How do I find my biological parents?

How do I find my biological parents?

You may be at the place where you are seriously considering finding your birth parents. This is a search that will require you to be certain that this is really what you want to do, as the emotional impact is as strong as it was when you found out you were adopted. There are two sides to this coin, both having strong emotional impact and both offering up information you may, or may not, already have within your grasp. Adoption, by its very nature, is when biological parents relinquish their rights to have a voice or influence in their child's life. This is a choice that is not made easily or lightly, and most often in the best interest of their child. Below is a beginning list of reasons most common that biological parents place their children up for adoption:

  • born out of wedlock
  • unable to provide financially
  • very young themselves
  • unable to provide a stable home
  • serving time in prision
  • physically unable to care for a child
  • abusive home life

With respect to each individual case and family unit, there are any number of reasons why your parents placed you up for adoption. It is most likely for your best interest that they chose the path of adoption for you. 

Is there more than one type of adoption?

Every parent considering adoption will have two choices to make:

  • Closed Adoptionsimply stated, this means that their rights as parents were terminated with their consent the moment they signed the adoption papers. No contact with their child would have been granted from that moment forward. The State would have ensured their identity be protected, often times including changing the State on your birth cirtificate, to further protect the birth mother's identity and provide the child the greatest opportunity to intigrate into their new life with their new family. A closed adoption also means that if you are seeking to find your biological parents, you will have a more difficult time finding them based on sealed marriage licenses (if one existed in the first place), along with your birth mother's maiden name and location of her current residence being highly protected. This is not to say that the assumption of a lack of love is to be had, but quite the opposite as she most likely wanted her baby to completely acclimate into their new family as smoothly as possible. 
  • Open Adoptionif your adoption is categorized as open, then finding your biological parents will be much easier. If you have a marriage license, address, or even social security number for your biological parents this would make the search that much faster. Your biological parents would have been given permission to have contact with you once a year through photos, letters, or perhaps a phone call. If they did not contact you, then your adoptive parents would have been given a current address to convey any milestones or communication from you that was agreed upon. This addresss would be key in you finding your biological parents.

In either case, you would be wise to know that each State has the authority to write their own laws on adoption, while a select few are common amongst them. And based on their specific laws, this will determine how simple or detailed your search will be. You would do well to research your State, their adoption laws, and then proceed from there.

Should I hire a private investigator?

Hiring a private investigator is certainly an option, but one that will potentially cost you a great amount of money. There are many private agencies who are more than willing to help you find your adoptive parents, often times free of charge. The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, offers a web section that outlines the steps of the search process. Many States across the country allow adopted adults and birth relatives to enter their names in a reunion registry, where the two parties may be matched and put in contact with one another. Some States provide a confidential intermediary service to help facilitate adoption reunions. In any case, you have many options at your fingertips and this makes the odds of finding your birth parents more in your favor now than ever before. Whichever path you choose, know what your specific State offers, and if possible, communicate with your adoptive parents and find out anything they have on your biological parents that will assist in your search for them. 

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