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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 00:12 GMT
'I have always known it'
As reports suggest adopted children want to know more about their past, one teenager, who was adopted as a toddler, says a number of changes would make the system more open.

Family
The reports recorded a 38% rise in children in care being adopted

Larry Baker, 18, says he has "basic information" about his birth parents and the background that led to his adoption 16 years ago.

But this was largely due to the efforts and openness of his adoptive parents.

"What I know of them was passed down to me from my adopted parents and from scrapbooks they made for me when I was adopted," he said.

"They have always said they will support me if I ever want to get in contact with them [birth parents], but at present I don't really see the need to get in contact, seeing that I have a loving family where I am and also I am at university and getting on with my life".

The portrayal of adoption is that it's hard to get through and not really worth it
Larry Baker

Larry, from London, has vague recollections of becoming part of his adopted family.

"The only memory I can really remember is being in the waiting room where I was adopted and being picked up by my parents," he said.

"I just remember I was wearing a red and white checked shirt".

As well as meeting his new parents, he gained two adopted sisters, and later a brother was born.

Larry has a photograph of his birth mother, who he said could not cope with bringing him up because of her own problems, but there was little information available about his birth father.

Growing curiosity

He said his parents have always been open about his adoption.

"I can't remember them telling me, but I have always known it," he said.

Larry said up until the age of 16 or 17 he "just got on with" his life not dwelling too much on his past.

However, recently he has become more curious and has been thinking about making contact with his birth parents.

"Probably in a couple of years, or a few years, when I have more time to pursue it," he said.

Larry has a phone number to contact his birth family although he does not know how this was able to be passed on.

"I suppose having this basic information has satisfied my curiosity, but if I wanted to know more I'd probably find it out myself."

New measures needed

Larry, who is studying to become a journalist, believes there could be problems for others in getting information about their birth families if the adopted family was less open.

"What is needed is some sort of port of call where people can go to find out about their birth parents, which is really what this report is saying, as without that it's difficult".

He suggested a government body could be set up in this role.

He feels the birth parents should not be given a choice to opt out of being put on such a database.

However, he feels an intermediary body could act between birth parents and children, and it could set up meetings, or pass on the news that the parents did not wish to be contacted.

Larry also feels the adoption "system" should promote itself in a more modern and positive way. He also believes the media has a role to play in promoting more positive images of adoption.

"The portrayal of adoption is that it's hard to get through and not really worth it," he said.

But Larry says adoption has been very positive and happy for him.

"I'm definitely better off now that if I'd stayed in that situation. I've made a life for myself... If anything I feel lucky," he said.


SEE ALSO
Adoptive homes sought for boys
03 Nov 03 |  Northamptonshire
Move to tackle adoption crisis
25 Mar 03 |  England
Adoption law reforms considered
11 Sep 03 |  Scotland
Shortfall in families to adopt
04 Nov 03 |  Scotland

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