Video:How to Begin the Search for Birth Parentswith Jonathan Stewart
Deciding to look for your birth parents can be an emotional and difficult journey. Here are a few great ways to get started that can make the process of searching for birth parents as easy and fruitful as possible.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Begin the Search for Birth ParentsIf you are an adoptee and have decided to search for your birth parents, there are several straightforward steps for getting started and staying organized. Having a strategy and a system of organization can help you stay the course throughout this emotional journey.
Organize Any Documents Relating to Birth RecordsBefore you get started, be sure to have a large three-ring binder with plenty of folders, pockets, and page protectors for the notes and documents you’ll be taking and the copies you’ll be making along the way. You can choose to organize this in any way that makes sense to you. However, arranging information either chronologically or alphabetically is a good place to start.
Keep a Journal of Details Gathered of Your BirthIt’s also a good idea to keep a journal either for notes or as a safe place to reflect on the journey, to express your feelings, and collect your thoughts. This journal can be incorporated into your three-ring binder or can be kept separate for privacy’s sake. The best place to begin looking for your birth parents is yourself. Write down whatever details you know about your birth and adoption. This includes the names of the hospital and the adoption agency through which you were adopted. From there, talk to your adoptive parents. They can be an excellent source of information and might have copies of important documents, such as your birth certificate and any adoption paperwork.While you’re gathering information and interviewing family members, be sure to write it all down no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time. You never know what piece of information might be the key to finding your birth parents.
Request Non-Identifying Information of Your Birth ParentsThe next step in the process is to request non-identifying information about your birth parents from the state or agency that handled your adoption. This information does vary, but it can include such things as health status and medical history, a physical description and ethnic origin, cause of death (when applicable), educational level, and even religious preference. Occasionally, you may even find out the reasons for the adoption. If you’re lucky enough to have had your adoption in Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, New Hampshire or Oregon, these are open records states where you can get copies of original adoption documents by simply completing an application process.
The next step is to register with the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR). Known as the world’s largest free mutual consent registry, they will take your information and notify you if there are any matches. You can register as soon as your begin your search and add information to your profile as you discover it.Finally, if you have the means, you can go through a confidential intermediary who, if your birth parents are located, can initiate contract through mutual consent. And no matter where this emotional journey leads you, joining a support group is always a good way to help you stay the course.I'm Jonathon Stewart with About.com.