In the past, adoption has been a fairly taboo subject. This was often because of the stigma attached to having a child outside of marriage, or the shame of not being able to care for a child. Because of this, many adult adoptees were adopted under a closed adoption, meaning that they did not receive information about their birth parents growing up.
As an adult, you may have a need to learn more about your biological family. You might even want to connect with them. If you want to get to know a little bit more about your biological family, there are plenty of things you can do.
Here is a quick guide to finding information on your birth parents:
Get Non-Identifying Information
Non-identifying information is the most easily accessible information when it comes to your birth parents. It generally includes information such as a general physical description, any important medical information, race, and occasionally religion. It does not include details such as names, addresses, or telephone numbers.
Because of this, it can be a great starting point. If all you’re looking for is a general description of your birth parents, or you’re only interested in the basics, this can be an easy way to get that information without having to jump through hoops. And it could be all you need if you are just curious about health conditions.
But it’s not a useful way to actually find and/or contact your biological parents. For that, you need to go further.
Ask Your Adoptive Parents
Sometimes, even through a closed adoption, your adoptive parents might have some information on your birth parents. Your birth parents might even have given them specific contact information to give you when you turn a certain age.
Even if your adoptive parents don’t have any information that can specifically help you find your biological parents, they might still be willing and able to help you in your endeavor.
Find Your State’s Laws on Requesting Original Birth Certificates
Even if your parents adopted you through a closed adoption, your birth parents’ names should be on your unaltered birth certificate. An original birth certificate, which the hospital filed when you were born and had your birth parents’ names on it, is generally sealed away.
There are no federal laws regarding original birth certificates. The extent to which a birth certificate is sealed varies from state to state. Many states allow every adult adoptee to request a copy of their original birth certificate with no restrictions. Others require a court order, generally only given because of emergencies.
To find out more, you will need to look up your birth state specific regulations.
Request Your Original Birth Certificate
If you do live in a state where your original birth certificate and other birth records are available upon request, it’s a good idea to file a request to get the most reliable information. If you are in a state that has more stringent policies, you should still file a request if you are in the throes of a medical emergency. You can explain that to the judge and, hopefully, get a court order to access the birth certificate.
The original birth certificate should have your birth parents’ full names and the hospital where you were born. This is the best way to make sure you have your birth parents’ actual information. And it’s also the best piece of information you could have if you want to track them down.
Find Contact Information for Your Birth Parents
Though the birth certificate won’t have any current contact information, it should have your parents’ full names on it. That may not seem like much. But that information may be all you need to help you get in contact with your birth family. It just requires utilizing further investigative services to dig a little deeper.
A dedicated people search website can be the best way to try and find current contact information for your birth parents. Simply enter one or both names, as well as a city and state where they lived, and the service will locate all available related information. Hopefully, this includes an accurate, current address and other contact information.
With this contact info in hand, you could call, send an email, or mail them a letter. Want to meet them in person? You can run a background check to try to get even more important public info, like criminal records. That way, you can reassure yourself that it’s actually safe to go meet up with with your birth parents.
Finding your birth parents’ information after not knowing anything about them for a very long time can be a daunting task. But maybe now you want to get to know them a little bit. Or perhaps you have important questions to ask about why your parents placed you for adoption, information about your lineage, or any hereditary health conditions you should know about.
You may need closure, answers, or want to build a relationship with your birth parents. Whatever your reasons for wanting to find them, you can do it with just a little legwork and simple research.
For more information about researching your birth parents or other important people in your life, be sure to read the PeopleFinders Blog.
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