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How Can I Find My Birth Mother?

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 21, 2014



How Can I Find My Birth Mother?
Adoption Birth Request

Hundreds of thousands of adoptions have occurred in the United States and, after reaching adulthood, a number of those adopted children decide to search for their birth mothers. If you are adopted and decide to search for your birth mother, we can help with some basic guidelines that barely scratch the surface.

First, develop a pragmatic, flexible, wary mindset about your search. At the beginning of your search, you will not know: how long it will take; how much money it might cost; how much research it will require; whether you will encounter scammers; how successful it will be; or the effects on yourself, your adoptive family or your birth family. Your search could succeed in one phone call and result in love and acceptance all around; on the other hand, your search might never succeed or might succeed with some unwanted effects. Resolve now to value the journey and the lessons it will teach you about yourself and others.

Second, get a large, clean notebook and an expandable file to keep a journal of all your information and an organized place to keep any documents you gather along the way. (You might decide to keep your journal on computer but be sure to back up the information to a separate disk, CD or jump drive; in addition, if your computer isn’t easily portable, you should also keep a written journal, so you can carry it with you as you gather information.)

Third, write (in your journal) everything you know about your birth and adoption: your birthplace; the name of the hospital; the state and county of your adoption; whether it was a private or agency adoption; anything you know about your birthparents; anything that might help your search. Beyond these first 3 steps, you could consider using one or more of the following suggested steps.

Fourth, ask your adoptive family for information. This is a valuable source right under your nose. They may know or have information/documents that they just haven’t shared with you yet.

Fifth, expand your inquiries to readily available professionals, such as your family doctor, family lawyer, priest/minister, etc. One or more of these professionals could know something or have access to documents that could help your search.

Sixth, join a support group. Many people are searching for their birth parents, so you can find local and internet support groups by using the Yellow Pages, reading bulletin boards, and perusing the listings at adoption.com here: http://www.adoption.com/topics/support-group A support group is valuable for several reasons: you will encounter people in various stages of their searches; therefore, will understand your situation, support your efforts and know/discuss some search methods to use and avoid.

Seventh, register with an adoption mailing list. The internet provides many adoption mailing lists with overlapping interests, depending on where you were adopted, when you were adopted, the type of adoption, etc. One source of adoption mailing lists can be found here: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~jfuller/gen_mail_adoption.html?cj=1&netid=cj&o_xid=0001029688&o_lid=0001029688&o_sch=Affiliate+External#Adoption-Search-Angels The problem I’ve encountered with online adoption mailing lists/groups is that there are too many unrelated posts by jerks earning $1 Billion/week typing at home or demanding the impeachment/prosecution of Bush/Cheney/Obama/Mother Teresa or hawking whatever. Your support group should ably assist you in finding the best of these sites and avoiding the worst.

Eighth, register with the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR), which is the world’s largest free reunion registry. The ISRR is a passive registry: people will not use your information to actively search for someone; however, if your information matches someone else’s registered information, you will receive each other’s information. The directions and printable form for registering are found here: http://www.isrr.org/Register.html

Ninth, use the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, which can give you access to adoption records, search methods and tools, state laws regarding adoption information, state government representatives and adoption attorneys. The Clearinghouse can be found here: http://www.adoption.com/ and its function for learning the laws of the state in which you were adopted about obtaining information are here: http://laws.adoption.com/

Tenth, obtain your non-identifying information from the applicable agency/state in which your adoption occurred. Non-identifying information, which is given by most if not all states, may include such information as your birth parents’: ages; first names; races/ethnicity; physical descriptions; marital status; medical histories; educations; occupations; religions. Furthermore, when you contact this agency/state, leave a waiver in your file requesting contact from your birth mother and waiving confidentiality. Some states are cooperative enough to have special forms for these functions.

Eleventh, use your local library. Local libraries and librarians have a wealth of information, including: handbooks with search techniques; local support group postings; historical and modern directories of adoption, orphanages and maternity homes; and city directories.

