Just as this library houses extensive local material, other local community libraries in the search area may hold unpublished, private or less-widely distributed records. The Historical Genealogy Department has audio cassette tapes pertaining to adoption records and search methods.
These tapes are available for circulation through the staff of the department to anyone with valid identification. See a reference librarian if you are interested in these tapes. These periodicals occasionally contain methodological articles on adoption research or transcriptions of early probate, guardianship or adoption records. Most of these records, however, are pre-twentieth century. The Readers' Services Department offers several sources to assist the adoption researcher.
The Encyclopedia of Associations is useful for locating adoption search and support groups. The American Hospital Association Guide to the Health Care Field can supply the names and addresses of possible birth hospitals as well as the names of the current administrators. Local newspapers often list birth announcements, as well as other useful information, such as obituaries and marriage notices.
The Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media contains names and addresses of local newspapers and periodicals published in the search area. Readers' Services also holds other useful books concerning adoption, adoption research, and reunions. Periodical articles concerning adoption research may also provide new avenues for investigation. Some useful subject headings are: Adoptees Adoption Birthparents The citation will give the name of the periodical in which an article appears, volume number, date and page number.
The citation may be accompanied by an abstract, or perhaps a full text version of the article, and will indicate whether the Allen County Public Library owns that particular periodical title. Some periodicals have been bound into volumes, while others are available only on microfiche. Ask a staff member in the Periodicals Area of the Readers' Services Department for assistance in locating specific titles. If the adoption took place in Indiana prior to July , the researcher can obtain the records directly from the courthouse in the county of adoption.
The records before this date are, by law, open records. Box , Indianapolis, IN Records cannot, by law, be released until both parties register. The researcher should remember to notify the Registry in the event of an address change. These records will be searched upon request by staff member Barbara Burlingham Use of a Catholic agency does not always indicate a Catholic connection although it is possible.
Staff contact is Susan Whitten. Other Indianapolis agencies are Coleman Adoption Agency , contact person: Catrina Carlisle and Children's Bureau of Indianapolis , contact people: Judy Bannister and Annette Lofton. Both handled private adoptions. For most of these agencies and many others in the state, non-identifying or medical information can often be supplied, and an attempt may be made by the agency to contact the other party in order to encourage use of the Registry program.
Therefore it is best if the researcher registers prior to contacting any agency. Staff members will search records only after the researcher has obtained consent through the Indiana Adoption History Registry. With all of these agencies, as with agencies in other areas, the amount of information supplied is dependent on current law, organization of the records, staff time, and agency policy.
An inquiry to the agency concerning availability of records is usually the best starting point. There are a great many books and other materials on the strategies and emotional effects of adoption searching which a researcher may wish to examine. The following list represents only a brief collection of titles. The researcher is encouraged to browse the various catalogs and other sources previously mentioned. Be sure to consult the newer titles for contact information while the older publications can provide useful methodologies and meaningful search strategies.
The Encyclopedia of Adoption. Facts on File, A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents. The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide: Preparing Yourself for the Search, Reunion, and Beyond. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Adoption Searches Made Easier. You Can Find Anybody! The Ultimate Search Book: The Adoption Resource Book. Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe, Chicago Press Review, The Action Guide to Adoption Search. Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. Second Story Press, Adoption Agencies, Orphanages and Maternity Homes. Two important themes emerge from these accounts:.
Participants should be emotionally prepared for the reunion experience. Adopted persons and birth parents may carry a picture in their mind of the perfect family, but the reunion experience may not live up to that ideal. In preparing for contact and reunion, adopted persons and birth parents should prepare for a whole range of realities, including rejection. Pacing the contact can be key to having a successful reunion and relationship. This interval between contact and meeting allowed information to be exchanged and gave the "found" relatives some time to become accustomed to the idea.
Such an interval can also give the found relatives time to share the news with spouses and 2. Some factors that may increase the possibility of a successful longer term relationship include Muller and Perry, b:. In many cases, a successful reunion with a birth mother may prompt the adopted adult to continue the search process for the birth father. Meeting with birth siblings also may occur, and each reunion experience requires preparation and time to evolve. Each search for a birth relative is guided by a unique set of circumstances. The outcome is uncertain and, even when the birth relative is located, the reunion experience does not always turn out as expected.
Nonetheless, many adopted persons and birth parents have conducted successful searches and built successful relationships with their new-found relatives. For those who are just beginning the search, the best preparation may be finding out about the search experiences of others. To that end, a list of resources has been included below. Expectations and experiences of participants in ongoing adoption reunion relationships: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71 1 , Retrieved March 12, , from http: A handbook for adoptees and birthparents, 3rd edition.
The lifelong search for self. Access to information and search and reunion in Korean American adoptions: El Dorado Hills, CA: Harris Interactive Market Research. National Adoption Attitudes Survey. Retrieved July 16 , from http: Mutual consent voluntary registries: An exercise in patience and failure. Adoptive Families 32 1 , , Adopted persons' search for and contact with their birth parents I: Who searches and why?
