Search Tips for Birth Parents

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Warning: Searching Adoptee Scam
Disclaimer: I am not a professional searcher. These tips and suggestions have been gathered from information sources on- and offline, which are annotated in the resources section at the end of the article.
Searching for adult birth children can be especially difficult for birth parents who may or may not be able to obtain much information. This article is written for both birth parents, however, unless the biological father's name is listed on the original birth certificate and a signed relinquishment form is on record, birth fathers' information requests may be denied. All information in this article pertains to search for an adult birth child. If you are interested in contacting a minor birth child in a closed adoption through his/her adoptive parents, please read Opening a Closed Adoption.

Know Yourself

Read some good books and online information about searching, the emotional impact, and reunion. Be sure you feel comfortable with your reasons and the kind of search you want to do:
  • Passive Search: A passive search is one where you make every effort to place the information you have about the adoption in places where it can be found by your searching birth child. Many birth parents believe that timing for initiating a reconnection should be left to the adoptee, and choose this option.
  • Active Search: An active search is one in which you actively pursue avenues to find information about your birth child's current name and location. This does not necessarily mean that you will be the one to initiate contact, but it might give you the ability to do so, if you choose.
Know The Law

Make yourself familiar with the law regarding release of non-identifying and identifying information in the state where the adoption was finalized. If the state where you are searching has a Confidential Intermediary Program, contact them to find out costs and procedures.

Start a Journal

It's very easy to forget where you've registered, people you've asked for information, and details that may not seem to mean anything. Write down everything, no matter how insignificant. And use your journal to record your own thoughts as you search. This can help jog your memory and solidify your thoughts, as well as provide a record of some of the things you may want your birth child to know if and when you do reconnect.

Start Close to Home

Write down everything you remember or think you remember about the entire adoption process: names, dates, places. Then ask family and friends who were with you at the time to tell you all they remember... and write it all down, even the information that doesn't match with your own recollections. As you move forward with your search, these differences may turn out to be valuable clues.
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