It’s not uncommon for adopted children to want to find their birth parents. Maybe you’ve waited years for this moment. You may have had loving adoptive parents, but you still have a nagging curiosity about your background and where you come from. Rest assured, there are channels in place. We’ll discuss what steps to take for you to find your biological parents.
Gather The Right Information
The more information you have upfront, the easier your search will be. If you already have the names of your birth parents, then your search will be easier. Some people are starting from nothing. Information is broken into two categories, identifying, and nonidentifying. Identifying information being what can lead to a positive match, which could include names, addresses, phone numbers, or places of business. Adopting parents are given general information about birth parents. Nearly all states allow adopted children access to nonidentifying information about their birth parents. Many states mandate the sharing of medical information. Some states allow adoptive parents to request the adoption agency to contact birth parents if medical information is needed. Nonidentifying could include:
- Age of the birth parents.
- General physical description, such as height, eye, and hair color.
- Race, ethnicity, and religion.
- Medical history
- Educational level and their occupations at the time of the adoption .
- Reason for placing the child for adoption.
- Existence of other children born to each birth parent.
Finding out what state the adoption took place is one of the most important things you can do. Each state has different laws when it comes to accessing information. You should just be able to ask your adopting parents where it occurred. Your original birth certificate (which is sealed once you’re adopted) will have the name of your biological parents. This will allow you to begin your search.
Unrestricted Access States
Some states don’t keep adoption information sealed. That means you can simply ask the court to release your original birth certificate once you reach the appropriate age. States that allow adoptees open access are:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Mutual Consent Registries
Most U.S. states have mutual consent registries. Once you reach the appropriate age, you can log into your state’s registry and collect the information pertaining to your adoption. However, this requires that your biological parents have consented that their personal information be released to you, should you request it. It will not be released to you if they did not consent. You may still be able to access it if you can prove to the court that you have a true need for it.
Speak With An Attorney
State Laws on obtaining adoption records are all different. An experienced lawyer can make the whole process a lot less painless. A good lawyer familiar with the process will be invaluable if you need to petition the courts. Even if you can’t afford to retain an attorney, there are services that will let you speak to one for legal advice. A lawyer’s job is to understand the law thoroughly. They can point you in the right direction.
Beginning The Search
Once you’ve obtained a copy of your original birth certificate (or have gathered the information in another fashion), you can begin your search. You can use the web to do a person search once you’ve obtained the name, address, and/or phone number. These sites make it easy to lookup public records on people using only basic information.
Some states require you undergo counseling before they allow you to contact your biological parents. This can be a very emotional experience that might not live up to your expectations. If you’ve thought it through and know this is what you want, hopefully you now have a better understanding of how to find your biological parents.
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