Search and Reunion

The decision to search and potentially reunify with a birth family member can be a complicated and emotional decision. With it comes the potential for conflicted feelings about hurting the adoptive family, being rejected, or finding additional loss through a search. There is also the possibility of gaining family history, medical/genetic history, more family, and a sense of feeling more complete. Some decide to search as a young person or as an adult, after adoptive parents pass, with the assistance of adoptive family or not, or not at all. It is a very personal decision that should not be judged by others. The drive and desire to know our roots is a very human one, but the decision to not search should be just as respected and supported.

Right now, and for some time, there has been a movement to allow adoptees access to their original birth certificate (*As a point of education, after an adoption occurs, a new “birth” certificate is generated which lists the adoptive parents as the individuals parents). While there are some instances which allow access to birth/adoption records,  usually a court order is needed. Learn more here:  Search and Reunion Info

Despite the challenges, many adoptees continue to embark on this journey and utilize a variety of resources. Some use the State Registries, others hire a private investigator. Some have been successful through social media, and some have contacted the agencies that completed their adoption.

In the State of Florida, the Adoption Information Center provides a Reunion Registry: FARR .  Interestingly, I learned that at least at one point, 75% of the searches through this registry were to connect with siblings separated through adoption. This may speak to the sibling connection or that some may feel that it is less of an emotional risk to search for a sibling as compared to searching for a parent.

There are many additional venues to search, including registries such as Adoption Registry Connect, which is a worldwide adoptee and birth parent search registry designed to reunite adoptees with their birth parents and siblings.

Regardless of if and how an individual decides to search for birth family, it is important that the person be supported by family, friends, and/or adoption competent professionals to manage the outcome of the search and/or reunion. This support system can help you to navigate how to search, discuss what your expectations and hopes are, and manage what happens if you do/do not decide to more forward with a reunion.

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3 thoughts on “Search and Reunion

  1. More and more states are changing the laws so you don’t have to beg for a court order:
    Alaska and Kansas have always allowed the adult adoptee to receive a copy of their OBC.
    Alabama, Oregon, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island have changed the laws allowing unrestricted access to the adult adoptee.
    Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, Tennessee, Ohio, Washington have various restrictions (specific years and/or veto). New Jersey opens next year with veto. Indiana just changed with veto – no idea when it comes into effect. Other states have bills in progress…

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    • Thank you for the information! I find it interesting how this varies state by state. This publication is only up to date to June 2015, but lists the differences, state by state: Access to Adoption Records, State by State
      It appears, looking at our State “Rules”, that FL still usually requires a court order for identifying information, but that there are still ways to try and obtain the information prior to having to take it to court.

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      • American Adoption Congress keeps updated…

        I doubt Florida will ever change the rules. My theory on the hold-outs is too many bad actors weren’t doing things right during my era…

        Pretty soon DNA testing will make the laws redundant as more people test. No more secrets…

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