Meeting My Birth Father For The First Time ♡ My Adoption Story

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How to Find Birth Parents After Adoption

Three Parts:

Many children who have been put up for adoption would like to find their birth parents. The reason for seeking out their birth parents can vary, from simple curiosity to a need to uncover family medical history. The procedure for finding birth parents will depend on the law of the state where the adoption occurred.


Preparing to Search

  1. Understand what information is available.There are generally two types of information you can search for: non-identifying information and identifying information. Although you will want identifying information to find your birth parents, non-identifying information is often easier to get.
    • Non-identifying information is information often collected by the adoption agency which will not lead you to the identity of your birth parents. This information can satisfy a curiosity about what your birth parents look like, or it can provide a medical history of your birth parents. This information typically includes:
      • the date and place of your birth
      • the age and general physical description of your birth parents
      • race, ethnicity, religion, and medical history of both parents
      • the birth parent’s educational levels and occupations at the time of adoption
      • existence of other children born to each parent
      • the reasons for putting the child up for adoption
    • Identifying information is usually harder to get. This information will give you the name of your birth mother and possibly your birth father. A copy of your original birth certificate would contain this information. You will want identifying information if you hope to find your birth parents.
  2. Find out in what state the adoption occurred.You need to know the state in which you were adopted because your ability to access adoption records will depend on the state where the adoption occurred. Ask your adoptive parents where the adoption took place. If they only remember the name of the agency, then search online and try to find out where the agency has operated.
  3. Read the applicable law.You should find the state statute that controls who may access adoption records and under what circumstances. The easiest way to look is to type “adoption” and “your state” into a search engine. Scroll through the results and look for the applicable state statute.
    • The Child Welfare Information Gateway has also created a summary of all state laws, which is available at their . Because states frequently update their laws, you should still perform a web search to make sure you have the most up-to-date statute.
    • Each state’s summary should tell you how to get non-identifying information as well as how to get identifying information.
  4. Check if you live in an “open records” state.Some states have open adoption records. If you meet the age requirements (usually 18 or 21 and older), then you can simply request a copy of your original birth certificate.In some states, however, the birth parent must consent to the release of the information.States with open adoption records include:
    • Alabama
    • Alaska
    • Delaware
    • Hawaii
    • Kansas
    • Minnesota
    • Montana
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Tennessee
    • Vermont
    • Washington
    • Wisconsin

Using a Registry to Access Information

  1. Understand the types of registries.Many states run registries where biological families and adopted children can find each other. The most common registries are “mutual consent” registries and confidential intermediary programs. With a mutual consent registry, the child or family members may file affidavits indicating whether they consent or refuse to allow information to be released to the other party, should that party be searching for them.
    • For example, your birth mother may have filed an affidavit with her state’s mutual consent registry, stating that she agrees that her information should be released if you are looking for it. If you apply to the registry, then her contact information will be released to you. On the other hand, she may have filed an affidavit declaring that she does not want to be contacted. In that situation, no information would be released.
    • If your birth mother has filed no affidavit, neither consenting nor refusing to have information released, then some states will check with her to see if she is willing to consent to the release of her information.
    • With a confidential intermediary program, an intermediary is granted access to adoption records so that he or she can search for birth family members and ask for their consent for contact.If the birth family consents, then the contact information is released to the party seeking it.
  2. Check if you can access.Registries restrict access to certain people, typically those who are in a blood relationship. Sometimes an exception is made for the adoptive parents, who may seek out some information about the birth parents. Read your state’s statute to see who is granted access. In Maryland, for example, the following people may request identifying information through the registry:
    • birth parents
    • siblings
    • the adoptee who is 21 or older, provided they do not have a sibling under the age of 21
  3. Find your state registry.If your state has a registry, it is probably maintained by a state department, such as the Department of Human Services or Department of Child Services. To find it, search “your state” and “mutual consent registry” in your favorite web browser.
  4. Register.To register, you will probably need to fill out some paperwork. New York provides an “Adoptee Registration Form,” which is available on their Department of Health .
    • Complete all required forms and return them. You may or may not have to pay a filing fee. There is no fee in New York.In Arkansas, the fee is .00.
  5. Undergo counseling, if necessary.Several states require that you undergo counseling before information will be released to you. The counseling will touch on a variety of issues related to the search for your birth parents and possible reunification.
    • The following states require counseling: Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas.

Petitioning a Court for Access to Adoption Records

  1. Consult with an attorney.An attorney can help you throughout the entire process of finding birth parents. An experienced lawyer can inform you of what your state law is, whether you can access the information, and can provide advice on how to use state registries. An attorney is also invaluable if you need to petition the court for the release of your birth certificate or other adoption records.
  2. Draft a petition.Some states will release information only by a court order. To request that a court release the records, you must file a petition in court. In the petition, you must state why there is a compelling reason to disclose information about the adoption and why this reason outweighs maintaining confidentiality.
    • Some states may have printed “fill in the blank forms” for you to use. In Texas, for example, you can use an “Application for Access to Termination and Adoption Records,” which is available from the Texas Law Help .
    • After you fill out the form, you must sign it in front of a notary public.Notaries can be found at the courthouse as well as most large banks. Be sure to bring personal identification: a valid driver’s license or passport.
    • Keep a copy of any application or petition for your records.
  3. File the petition.You must file the petition in the county where the adoption took place.In some states, you may have to pay a filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, then ask the court clerk for a fee waiver.
  4. Attend a hearing.In some states, you may be called in to see a judge immediately after filing your petition.In other states, the agency may be afforded an opportunity to respond to your petition.
    • If your hearing is not held immediately after filing your petition, then contact the clerk and ask about the date. On the day of the hearing, be sure to arrive early. Do not bring any food or drinks into the courthouse and have your cell phone turned off.
    • You should also dress appropriately. Avoid wearing shorts, if possible. Instead, wear slacks and a dress shirt. If you have to come directly from work, be sure to mention that fact to the judge.
  5. Explain why you want the information.At the hearing, you or your attorney should argue why you want or need the identifying information. For example, the non-identifying medical information available from the adoption agency may be insufficient. You may need to contact your birth parents to ask if they would undergo medical tests or to ask for updates on their medical history. Whatever your reason, you must demonstrate your need by clear and convincing evidence.
    • Always address the Judge as “Your Honor.” If the judge has questions for you, then answer them honestly and respectfully.
  6. Get a certified order.If you are granted access to either your birth certificate or other adoption records, then you should have the judge’s order certified. You can get the certified order from the clerk’s office.
    • You may need the certified order to give to a third-party intermediary if the judge refuses to release the records to you directly.Be sure to keep a copy of the certified order for future use.
  7. Search for your birth parents.The adoption records (including birth certificate) should have the name of your biological mother, at the least. The information may also contain the name of your biological father. Since so much time has passed since the adoption, you may not be able to locate your birth parents at the address they gave when you were born. Accordingly, you may have to search for them.
    • Once you have names, you can search online to find your birth parents’ addresses.

Video: How to find Birth Parents or Children

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Date: 07.12.2018, 10:13 / Views: 41372