Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

If you were not legally Adopted

If you were fostered or ‘boarded out’ but never legally adopted you may contact the Adoption Authority of Ireland or your local Adoption office for advice on how to proceed. Records of children fostered or ‘boarded out’ are generally held by the Child and Family Agency in the area where a child was placed. In addition, many children were ‘boarded out’ from private institutions. Prior to the introduction of legal adoption in Ireland in 1952, some children were ‘informally adopted’. Some adoption agencies hold records in relation to these ‘informal’ adoptions.

After the introduction of legal adoption in Ireland in 1952, some children’s births were registered directly into the name of the ‘adoptive’ parents. This practice had the effect of removing all reference to the natural parents from the official record and also meant the Adoption Authority of Ireland had no record of the case, as there had been no legal adoption.  Some adoption agencies have records in relation to these.

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