Adoption Search and Reunion
There is no national database of all United States adoptions. State laws determine if, when, or how an adult adoptee, birth parent, or birth sibling is permitted to obtain an original birth certificate (pre-adoption), non-identifying information*, adoption records and the like.
The search for birth family members or even original birth certificate and adoption records can be a lengthy process that takes patience and courage with no guarantee of success. Individuals and companies will, for a price, conduct a search. Depending upon how much information one has available, the time and ensuing costs can range from a nominal fee for joining certain adoption registries, to thousands of dollars to hire a search firm or private investigator.
There is a plethora of resources on the internet regarding Adoption Search and Reunion and we will not duplicate such information. Instead, we offer a chart to serve as an at-a-glance resource by state, as well as website addresses that can provide valuable information for a searcher.
The child Welfare Information Gateway
see chart, "Adoption Search and Reunion" (the abbreviation "NI" on this chart indicates non-identifying information).
Fact Sheets available to download from the Gateway (or request by mail ) include:
- Access to Adoption Records
- Searching for Birth Relatives
- Impact of Adoption on Birth Parents
- Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons
- Adoption Birth Packet #3
The American Adoption Congress
The website provides a checklist for the beginning searcher, as well as other pertinent information.