My 'parents' aren't my real parents

Dear Mrs Macaulay,

I live in the UK and recently received the results of my DNA composition from various DNA websites, and have alarmingly discovered that the people I was led to believe are my biological parents are not. Deep down I had suspected that this may be the case, as I look very different from them and was treated very differently and cruelly by them throughout my life.

I did not have access to my birth certificate until my early 20s, and there is no note of any adoption taking place on it. Truthfully, the people listed on my birth certificate are not good people and have a reputation for revelling in dishonesty, so I have not been unable to get the truth from them. They could not provide me with any baby photos of myself under six months, so I think this is when the adoption took place. Throughout my childhood and teens I suffered a great deal of abuse from them. I have been told that they did not have a good reputation when they lived in Jamaica before I was even born, and struggle to comprehend why I would be placed for adoption with those people. My understanding from piecing the story together from other sources is that before I was born, the adopted mother listed on my birth certificate was unemployed with a sickly two-year-old son from another man, and the adopted father listed on my birth certificate was in a low income factory job. They did not live together in Jamaica or the UK. I struggle to understand how they were deemed suitable in the first place

I have some urgency in finding answers as I recently discovered that I have a rare hereditary blood condition and various subsequent health problems. Please can you direct me to a website where I can successfully find my biological parents' names and the date of my adoption. I have reached out to a close match on the DNA website and asked for my mother's name. I would like to know my birth name also.

I would greatly appreciate any assistance from you.

I am sorry to learn that you suffer from health problems which make it vitally necessary for you to find your biological parents.

I confess that I find the contents of your letter rather confusing. You do not say with whom you lived, but implied that it was with both adopted parents, as you say you suffered cruelly from them throughout your life, and that throughout your childhood and teens, you suffered a great deal of abuse from them. You did not indicate that you moved between two homes — that of your registered mother and that of your registered father. It is however clear that you have concluded that they are not your biological parents and that you were adopted and so you wish to find your biological parents.

I am sorry to say that there is no website known to me in Jamaica where anyone can find the names of their biological parents and their own birth name. You cannot even apply to the office of the Registrar General of Births and Deaths for what you wish to discover, having rejected what appears on your birth certificate, and not having any names to effect a search. You have chosen to rely instead on results from various websites of the composition of your DNA. You would have also had to have the compositions of your registered parents' DNA to arrive at the conclusion you did that they are not your biological parents. You have however not said this.

Please note that your birth certificate would not have any note on it to indicate that you were adopted If you were adopted, the proof of this would be in the records of your birth at the Registrar General's Department (RGD) and in the Adopted Children's Register which must be kept by the department pursuant to the Children (Adoption of) Act with an Index of its entries. The Act provides that every person can apply to do a search of and obtain a certified copy of any entry in the Adopted Children's Register, upon payment of the prescribed fee, but such certified copies cannot contain any particulars except the name, surname, sex, date and place of birth of the child. It cannot contain any particulars relating to the parents or to the adoption.

The Registrar General may also refuse applications for certified copies if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the certified copies or certificate would be used for unlawful purposes.

I must admit that I am very sceptical about the various DNA websites you refer to as having used. I say this because no court of law would accept DNA compositions from such sites. What is required is an unquestionable genetic laboratory's results from proven specimens from all the subject persons for correct DNA results. There are reputed to be many DNA and so-called ancestry websites which are not scientifically secure, but money making businesses.

You must also address the fact, which is indeed a fact, that there is nothing really factual asserting that you were adopted at all. Adoption goes through a legal process and is concluded by a court order following which the RGD would put the requisite notation of the adoption order on the birth records of the adopted child, and the Adopted Children's Register. I can only therefore suggest that you apply to the RGD for a search of the Index of the Adopted Children's Register from the date of your birth to when you were six months old, and if the search is successful about your adoption, you can apply for a certified copy of the entry. You would not obtain the name of your biological mother, if it does turn out that you were indeed adopted, because the law does not permit this, as I mentioned above. For that, you would need to hire an investigator to investigate your birth through relatives of your registered parents and in the communities they resided in the time before and around the time of your birth. You may also apply to the Adoption Board for any information they can legally give you if you were indeed adopted.

Finally, I suggest that since you are ill, that you have your medical treatment provider arrange for proper DNA tests to be done for you and your registered mother and father. You ought not to conclude that they are not who your birth certificate says they are without truly unquestionable scientific DNA tests having been done. You ought not to rely on your own conclusion that you do not look like them (many children do not, but look like a grand or great grandparent) and on hearsay and what really is gossip about their former ways and status in life. And do not forget that it is a well known fact that many biological parents are cruel to and abusive of their biological children.

So please, if you do need to pursue your enquiry, please use the legally established scientific facilities for the DNA tests of you all.

I wish you the very best.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.

Margarette MACAULAY

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