If you are searching for your birth mother, you may have lost contact when she gave you up for adoption, lost a custody battle, surrendered you to foster care, went to jail, was deprived of you through a parental child abduction by your birth dad, or your adoptive parents backed out of an open adoption agreement to keep in touch with her. But there are ways you can locate your birth mother for free and possibly rekindle a relationship or at least get answers to your questions about her.
Collect all of the information you have about your birth mother. Put the information in a computer file or a paper folder and keep a duplicate copy of all paper information in a metal strongbox. You can also scan paper items, paste them into an email or attach them to an email as a PDF file, email them to yourself, and then store them in an email folder labeled "My Birth Mother."
Join online discussion forums for adoptees. Many group members are experienced searchers and can offer you useful advice. Read the essays that these groups have created, which provide detailed search information. One example of such forums is Adoption.com's "General Adoptee Support Forum."
Register with the many free online reunion databases for adoptees and other adults searching for their birth parents, such as the International Soundex Reunion Registry. If your birth mother is seeking you, she may find your contact information in one of these databases.
Contact the people and institutions that met with your birth mother during the time that you were connected to her. Question your adoptive or foster parents, the hospital where you were born, the adoption agency that handled your adoption, your state foster care agency, or the court that processed your birth parents' divorce, custody or adoption proceedings.
Find out if the state where you were adopted maintains a mutual consent adoption search registry. If the state has a registry, sign up and say that you are willing to be contacted by your birth mother. States may charge a small fee to register, but some will waive the fee. For more information about state adoption records in the U.S. you can download a free PDF booklet from the federal Child Welfare Information Gateway "Access to Adoption Records."
Search online family genealogical databases for people with your mother's last name. Review other free online databases that have information relevant to your search, including those containing obituaries, prison records, and vital statistics, such as "Ancestor Hunt."
Use online social media resources to find your birth mother. Search for your birth mother on Facebook. Notify your Twitter followers that that you are looking for your birth mother. Create a blog titled, "I'm [your birth name] Searching For My Birth Mother [your birth mother's name]." Seek out online membership groups for people who share her special interests, such as quilting, and ask if anyone knows your birth mother.
- Adoption.com: General Adoptee Support Forum
- International Soundex Reunion Registry
- Adoption Search Registries and Reunion Resources Listed by State
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Access to Adoption Records: Summary of State Laws
- Ancestor Hunt
- "The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide"; Julie Jarrell Bailey and Lynn N. Giddens; 2001
- "Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion"; Jean A. S. Strauss; 1994