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Old 06-12-2006, 03:03 AM
Robin Harritt's Avatar
Robin Harritt Robin Harritt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
Total Points: 86,677.26
Finding people on the internet?

Hi All

Any one have any proffesional experience of this in the UK?

Has anyone here used services like friends/genes reunited, to search for family that they have lost touch with through being in care or adopted? How about free message board services for those who are searching?

Have you found them useful , do you think they are a safe way of finding people who have been separated from family during their childhood, for whatever reason?

This is an increasingly popular way for adopted people and their relatives to search, now that government's new regulations have forced reputable agencies in to charging ever more ridiculous amounts to cover the preposterous red tape that is now involved. That and the often hideously patronising "counselling" being provided often by people who have a counselling qualification but no real idea at all about the issues surrounding adoption and family separation.


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Old 06-14-2006, 01:17 AM
Robin Harritt's Avatar
Robin Harritt Robin Harritt is offline
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Total Points: 86,677.26
Some will remember my story from


I'm not sure how things have changed recently in Scotland or if adoption regs are still being reviewed, so what's written below may not all apply to the situation north of the border. I don't think all of the changes down here are for the best, as a result people are turning more to the internet.

As you probably know I work for an adoption support agency on a voluntary basis. I'm always being told how awful things on the internet are and that "they ought to be banned".

I've just been in touch with my putative father's daughter from his later marriage, so possibly my half sister. She was looking on Genes Reunited for family tree info, someone spotted it and drew my attention. My message must have come as a bit of a shock to her. She has been able to fill in some gaps and tell me about another previous "family" of his that are mentioned on my Barnardos ( Dr Barnardo's Homes) file. Barnardo's Family Connections in Barkingside are astoundingly useless at helping with anything like this.

So I have a personal interest in this as well as wanting to do a bit of private research in to the number of positive stories and the number of disasters. so far I've not heard of any bad results on any of the groups I've posted to.

I've been the internet myself for over 10 years and couldn't tell you of a single incidence where anyone has had a serious problem arising out of using the internet for family searching. I've personally managed to reunite quite a few people, sometimes because I already know the person they are looking for from the groups.

Human nature being what it is, there no doubt have been some less happy stories.

A lot of people haven't found what they were hoping for and have been disappointed. For some the whole thing has fallen apart after a little while, but that would have happened however contact had been made. No social worker or counsellor can make people who are just not compatible, compatible.

As long as you follow a few common sense safety rules, I think it is an excellent tool for people searching. I wish the internet had been available 15 years ago when I started out. I could have told Barnardos ( Dr Barnardo's) where to go stick its unenlightened twenty year out of date (even then) "policies".

I do still think that it is a good idea to use an intermediary to make the first contact particularly in adoption cases.

I would say, beware of people and organisations on adoption groups (or anti-adoption groups) who claim to have all sorts of expertise and skills that they simply don't possess.

If you were adopted or are a natural relative, ask to see their registration with the CSCI as an adoption support agency. If they haven't got one but claim to be registered as "voluntary organisation" it doesn't mean a thing. Don't give them a penny, give them a wide berth.

If you're adopted and already know the name of the relative you seek, and don't want to use an ASA or your adoption agency, it is easy enough to do it yourself. If you're not able to DIY, you'd be better of with a decent PI firm at least most of them work to a specific code of ethics, unlike the really dodgy unregistered "research foundations" that you might come up against on the internet.. See

If you are a relative looking for someone who has been adopted and you don't know their name after they were adopted, you have little choice but to go to an ASA or the agency that arranged the adoption, but shop around and ask your local authority ss if they can help, some will. But if you want quick efficient service an ASA is the best bet but you'll have to pay for it.

For information about the new regulation and practice for adoption searches see this is not a "government website" as I've seen stated elsewhere, it is compiled by BAAF and it is authoritative. The government's web site on all aspects of adoption legislation including search and reunion is at

Most reputable agencies that help formally adopted people will also help people who have lost contact with their family as a result of long-term fostering or of being in care as a child.

Robin Harritt

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Old 06-20-2006, 08:16 AM
Robin Harritt's Avatar
Robin Harritt Robin Harritt is offline
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Total Points: 86,677.26
Just to elaborate a little

Anyone who really doesn't think it worth spending a few pounds on a reliable trustworthy registered researcher might consider doing it themselves if they are an adopted person looking for a birth relative. Natural relatives who don't know the post adoptive name of the person they are seeking have little choice but to go to an ASA or adoption agency that arranged the adoption.

It's about assurance isn't it. If an agency is registered with the government as an adoption support agency, or if it is registered with Charity Commissioners as charitable body, even if it's just a membership organisation registered with Companies House as a company limited by guarantee. Then you know where you stand you have some comeback if it all goes wrong. If it is registered as all three of those things like some membership ASA's then all the better. PI's who belong to their professional organisation work to a code of ethics, if they are a large organisation they'll be registered as a company or a limited liability partnership and have to submit accounts.

Make no mistake, no one is going to search for and find your relative for absolutely nothing, unless it is one of those rare cases where you could have found them yourself at no or virtually no cost.

