Adoption Search and Reunion

In Loving Memory of Ellen (aka rema) Who Passed Away 6/13/2004

She Took Great Satisfaction In Being Able to Help Others - Please Keep Her and Her Family In Your Prayers

Making the Decision to Search

Making the decision to search is a rough one. You know it can bring you pain or it can bring you much joy. For some people, it brings both. If there are a lot of problems in your life right now, searching isn't going to help those things. In fact, it can make it rougher. Because searching and reunion can create such a wild roller coaster ride for your emotions, it is best that you not take it on when you are already suffering through rough emotional situations in your life.

If you want to know that your birth mother faired well in life and didn't suffer from having put you up for adoption, then search. If you want to know that your child has had a good home with a good family, then search.

If you hold animosity towards your birth mother or birth father for relinquishing you, it is best to deal with all of that before you search. I realize that you think it will be easier to deal with if you know why they relinquished you. That is true for some adoptees. The trouble with going into a search filled with animosity is that when you do find your birth parents it will be in the way of a good reunion.

Active search vs. the Passive search

I find that many birth moms will say that they feel they do not have the right to search but want to make themselves available in case their child decides to search. First and foremost... birth moms DO have the right to search.

When one decides to just make themselves available then they are doing a 'Passive' search. This is when you sign up with all the registries you can find and search them all hoping to see someone searching for you. If you do not take your search beyond that you are doing a Passive search.

When one does an 'Active' search they get down to the business of getting the non-id information, they search for records that may not be sealed. They are actively pursuing their objective of finding the other person.


The very first thing to do is to register with International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR.) You may feel you do not have enough information but all you need at first is your DOB and the city and state of your birth. When you get more information you can update your registration. This can not be done on line. You need a registration form from ISRR. You will find information on doing this on my ISRR page.

When you do call or write for non-id information be sure that you ASK whether or not there is anything in your file from the party you are seeking giving consent to contact. Too often the person sending out the non-id information doesn't tell you when that is in there. Also be sure that you send in a WAIVER, consent to be contacted, when you send for your non-id information. Send this registered mail, return receipt requested so you can prove that you sent it. In everything you mail it is a good idea to follow this same policy. That way you will also know exactly when your mail was received. You can find waiver leters on my page of sample letters .

When you send for information, there will be a wait till it comes in. You can use this time well by reading books written by birth mothers and adoptees. Also read books about reunions so that you have an idea of what you might expect. Check for a long list of books to choose from on my site .

Petitioning the Courts for Access to Records

For most adoptees the non-id information is available to them from either the state (in Colorado that is Adoption Options) or from the adoption agency that was involved in their adoption.

In Colorado filing a petition to have your records opened is only done if you have decided to go with the CI program. The court will NOT open the records to you or to anyone other than a court appointed CI. This is true in many states that have CI programs.

In a few states it is still possible to file a petition with the court to have records opened. It is rare for anyone to be granted permission to see their own file but check the laws for your state of search.

In Colorado and some other states, you must fill out a form to petition the court to open your file to an intermediary. In Colorado it is called a Motion and Affidavit to Open Adoption File By- adoptee.. birthmother.. family member..etc.

Help From Others

Join mailing lists that are adoption related. I strongly urge people to try to find a list that is about their state of search in order to get specific information for their needs. It is also good to belong to another list for more general information on searching.

You may be able to form friendships with those who live in the area of your search. Many people will do "legwork" for you looking things up in courthouses or in libraries. Always offer to reimburse them for any gas, parking fees, copying fees etc that they may encounter. Many do it gratis but others have found that they are spending more than they can afford on this for others and they do need to ask for reimbursement.

For adoptees there is the adoptees mailing list which I hear is very good. Again, you will get search help and moral support. There are a couple of birth mothers mailing lists where birth mothers can vent their frustrations to other birthmoms and get support in their searches.

A word about adoption related newsgroups is in order. The best known is alt.adoption. Most of the posts to this newsgroup are rants, flames and spam. People also post their search information from time to time. I only rarely see any good advice regarding the search process.

Another newsgroup alt.adoption.searching is better for posting your search information. While you will sometimes see negative posts or 'gossip' most is strictly search posts.

return to Adoption Search and Reunion

    Before emailing for help, please read my search tips and use the resources on my website. It took me over six months to write all this.
    I can't answer questions and put all this into an email.. {:-)~[


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