First, thank you for your courage in starting a search!  Making the decision to search for a son or daughter placed for adoption is a heart tugging choice that many of you contemplate as your son or daughter reaches adulthood.  You may wish to ensure he or she is well and happy, you may wish to disclose updated medical information or family history that affects the adoptee and his or her own family.

If you are a birth mother, or prefer the term ‘first’ mother in search of an adoptee and are just starting your search, or if you have been searching for many years and are frustrated at your lack of success, you should understand that unfortunately in most states, the success of your search can be long and difficult, BUT not impossible.  Every year more and more states are providing access to original birth certificates to adult adoptees.  The last two states to do so were Washington State and Colorado.  Your adoptees’ are fighting an uphill battle in what is called the ‘civil rights’ movement or adoption.

If you spend any time on social media web sites or in groups, please ignore the ‘terminology police’ and feel free to refer to yourself in any manner in which you feel comfortable to do so. 

Your son or daughter may not know very much about you. It's doubtful that the agency gave your name to the adoptee OR the adoptive parents.   Many states are changing or have changed their stance regarding Original Birth Certificate access to adult adoptees so be prepared for contact should you receive a call from a tentative or hesitant party asking about your family history.

Most states 'legally limit' the non-identifying or identifying information that they will provide to the adoptee on request due to sealed records laws. That said there ARE certain things that YOU can do to help the adoptee find you!

1. Tell all your friends and family about the birth and adoption! If they should receive a letter or a call from someone inquiring about you they are prepared to be welcoming to that party. Make sure they know to request and document the name, address and phone number of the party asking about you. I cannot tell you how many times adoptees and birth mothers have NOT been reunited because some 'well meaning' member of a family took it upon themselves to 'protect' their family member without asking first.

2. Verify for yourself the city, state and DATE of birth. Placing a child for adoption can be a very traumatic experience, and the memories of events that occurred around the birth of your child can be muddled and blurred. It is not uncommon to be off a day or two on the child's date of birth, so it is crucial that you start off in search with the correct date.

You can contact the placing agency and see if they will confirm your birth and adoption placement with them. You could also contact the hospital of birth. Although hospitals routinely destroy patient records after a specified period of time, they may have archived the labor and delivery room log, or admittance records in another location. Ask where they might be.

3. Make yourself EASY to be found!!

Hyphenate your last name on some documents, job applications or loan applications that would make it to a credit bureau report, thus flagging your personal information. Use your maiden name as your full middle name on others. If you have an unlisted telephone number, please get a public number under your maiden name. Some adoptees 'may' know their birth mother's name, so it certainly makes sense to help make it easier for them to find you.  If you are on Facebook or another media site, add your maiden surname to your profile name immediately.

Contact the placing agency and ask to place consent for contact in your son or daughter's adoption file. Each state and each agency has their own rules and requirements for this, but don't skip trying.

If the state your adoptee was born in has a state sponsored mutual consent registry waste no time in sending in your registration?  Make sure that you fill out all the information requested. You may need to submit a copy of your identification with the completed form, and some states require that the request be notarized. 

Register at ISRR! Each and every adoptee that starts a search is sent to 'one' International Registry. It stands to reason that if each and every birth mother in search also registers, there will be lots of matches and lots of happily reunited people. You can visit their website at

Internet Registries are also good! The registry at is the oldest online reunion registry, but there are ‘other’ online registries as well. Make sure that you always update your e-mail address as well as your contact information should anything change.

In closing, let’s take this ‘scientific’.  Many adoptees from ‘sealed records states’ are now doing autosomal DNA tests at three major providers, , and .   If you are serious about your desire to reunite with your son or daughter, we suggest purchase kits and test at all three sites.

Good LUCK in your search!

The Staff at Search Quest America