Some outfits with little other than a websites and ridiculously grandiose tittles that they've given themselves are registered with sweet nothing and make some frankly ridiculous claims they they could never substantiate.

If anyone tell you they've reunited umpteen thousand people. Thousands of them in just a few months, then ask for some proof. If they're a legitimate outfit it'll be fairly clear from their annual report and accounts which you'll be able to view on the Companies House or Charity Commission website or both.

If anyone claims to you that they are an expert on anything, ask them where they gained their qualification and working experience.

If any organisation claims to you that it is a "research foundation" that phrase has a specific meaning in the UK. Ask who made the charitable grant or legacy to set up the foundation. Ask who its Director of Research is and what past professorships etc, they have held and what other research post since gaining their doctorate or equivalent.

Anyone claiming to run a 'research foundation' who can't answer those question is probably just a person with delusions of grandeur. That's usually considered a psychiatric condition. You wouldn't want them turning up on your doorstep if you were the person being sought.

In fact anyone just turning up on the doorstep who isn't a qualified registered intermediary, should be fined and imprisoned under the Adoption & Children Act 2002 and Care Standards Act 2000. And they probably will be eventually if they continue to do so and to make false claims.


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Old 07-02-2006, 06:10 AM
Robin Harritt's Avatar
Robin Harritt Robin Harritt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
Total Points: 86,677.26
Strange !

I received the following e-mail a few days ago.

I was told that a friend of yours, , with your guidance, advised the CSCI that a particular group of people were breaking the rules. Subsequently, the CSCI were advised that the reverse is the truth, and this group have persuaded them that it is who is performing illegal adoption-related searches. Because this group believe you to be involved, they have been collecting information about you. Apparently, this information is to be given to the CSCI and Barnado's and could pose a problem to you. I advise you to be cautious.

What a flipper ay, as they say in Aus. He can't spell Barnardos and why the heck does he think they'd care? He's got the grammatical skills of a seven year old, where have I seen that before? Ah, I know, amongst the publicity material for the well known "Research Foundation" that can't explain how it was founded, can't name its Director of Research can't tell us what past professorship or research posts they've held and can't tell us where they gained their Doctorate or equivalent research degree. The "Research Foundation" that isn't registered anywhere as anything and can't even show you its last years accounts. The one who's leader is so dim that she's recently publicly confessed that she didn't know what the word charity means when accuse of posing as one.

What will they do now do you suppose? Set Danny the Assistant Solicitor on me?

Or do you reckon they'll send their super expert "Public Relations Manger" over here to say "look folks it's us they're talking about" and name her "Research Foundation" just so as not leave anyone in doubt who we're talking about. Just like she did on the "Adoptions" MSN group recently. Wow, where to get a PR and Publicity Manager that good, I wonder?

Here's the header of the e-mail, if any of you get one like it just ignore the little twit, he's a fine example of the "professionalism" of the "Research Foundation" that he works for.

From - Tue Jun 27 18:21:24 2006
X-UIDL: X-Mozilla-Status:
Return-Path: <>
Received: from [] (EHLO by; Tue, 27 Jun 2006 12:39:57 -0400 (EDT)
Received: from mail pickup service by with Microsoft SMTPSVC; Tue, 27 Jun 2006 09:48:36 -0700
Message-ID: <BAY7-F548E2394EED5B6969F6AE817E0@phx.gbl>
Received: from by with HTTP; Tue, 27 Jun 2006 16:48:33 GMT
X-Originating-IP: []
X-Originating-Email: []
From: "Billy Liar" <>
To: Bcc: Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 17:48:33 +0100 Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 27 Jun 2006 16:48:36.0762 (UTC) FILETIME=[88D40FA0:01C69A09]
X-Spam: [F=0.0230263158; heur=0.500(1100); stat=0.010; spamtraq-heur=0.700(2006062112)]

He hasn't even got the guts to post through his own ISP he has to use a proxy in the middle east.

I'm sure all you people trackers, international or UK, will know which bogus research foundation to avoid.

Robin Harritt

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Old 07-02-2006, 06:22 AM
heartbeat's Avatar
heartbeat heartbeat is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 392
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umm..who are you and why are you here??

You're posting the same thing over and over.

Are you selling something? a service??

Since no one has responded, maybe you'd like to move on.

I, for one, pretty much consider this spam.
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”
--Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Old 07-02-2006, 07:50 AM
Robin Harritt's Avatar
Robin Harritt Robin Harritt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
Total Points: 86,677.26
Hello Heartbeat

I think I'm pretty well known in post adoption circles generally and hardly need to introduce myself, after all I have the courage to use my own real name. How about you?

But if feel you really need to know who I am

I have nothing at all to sell I can assure you.

And if you read the post I'm not repeating anything at all.

I am trying to warn people to be careful of a particularly dodgy bunch of people.

My apologies if that upsets you, but I can't recall you as regular to this particular forum , would you care to tell us a little more about yourself and your sudden appearance here, as you are hardly a regular to this forum?


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