Adoption Quarterly 4 3 , Adopted persons' search for and contact with their birth parents II: The adoption reunion survival guide: Preparing yourself for the search, reunion, and beyond. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Search and reunion etiquette: The guide Miss Manners never wrote.
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Retrieved April 14, , from http: Considerations for international search. Retrieved April 21, , from http: A book for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive families.
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While not a complete "how to" guide to searching, this factsheet provides information on: The decision to search Steps in the search process Hiring a professional searcher International searching Reunion issues In addition, a list of resources is included at the end. The Decision to Search Adults who were adopted as infants or young children are the most common group of people searching for adoption information and birth relatives.
Some of the more common reasons include the following: Searchers may want to know the names of their birth relatives, where they live, and what they are like. Birth parents may want to know whether their birth children have been happy and well treated.
Searching For Birth Relatives
Family traits and personalities. Many adopted persons and birth parents want to know how their birth relatives look and act and whether they share similar traits.
Information on genetic diseases and conditions can be crucial for safeguarding an adopted person's own health and the health of their biological children. The desire or need for family medical history is sometimes the only reason that will compel a judge to open sealed adoption records. Circumstances of the adoption. Often, adopted persons feel a need to know why they were placed for adoption or why the rights of the birth parent were terminated and how that decision was made. Birth parents may want the opportunity to explain the circumstances to their child.
Steps in the Search Process Every search is unique in its unfolding, but there are a number of steps and resources common to most searches. This section of the factsheet addresses the steps in the search process, including: Emotional preparation Assembling known information Researching relevant State laws Registering with reunion registries Obtaining missing documents Filing court petitions 1.
The following is a list of potentially helpful documents: Adoption agency records -If the name of the adoption agency is known, the searcher can request nonidentifying information or even records. For instance, in her book, Search: A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents , Jayne Askin provides an extensive list of possible questions to be addressed to the agency, including questions about siblings, medical information, and consent to release information.
Askin also recommends that the searcher supply a waiver of confidentiality to the agency, so that information about the searcher can be provided to the birth child or birth parent, if that individual also contacts the agency. Hospital records - Hospital records, when they can be obtained, may provide information on the birth mother, birth father, attending physician, and incidental health information. Adopted persons generally need to know their birth name, as well as the hospital's name and location. If the searcher has difficulty obtaining these records, a request made by a doctor may have a better chance for success.
Birth records -Most adopted persons will not have their original birth certificate but will have, instead, an amended document listing their adoptive parents' names.
However, there are a few States that allow adopted adults to have access to their original birth certificate. In other States, the original birth certificate may be available if the adopted person petitions the court. Court adoption file -The court adoption records consist of a number of documents, including the original, unaltered birth certificate; petition to adopt; finalization papers or final decree; consent to adopt from birth parent s , relinquishment papers, or orders terminating parental rights; and any agency or attorney papers, including information about birth parents.
Many of these documents may also be available elsewhere. For instance, adoptive parents should have copies of the court proceedings finalizing the adoption, although the final court order will not provide the names of the birth parents. If this is not available, an adopted person searching for birth parents may be able to contact the attorney or law firm that handled the adoption to obtain it.
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A request may also be made to the court. Often, identifying information will be blacked out of the court-supplied document; however, there may be some remaining clues that are helpful. The final adoption papers should provide the name of the attorney, judge, and agency involved in the proceedings. This information may lead to discovering other useful clues. Other court records -While most or all of the court records may be officially sealed, in some cases a searcher may be able to view the court's Docket Appearance Book, a daily record of who appeared in court and why on a particular day, or even the Minute Book log, with the results of each court appearance Culligan, Also, local newspapers from the time of the adoption may carry a notice of the filing of the Petition to Adopt in the classified section.
Other types of records -Other potentially useful records may include physician records, newspapers for birth announcements , cemetery and mortuary records, probate records, Social Security information, records of military service, school records including yearbooks , marriage licenses, divorce or annulment papers, DMV documents, and death certificates. Hiring a Professional Searcher Adopted persons or birth parents searching for birth relatives have the option of hiring a professional searcher. International Searching People who were adopted from outside the United States through intercountry adoptions face unique challenges in locating birth parents.
Some other resources for international searchers include the following: Adopted persons seeking documents such as a birth certificate that the U. Mailing addresses of offices of vital records in foreign countries can be found on the U. Searchers adopted from another country can contact the U. Citizenship and Immigration Services to receive copies of their immigration records.
An international agency that may offer help is International Social Services, which provides a broad range of social work services, including helping adopted persons find birth families abroad. Support groups for adopted persons from particular countries may be able to offer help and information on searching. Countries that have placed a large number of children with families in the United States, such as Korea, have support groups and organizations with websites and search information. See the Resource List at the end of this factsheet.
Reunion Issues Reunions between long-lost birth family members have been the subject of books, articles, and television shows. Two important themes emerge from these accounts: Some factors that may increase the possibility of a successful longer term relationship include Muller and Perry, b:
Related The Adoption Searchers Handbook
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