Finding out information about your birth family after an adoption requires time and effort. Gathering non-identifying information, such as your birth parents' careers, religion and physical description at the time of birth is typically a much easier step in the process than obtaining current contact information for your birth family. In addition, most states and adoption agencies require you to be at least 18 years old before you begin your information search.
Skill level:Moderately Challenging
1 Talk to you adoptive parents about your adoption. Request information such as the location and date of your adoption as well as the adoption agency involved in the adoption and the court that finalised it. Ask your adoptive parents if they ever met your birth parents or have any information they are willing to share with you.
2 Contact your adoption agency for information. Adoption agencies maintain a file about each adoption or are often willing to help people adopted through their agency find information about their birth parents. While some agencies charge a fee for their services, others provide assistance free of charge.
3 Request all non-identifying information from your adoption record. Follow the laws in the state where your adoption was finalised for the release of non-identifying information. Though the restrictions vary, most states allow you to request non-identifying information once you turn 18.
4 Follow state laws and guidelines to have identifying information released. Most states require consent from your birth family before identifying information can be released. In addition, the Child Welfare Information Gateway website notes that Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas require adopted persons to take part in counselling before this information is released.
5 Join a reunion registry to help continue your search. Joining a passive registry, such as the International Soundex Reunion Registry, the largest passive registry, requires you and your birth family to submit information before you can make contact, while active registries, such as OmniTrace, allow you to pay the registry to search for your relative.
6 Petition the court that completed your adoption for the release of your records in accordance with state laws. Decide if you want to hire a lawyer or complete the process on your own. Petitioning the court does not guarantee the release of identifying information.
7 Hire a professional to help you gather more information. Select a person who has experience with adoption searches and is familiar with the area where your adoption took place.