Every day we hear from adoptees make the statement, “If I had my OBC I wouldn’t need to hire a pro to help me find my birth family. That’s a pretty common assumption in the adoption community. However I’d like to enlighten a few of you who feel that way based on what we know ‘historically’ and by reviewing hundreds of OBC’s submitted for review by stumped and confused adoptees who ARE in possession of their Original Birth certificates.
Historically it was not uncommon for agencies to encourage alias names to be placed on ‘official and legal’ documents. Come to find out, this was a pretty standard practice with high volume and religious based placing agencies from the late 1940’s to the mid 1970’s in many of the states now granting access to Original Birth certificates.
One of our oldest cases comes to mind. We had a set of twin girls born in Illinois. They were in possession of their birth surname from the beginning since it was a private adoption. They hired the Illinois intermediary system to conduct a search, who found a woman who matched the name and the age of the birth mother, who denied being the birth mother. The twins’ adoptive mother then hired our agency to locate the birth mother. The day OBC access was granted in Illinois they were one of the first requests to process, and they shortly thereafter received their OBCs. Their search resumed. Within a week I had located a likely candidate to be the biological mother. She is a current family law practitioner in the State of Wisconsin. When contacted (again) she informed me that she was ‘not’ their biological mother, provided proof that she’d given birth to her own child four months prior to their own birthdate, and was highly curious as to how such a ‘mistake’ could have been made on an official document.
The only explanation that we could come up with, jointly, is that an acquaintance of hers illegally used her name, age and location to complete the questions to the social worker taking the notes. The only way this case will be solved is with DNA.
As we started to review incoming OBC’s from Illinois it was determined that one of more agencies utilized alias names for birth parents as well as changed critical information such as ages and places of birth for those birth parents listed. In addition they often swapped surnames for the parents to confuse anyone in search of their birth families. Whether this was an intentional attempt to confuse the adoptee searching or a gross disregard for laws, we shall never know.
Our ‘first’ Ohio OBC came in this week which quickly led to a reunion. Our client’s case had been open for 3 years, and the first incorrect fact discovered is that the birth mother’s place of birth on the non-identifying information already provided was incorrect. Once we received the correct information from the OBC our Ohio expert was quickly able to locate the correct biological family, much to their delight. They had been searching for the adoptee for years.
Even if your OBC is 100% accurate, you will be faced with decades of research to follow your birth family to current locations and contact numbers. Family search experts have spent years collecting private search resources to aid in your search. Contrary to what may be circulating on the Internet, professional search organizations ‘do’ have access to data and historical resources that non-professionals do not have access to because in order to have access, you must be legally licensed to access these resources.
So, if you received your OBC and are struggling with the information it provided, please reach out to our team of family search experts and we will be glad to take a look at what you have received and offer suggestions and services that will fit into any budget necessary to help you find your missing pieces.