How to Find a Child You Gave Up for Adoption

The decision to search for a child you gave up for adoption can be challenging, both emotionally and practically. Some birth parents prefer to conduct a passive search. This method involves making a concerted effort to place the information you have about the adoption in places where it can be found by your birth child should he choose to initiate a reunion. An active search is when you gather as much information as possible about your birth child so you will be able to initiate contact. If you decide to proceed with an active search, several suggested steps can help you succeed in your efforts.

There are ways to find your child. (Image: dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Research the privacy regulations in the state where the adoption took place. Regulations will vary from state to state. Within some states, adoption rules will differ from one county to the next. Jot down everything you remember about the adoption, such as dates, places and names. Your family and friends may be able to trigger some memories you've forgotten.

Step 2

Make a list of contacts who may be of assistance in the search for your adopted child. Start with the adoption agency and an attorney, if one was used in the case. The adoption division of the Department of Social Services in the state where the adoption took place may also have pertinent information.

Step 3

Contact the County Court Clerk where the adoption occurred. You may be able to obtain the name of the judge and/or caseworker involved in the finalization of the adoption. Another helpful source may be the hospital where your child was born. The names of the adopting parents could be listed in the records.

Step 4

Register your case with the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR). This service is free of charge. Once you have entered your information into the ISRR database, it will search for a match. If your adult adopted child has also registered, you will both be contacted right away.

Step 5

Join a support group in your community or online to remind you that you are not alone. You will be able to share your concerns and hopes with other birth parents who are on similar journeys in their quests to locate adopted children.

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