Twelfth, gather related documents. Adoptions and their participants typically leave paper trails that can be found and followed by gathering certain documents. Those documents include but are not limited to: the original birth certificate, with your birth information, and the amended birth certificate, with your adopted information; adoption records, which can be obtained from the adoptive parents or by petitioning a court with the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in adoptions; birth announcements; cemetery records; death records, including death certificates; city directories, which are often found in public libraries, and give more information than phone books about a city’s residents; census records; hospital/medical records; high school yearbooks; legal notices that may have been required for your adoption; marriage licenses; divorce decrees; military records; newspaper archived legal notices, birth announcements, obituaries; phone books; public records, including property records; religious records; school records; and Social Security records.

Thirteenth, contact adoption agencies and maternity homes, including but not limited to: Catholic Charities, found here: http://www.webring.org/hub?ring=cctriad or Children’s Home Society, found here: http://www.chsamerica.org/ or specific smaller maternity agencies/homes, found through discussions on www.adoption.com or a historical directory of maternity homes, found in your local library.

Fourteenth, use a state birth index. A birth index, listing births by year, is maintained by California, Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, New York (for some NYC boroughs), Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. California, for example, maintains a searchable birth index here: http://www.californiabirthindex.org/ Entering the first and last name of a child yields birth date, location and mother’s maiden name in approximately 1/20th of a second. A birth index can make your search much easier.

Fifteenth, use one or more of the many internet databases that assist in locating people. Those include but are not limited to: White Pages, here: http://www.whitepages.com/ or Private Eye, here: http://www.privateeye.com/ or Search Systems, here: http://publicrecords.searchsystems.net/ or Any Who, here: tp://metaquerier.cs.uiuc.edu/repository/datasets/iwrandom/browse/anywho/interface.htm and Ameridex Information Systems, here: https://www.ameridex.com/

Sixteenth, use Genealogy sites, including but not limited to: Ancestry.com, here: http://www.ancestry.com/?o_iid=26873&o_lid=26873 or Genealogy Today, here: href="http://www.genealogytoday.com/adoption/puzzle/ and Cyndi’s List, here: http://www.cyndislist.com/adoption

Seventeenth, hire a professional to search for your birth mother. If you begin an earnest search for your birth mother, you will not have to look for these professionals; they will find you and will advertise for your business. Use your support group’s experiences and advice if/when hiring a professional for this purpose.

Eighteenth, hire a lawyer who specializes in adoptions in the state in which you were adopted to petition the court to open your adoption records. Your adoption records will typically include a slew of information about your birth mother and newly-born you. Your attorney will know the proper forms and arguments for petitioning.


DO’S AND DON’TS

DON’T be intimidated by the process or the people.

DO develop a pragmatic, flexible, wary mindset about your search.

DO get a large, clean notebook and an expandable file to keep a journal of all your information and an organized place to keep any documents you gather along the way.

DO write (in your journal) everything you know about your birth and adoption.

DO ask your adoptive family for information.

DO expand your inquiries to readily available professionals, such as your family doctor, family lawyer, priest/minister, etc.

DO join a support group.

DO register with an adoption mailing list, which can be found here:
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~jfuller/gen_mail_adoption.html?cj=1&netid=cj&o_xid=0001029688&o_lid=0001029688&o_sch=Affiliate+External#Adoption-Search-Angels

DO register with the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR), found here: http://www.isrr.org/Register.html

DO use the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, found here: http://www.adoption.com/

DO learn the laws of the state in which you were adopted about obtaining information, found here: http://laws.adoption.com/

DO obtain your non-identifying information from the applicable agency/state in which your adoption occurred.

DO use your local library.

DO gather related documents.

DO contact adoption agencies and maternity homes, including but not limited to: Catholic Charities, found here: http://www.webring.org/hub?ring=cctriad or Children’s Home Society, found here: http://www.chsamerica.org/ or specific smaller maternity agencies/homes, found through discussions on www.adoption.com or an historical directory of maternity homes, found in your local library.

DO use a state birth index, if available.

DO use one or more of the many internet databases that assist in locating people.

DO use Genealogy sites.

DO hire a professional to search for your birth mother.

DO hire a lawyer who specializes in adoptions in the state in which you were adopted to petition the court to open your adoption records.


By Kathy Catanzarite

[Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither HandelontheLaw.com, or any of its affiliates, shall have any liability stemming from this article.]









Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





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