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Adopting Families - Search and Reunion

Adopting Families - Search and ReunionAdopting Families - Search and Reunion

Search and Reunion

If you are searching for a birth mother, birth father or other birth relative this is a place to start.

Searching for Birth Relatives

Most states seal adoption records after the adoption is finalized. That means that unless the adoption was an open adoption you may have a very difficult or impossible time identifying the biological parents.

A 2001 study that estimates that up to 50% of all adopted persons search at some point in their lives for information about their biological family.  Recognizing that many adoptees search for biological parents and vice versa, many states have developed procedures by which parties to an adoption may be able to get non-identifying and even identifying information about the adopted person's birth relatives.

A Child Welfare Information Gateway article entitled Adoption and the Stages of Development: Searching for Birth Relatives provides definitions of non-identifying and identifying information, an overview of who may access such information, and information about access to original birth certificates.  The article provides information on the decision to search, some of the steps involved, the issue of hiring a professional to help search, international searches, and search and reunion concerns. This site also provides an overview of the impact of adoption on birth parents and adopted persons and examines issues related to the search process.

International Adoptees

International Adoptees from another country can contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to receive copies of their immigration records.

International Agencies

An international agency  that may offer help is International Social Services, which provides a broad range of social work services, including helping adopted persons find birth families abroad. Their U.S. branch can be found on this website.

Additional Information

Please also visit the links birth records and search and reunion as well as adoption registries and the link regarding birth records.

Help for Adopting Families by State

 Alabama  Montana
 Alaska  Nebraska
 Arizona  Nevada
 Arkansas  New Hampshire
 California  New Jersey
 Colorado  New Mexico
 Connecticut  New York
 Delaware  North Carolina
 Florida  North Dakota
 Georgia  Ohio
 Hawaii  Oklahoma
 Idaho  Oregon
 Illinois  Pennsylvania
 Indiana  Rhode Island
 Iowa  South Carolina
 Kansas  South Dakota
 Kentucky  Tennessee
 Louisiana  Texas
 Maine  Utah
 Maryland  Vermont
 Massachusetts  Virginia
 Michigan  Washington
 Minnesota  West Virginia
 Mississippi  Wisconsin
 Missouri  Wyoming
 More Adoption Help
 Pregnancy  Placing a child for adoption
 Parenting  Adopting a child

Adopting Families - Search and ReunionAdopting Families - Search and Reunion