Scottish Adoption Registry

Working with adoption agencies on your behalf

The Scottish Adoption Registry (SAR) is an index of adoption records in Scotland.

Established by Birthlink in 1984, The Scottish Adoption Registry is a database that holds information on the location of adoption records that are held by Scottish local authorities and other approved adoption agencies. The aim of The Registry is to have a single contact point where professionals can access basic information relating to adoptions that have taken place in Scotland.

The SAR makes it possible for anyone anywhere in the world on the provision of the birth name and the date of birth of an adopted person to quickly find out if an adoption agency was involved and if so which agency currently holds the records relating to that adoption.

The information held on the SAR consists of:
  • the birth name of the child

  • their date of birth

  • where the adoption papers are held

  • council or agency reference.

It is virtually impossible for anyone other than the adopted adult to know where adoption records are held. Often accurate information can only be gained by a laborious process of ringing round individual agencies and ex-record holders. For busy professionals working on behalf of adopted people – who often have only partial information relating to their adoption – this can be frustrating and time consuming.

Feedback from the local authorities that already participate indicates the value of having such basic information held centrally.

However, the SAR is not as comprehensive as it could be and Birthlink calls upon those Scottish local authorities and other record-holders that do not yet participate to do so.

How the Birthlink Intermediary Service can help

If you are the birth parent or birth relative (e.g. brother or sister) of an adult who was adopted in Scotland we may be able to offer you our intermediary service that will contract with, on your behalf, the adoption agency that holds the records of your adopted relative.

We will locate the record-holder concerned and seek identifying information that will allow us to search and if possible make contact with the adopted person and let them know your wishes. No details of the adopted person will be released without their permission and any decisions as to possible contact will remain with the adopted adult. You will be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

This service also applies to birth parents and other birth relatives where the child was adopted via our agency in the past, i.e. Guild of Service; Family Care and also religiously-based organisations and other non-statutory agencies.


If we are in a position to offer you an active Search service we will request a Search fee of £120.00.

Are you an adoption record holder?

Do you wish to develop your after adoption skills? If so, we offer an intermediary service for birth parents and other birth relatives seeking contact with an adult – adopted – relative. This consists of a Non-Disclosure Agreement entered into with your agency which provides us with identifying details that allows us to search for an adopted person. Once a search is successful, either our social workers or yours, if you wish, will contact the adopted person and ask them if they wish contact with the birthparent or other relative to proceed, offering mediation throughout this process.