Irish women in their 80s are seeking contact with adopted children under the Irish government’s new scheme
The Adoption Authority of Ireland says older women are coming forward to look for information about their children who were put up for adoption.
The recently introduced Birth Information and Tracing Act allows people to seek more information than they might previously get about their birth relatives.
It gives access to people who were adopted, boarded out or had their birth illegally registered to their birth certificates, birth, care, and medical information.
The services are provided by the Adoption Authority and the child and family agency Tusla.
The authority said that 1,288 people have applied for their birth information since the services were launched a week ago.
Of the applications so far, 1,176 were made from people living in Ireland, with the rest coming from countries including the UK, the US, Australia and Canada.
Thirteen of the UK applications were made by people living in Northern Ireland.
Earlier the agency released details of numbers that had expressed interest in its Contact Preference Register (CPR).
Of the 2,174 applications submitted to the CPR since July 1, 1,922 were from adopted persons, 236 from birth parents and other relatives, and 18 had their birth details illegally registered.
Of those applications, 1,743 were from within Ireland, 119 from here in the UK, 49 from the USA, and 245 from people in other countries around the world.
Dublin is the county with the most applicants, followed by Cork, and then Kildare. The county with the fewest applicants is Leitrim.
Adoption Authority chief executive Patricia Carey today told RTE radio that people who have contacted the scheme are seeking reunion with their relatives, to find out how their children are, and adopted people are seeking information about themselves.
“Adopted people are looking for their birth certificates. For many adopted people it will be the first time they will see the document – their own true identity, the identity they were born with,” she told RTE radio.
Since 1953 in Ireland 50,000 people were put up for adoption.
Ms Carey said her agency expects between 5,000-7,000 people to come forward before the end of this year.
“We have had mothers in their 80s coming to us and saying for the first time ‘I want to make contact’ – maybe mothers who before said ‘I never want to have contact’ or were slightly fearful, but I think now that’s a very small cohort.
“We deliberately targeted nursing homes and places where older people will be living – community centres, GPs – to ensure they have information and particularly people who are maybe not digitally savvy, that they have a paper copy of what this legislation means.”
Ms Carey said 98 per cent of applications for the service have been via the website Birthinfo.ie.
People can also call the authority on 00 353 1 230 9300.