From a very young age, many adoptees yearn to know who they are and where they come from, leading them to wonder who they may look like, and where their birth family are. It is natural for an adoptee to want to locate and meet their birth parents for answers. To legally begin a search for his or her birthparents / birth family, an adoptee should identify if they are in an open or closed adoption. If anyone searching was adopted in a recently opened records state - the state where the adoption was finalized - then they are able to request adoption records if they are at least 18 to 21 years of age, depending on the state of relinquishment. The best place to start looking for your birth family, even if you cannot access adoption records, is to register on mutual consent registries. Check the state where the adoption was finalized.
The state where the adoption was finalized determines how much access an adoptee has to their own records, when they become of age. In many cases, a court order or petition may be needed to obtain these records. Especially in the case of trying to find family Medical Information. If an adoptee is not able to access sealed records, the next document to get is their non-identifying information. Non-identifying information may include information about birth parents medical history, education, reason for placement, occupation, hobbies, and more. Some times these clues are enough for us to be used as a lead to locating birth families.
Once an adoptee is of age and ready to search for his or her birth parents with or without access to adoption records, the best place to begin is to make a file for all the information you find. Register on mutual consent registries. One of the most popular registries is the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISSR). Some state mutual consent registries require both parties to register on the site to make a reunion possible. Adoptees are encouraged to gather as much information possible from adoptive parents, agencies, and non-identifying records to increase the likelihood of locating his or her birth parents. And then your exciting journey begins!
No matter what one may find at the end, just knowing any answers about you, will be one of the most fulfilling life experiences. We hope some day to see your reunion story, posted on our website!