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Regional Origins Tracing Service (ROTS)

ROTS has been operating successfully from 1 October 2003 and will continue to operate subject to funding. Adopt NI delivers ROTS as a tracing service for Family and Childcare Social Workers in the statutory and voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland. ROTS can only be used by social workers searching on behalf of adoptees, birth mothers and birth siblings and those who are looked after. On average Adopt NI helps 180 people per year via this service.

Outside Agencies Tracing Service (OATS)

Adopt NI established this tracing service in April 2009, for those social workers and agencies who do not qualify to use ROTS, such as childcare social workers employed outside Northern Ireland. It operates in exactly the same way as ROTS although fees apply to cover our resources for this work, for which we currently do not receive funding.

Private Tracing Service (PTS)

We can offer a private tracing service to adoptees and adults who have been looked after (fees apply); however we encourage everyone to trace via a statutory agency.

Intermediary Work


Our intermediary service is designed to ensure individuals establish contact safely and at a pace that suits both parties. If a trace identifies the person you are seeking, we can contact that person and ask if they are willing to establish contact. If they are, we can help both parties to decide what sort of contact they want (letter, email, phone, face to face). If contact progresses well and in time both parties wish to meet, we can facilitate the reunion or put you in touch with a qualified intermediary (fees apply).


Help to Remain Anonymous

If an adoptee or birth parent does not want to have contact and does not want the other party to gain identifying information, Adopt NI will endeavour to assure the person feels confident that their wishes will be respected and can work with the other party to help them accept and respect the other’s wish to remain anonymous.


We are proud to be able to deliver a varied range of support, to suit individuals who contact or are referred to us. Whatever stage an adult is at during their adoption journey, can be emotionally demanding, whether tracing, lead up to contact or reunion or indeed just dealing with the challenges and questions that adoption can pose.  We offer a range of support either face to face, via phone or email :


Peer Support


Adopt NI we offer peer support on a one-to-one and group basis. Through listening and sharing experiences peers can learn from one another and gain insight and understanding into their own and others' perspectives. Both one-to-one and group support are facilitated by an experienced member of our team.


One to one

One-to-one support offers individuals an opportunity to talk in confidence to one of their peers or an experienced member of the Adopt NI team.

We can arrange for people to meet with someone else from within the adoption or looked after community e.g. an adoptee meeting up with a birth mother or another adoptee. The meeting would be facilitated by an experienced team member. Similarly a member of the Adopt NI team can meet with you individually.

The service is aimed at those who are not ready, or do not want, to attend a support group. It is free and open-ended, i.e. it is available as often and as long as the client needs the service. Use our contact form for more details.

Support Groups

General/Mixed support groups are open to all adults with a connection to adoption, i.e. birth parents, their partners, adoptees, their partners, siblings, adoptive parents, etc). 

Adopt NI are always keen to address the need for specific support groups if required and are keen to hear from professionals or individuals from across NI regarding this.

We currently run a general support group:

Venue: Adopt NI offices at Unit 2, 18 Heron Road, Belfast BT3 9LE - Parking is available.

Time: 7.30 - 9.30pm

Date: First Tuesday of every month (except when it falls on a holiday)

Specialist Counselling


Counselling is available for those who feel it is right for them. Our counsellors are fully trained and accredited by BACP and specialise in the issues that surround the adoption and looked after communities. (Fees apply but can be discussed if this is an issue)