information Register
- Support from VANISH
- Support from Adoption Information Services
- Other support organisations
- Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria
- Births, Deaths and Marriages in other states and territories
On this page
Contacting a family member separated by adoption
Once a person affected by adoption knows the name of natural family members, they may want to contact them. This may include:
- an adopted person wanting to contact their natural mother
- a parent wanting to contact their adult child that was placed for adoption
- a child of an adopted person wanting to find natural grandparents, or
- someone looking for an adopted sibling.
Adoption Information Register
The Victorian Adoption Act 1984 (External link) requires Adoption Information Services to keep this register. It enables people affected by adoption to connect with others affected, if they wish.
The Adoption Information Register records the details of each applicant and their wishes about contact.
- apply for information
- check the Adoption Information Register for information about you, or
- change your information on the Adoption Information Register.
Begin the process by downloading the application form.
Support from VANISH
Contacting family can be difficult. People affected by adoption will often seek support.
The Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help (VANISH) (External link) is funded by the Department of Justice and Community Safety to:
- assist people with their search for family from whom they have been separated by adoption
- provide support and guidance throughout the search and contact process.
VANISH staff members often have a personal experience of separation from family by adoption. They can offer appropriate assistance and support to our service users, with empathy and respect.
- adoptive parents
- extended family members, and more.
Support from Adoption Information Services
Sometimes, Adoption Services will provide support to people to search for family, following that person receiving adoption information.
This is most likely to occur in more complex circumstances.
For more information, email email@example.com (External link)
Other support organisations
Other organisations may also offer support to search for family separated by adoption. Relationships Australia Victoria Forced Adoption Support Service (External link) provides support on how to search for family members.
Many of the organisations that were adoption agencies in the past now offer support to people affected by past adoption. This includes:
- Berry Street (External link)
- Uniting VicTas (External link)
- Catholic Care Victoria (External link)
- Anglicare Victoria (External link)
Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Support is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria or Tasmania who have been separated from family, community and culture.
You can seek assistance from Link-Up Victoria (External link) to find and be reunited with your family, culture and traditional Country.
Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria
Sometimes, people affected by adoption will seek information from the Register held by Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) Victoria to assist with their search.
This can be done in two ways:
- you can apply directly to BDM
- you can have the Adoption Information Service seek information on your behalf.
Information from the Register sought directly from BDM is controlled by the BDM Access Policy (External link). If the information you are seeking is allowed for under this policy, you can apply directly to BDM (External link)
If information has not been allowed for under this policy, you can ask the Registrar to review the decision (External link). In doing so, you must specify the reason for wanting to access the information (External link)
Adoption Services can also request this information for a person affected by adoption. This information will usually be provided in the form of a letter rather than a certificate.
Apply for information from the BDM Register through Adoption Services using our application form.
Births, Deaths and Marriages in other states and territories
In some states or territories, Births, Deaths and Marriages will provide information from the Register to allow people affected by adoption to search for natural family.
However, they may ask you for a letter from the Adoption Information Service including details of the adoption, and verify that you were entitled to receive this information.
If you are asked for a verification letter, the Adoption Information Service can provide this to you.
Details for each BDM can be found here: