Within the past decade there has been, and continues to be, and increase of adopted persons searching for their birth families and birth parents searching for the child they placed for adoption.
Why an adopted person or birth parent searches
for each other is not a simple question to answer since the answer varies with each person and each situation. However, some of the more common
reasons behind a search appear to be: 1) finding general family and birth parent information including the names, where they live, and what they are like; 2) looking for family traits and personalities; 3) seeking medical history information; and 4)
exploring the reasons and circumstances surrounding the placement and termination of rights.
The first thing you should do in a search is to gather any and all of the adoption papers that you have access to. Then you might be best off contacting the adoption agency
or private attorney that was involved in the placement and adoption. To find the current status, address and phone number of adoption agency involved you may want to contact your state
adoption authority and for the attorney you want to contact the State
Bar Association where the attorney practiced.
You may also find it helpful to hire a private investigator or professional searcher. If you are thinking of going this route, please research the reputation of the person or company. You should ask whether the searcher
or private investigator has specific adoption search experience before making a decision to ask for their services.
Those thinking of a search need to note that a search often leads to the desire for a meeting or reunion. Each search and/or reunion is guided by a unique set of circumstances and the outcome is never certain. Such meetings
and reunions can have profound effects on everyone involved and should not be undertaken without a good deal of careful consideration and preparation. They impact not just on the searcher but on the searcher's family, on the person who is "found",
and on the other parties involved. All parties need to be emotionally prepared for a whole range of realities including the possibility of rejection. It is also important to note that moving slowly and pacing any contacts can be
key to having a successful reunion.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway Searching for Birth Relatives Factsheet for Families discuses
the issues of search and union and provides some guidance on the search and reunion processes.