Searching for Children

Birth parents sometimes search for children they placed for adoption years earlier.  Birth parents may want to know whether their birth children have been happy and well treated or they may want the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding their decision to place the child for adoption to that now grown adult.

Those searching for their biological children may want to become informed about state laws regarding adoption and records access in the state(s) in which they placed their child for adoption, keeping in mind that some state laws vary according to the applicable years.

A number of states, as well as private organizations, offer reunion registries that allow adopted persons and birth parents to register the fact that they are searching for each other. Most of these reunion registries are “passive,” meaning that both parties (e.g., the adopted person and the birth mother) must independently register in order for a match to be made. When both parties register at the same passive registry and a match is made, registry officials share the mutual information and help to arrange for contact. Passive registries do not actively search for the other party.


Inside Searching for Children