The Law FAQ

December 22nd, 2006

Q. Are the court adoption records open for anyone to read or copy? A. These records are generally not public records. There are laws in some states that provide the adoptee with a copy of their original birth certificate under specific circumstances and are set forth in each states statues. Q. Under what circumstances may a court release some of the information in the adoption file? A. In many states a petition may be filed in the court of the judicial district in which the permanent records relating to the adoption are maintained. The court may reveal information to the adopted person about his adoption, but according to many states current laws, may not reveal any information that would endanger the anonymity of the… [more]

FAQ – Agencies and Courts

December 20th, 2006

Q. What does the agent do after the court has issued an order? A. A copy of the court order appoints an agent is sent to the adopted person and to the agency which has been appointed. The agency will send a letter to the adopted person within a mater of a couple of weeks after receiving the court order acknowledging that it will be in further contact with the adopted person. In a subsequent letter or telephone contact, The agency will explain to the adopted person the procedures involved and the costs. The agent may ask the adoptee to prepare a biography and to verbalize the reasons motivating the search. The agent will schedule an interview in person or by telephone so as… [more]

Where Do I Start My Search

December 18th, 2006

The most frequent question that I receive is Where do I start my search for my natural mother?. Sometimes it is followed by a statement something to the effect of I already know what her name is and what age she was when I was born but that is all. First off, if you have a name you know much more than most adoptees know. With a name, you have a few options depending on when and where your natural mother’s parental rights were terminated. In some states you may be entitled to identifying information from you adoption record from either the court that finalized the adoption or the adoption agency if one was involved. In other states if the natural… [more]

The Petition

November 30th, 2006

Q. What sort of information does the court need to have in the petition? A. The petition should contain the following information: the adopted name of the person; the county of the adoption; the birth date of the adoptee; the names of the adoption parents; the date of the adoption, if known; the file number of the adoption, if known. It should also contain current information about the adopted person: current name, address, telephone number, social security number, reasons why the adopted person is interested in seeking non- identifying information or in having an agent appointed to search for the natural parents. Q. Must an attorney prepare this petition? A. No, a letter to the orphans' court division of the court, which handled the adoption, is… [more]

Search and Reunion FAQ

October 11th, 2006

Do you think I should tell my adoptive parents that I have decided to search? It is important for each adoptee to make the decision that is best for him/her. Support groups often encourage adoptees to share with their adoptive families. Advantages in sharing with adoptive parents: They may have additional information about the adoption and information on the birth family. There are many who want to support their child and share the experience throughout the search and reunion process. This shared process can be enriching for all parties and strengthen emotional ties. Disadvantages: The adoptive parents may feel threatened and oppose searching. The adoptee may be expected to provide support and to reassure their adoptive parents through the process. Some find this may be… [more]

How to Find a Therapist

April 24th, 2006

When seeking professional support from a counselor or therapist there are a few things that you can do to help yourself find the right person for you. You are looking for someone who doesn’t over emphasize the effects of adoption nor ignores its influence and effects on the lives of triad members. The ideal therapist or counselor should have knowledge of and experience with adoption. So, you may be wondering where to start looking? You can use local adoption search and support resources. You can start with referrals from the agency that handled your adoption, a lawyer, or members of local search and support groups. You can also contact your local mental health association for referral to therapists who have… [more]

FAQ-Petition and Court Order

March 31st, 2006

Q. What sort of information does the court need to have in the petition? A. The petition should contain the following information: the adopted name of the person; the county of the adoption; the birth date of the adoptee; the names of the adoption parents; the date of the adoption, if known; the file number of the adoption, if known. It should also contain current information about the adopted person: current name, address, telephone number, social security number, reasons why the adopted person is interested in seeking non- identifying information or in having an agent appointed to search for the birth parents. Q. Must an attorney prepare this petition? A. No, a letter to the orphans' court division of the court, which handled the adoption, is sufficient to begin… [more]

FAQ – The Search

March 17th, 2006

Recently, it seems as if folks who have contacted me in regards to search have emailed me some questions that I thought would be good to answer on this blog. Q: Where are (or who has) my adoption records? A: In most states the adoption records are maintained in the county which the adoption was finalized. Often times, but not always, this is the county the adoptive parents lived in at the time of the adoption. The placement agency also maintains records and may have additional information that is not maintained on the county level. Q: May I obtain a copy of my adoption record? A: Unfortunately, not entirely. In most states, adoptees can obtain non identifying information regarding birth parents and him or her self… [more]

FAQ – Courts and Agents

March 16th, 2006

Below are some common questions and answers in regards to the court system and agents. Q. Are there any other limitations imposed by the law upon the court and its agents under the activity of searching for and contacting the birth parents? A. The court and the agent may refuse to contact the birth parents if it is believed that, under the circumstances, there would be a substantial risk that the persons other than the birth parents would learn of the adoptee's existence in relationship to the birth parents. Q. Who may be appointed to serve as an agent to locate and make contact with the birth parents? A. Depending on the state, the court may appoint either the county's children and youth agency or a private agency, which provided… [more]

FAQ-The Law

March 15th, 2006

Here is a list of some common questions. This first blog in this series is going to relate to the law. Q. Are the court adoption records open for anyone to read or copy? A. These records are generally not public records. There are laws in some states that provide the adoptee with a copy of their original birth certificate under specific circumstances and are set forth in each states statues. Q. Under what circumstances may a court release some of the information in the adoption file? A. In many states a petition may be filed in the court of the judicial district in which the permanent records relating to the adoption are maintained. The court may reveal information to the adopted person about his adoption, but… [more]