Search & Reconnection Services
The decision to search for a birth parent is a unique and personal choice that can be emotionally challenging and full of uncertainty. ADOPTIONS OF INDIANA offers counseling and search services for adult adoptees who were adopted in Indiana. We hope to offer support and guidance throughout the search and reconnection process.
Adult adoptees are the most common group seeking adoption information and birth relatives. While the reasons are varied and individual, these are a few of the most common:
- To obtain medical information
- To obtain family/relative information
- To learn the reasons for the adoption
By realizing one’s motivation for searching, it can put the search process in perspective and help guide you to the appropriate resources to locate information.
Adoption is a personal issue involving grief and loss. There are often emotions tied to the search and reconnection process that the adoptee may not yet be aware. Through counseling and self-exploration ADOPTIONS OF INDIANA helps adoptees address positive and negative information that they may receive during their search. We also help educate family and friends to support you through this process.
To begin a search, always start with the known facts regarding the adoption:
- Where did it occur?
- Who was involved (agencies, lawyers, foster families)?
- What documentation is readily available (birth certificate, adoption records, hospital records, correspondence)?
This information can often be obtained from adoptive parents or relatives. By asking for information from your adoptive family, it offers comfort that you are not dissatisfied with them as parents. They are also an excellent resource for most documents and may have names and dates readily available.
Take all of the information that you have, no matter how small, and organize it in a folder or file. This allows you to have all your search information in one place.
State Laws and Registries
Getting to know your states laws related to release of information can help you in your search. Keep in mind some states laws have changed and continues to change throughout the years. The Child Welfare Information Gateway web site can provide state law information.
The Indiana Department of Health’s Adoption Registry is one of the first steps in searching for information. This registry is for use by adult adoptees (age 21), birth parents, and adoptive parents of minors, relatives of deceased adoptees and relatives of deceased birth parents. Identifying information will not be released unless the adoptee, a birth parent, and/or the adoptive parents of a minor have registered. Non-identifying information is released upon request without consent of a birth parent for adoptions occurring after January 1, 1994. This is a passive consent registry that can be accessed here.
Reunion registries are also another resource. They offer both the adoptee and the birth parent the option of passive search. Both parties must independently register for a match to be made. There are independent web sites that offer registries, the largest being the Soundex Reunion Registry at www.isrr.net. This is open to all birth parents, adoptees over 18, and adoptive parents of minors.
Active Registries & Court Appointed Intermediaries
If you have not obtained the information you were searching for it may be time to enlist help. You may register with an “active” registry that initiates a search for a fee. Some states offer this service.
You may contact the courts to petition that the records be opened. While you do not always need an agency or attorney, most people find it helpful to retain one versed in adoption law. Be aware that the court does not have to open records and the information provided may be limited or non-identifying.
If the court chooses to accept your petition to open your records, a judge will assign you a confidential intermediary. Confidential intermediaries are appointed and sanctioned by the courts. They have access to sealed adoption files, as long as they’re used to conduct a search. The confidential intermediaries may be hired to search for a birth parent, make contact with each party, and obtain each person's consent or denial for the release of information and future contact. Confidential intermediaries report to the court and the presiding judge then decides what information will be released.
ADOPTIONS OF INDIANA can assist you with your search. Please contact Julie Barnes at 317-574-8950 for more information.