Understanding DNA

April 10th, 2007

The two part blog series I wrote in February talks about the different types of DNA tests that can be utilized in your adoption search. Before you turn to DNA testing to help uncover your natural ancestry you first should probably learn some basics. Each individual’s physical traits and characteristics are determined from our genes and our chromosomes hold our genetic material and carry genetic information in long strands of DNA called genes. DNA acts as a blue print for creating a human being. Each pair of chromosomes are made up of one chromosome that is inherited from the father and one from the mother. So, in adoption when you wonder why your eyes are a certain color or your hair… [more]

Search and Reunion Etiquette

September 26th, 2006
Categories: Choices in Search

1)If you choose to make your first contact by mail, be very discreet and delicate about what you say in your letter. Sometimes an adoptee has not been told that they are adopted, and sometimes a birth mother may not have told anyone about the adoption. It is best to let the found party control who they tell and when. You should indicate on the envelope that your letter is "personal and confidential". 2) When the initial contact is by telephone, inquire as to whether the person is free to talk at the moment. If they sound hesitant or say “no”, either leave your phone number for them to call you back, or ask if there is a better time for you… [more]

A New Way to Stay Connected – Part 3

July 28th, 2006
Categories: Choices in Search

I also believe that sometimes there is an element of denial for some few adoptive parents who think their excellent parenting is able to "fix" and eliminate all adoption issues. ("Denial" that word everyone hates to hear. Unfortunately, many of us birth and adoptive parents sometimes employ it in adoption scenarios.) Of course, good parenting can certainly help a child grow and thrive. However, I think it is a mistake to believe even the best parenting can eliminate all adoption issues. I was pleased to see acknowledgment that adoption issues often surface at adolescence. If the challenges that come with being adopted were addressed before the teenage years, I imagine that children would struggle less when they come of age. Identity… [more]

A New Way To Stay Connected! – Part 1

July 26th, 2006
Categories: Choices in Search

Formerly the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families. A service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Here is the link for this newly named website. Many of you may be familiar with the "National Adoption Information Clearinghouse". This is the replacement site for that one. There is a great deal of useful information on this site for all members of the triad. This link provides information about search and reunion, finding support groups and the lifelong impact of adoption on adoptees… [more]

Searching in California – Part 2

July 6th, 2006
Categories: Choices in Search

In Part 1, I was discussing the records that an adoptee received after petitioning the court to obtain his records. His birth parents' names were blocked out in most spots on the documents. Although the clerk left the birth parents' names readable in several spots, in this particular instance, it did not help us to find the birth dad. (Birth mom had an affair while her husband was away in the service and had since passed away – taking the secret of the birth father with her.) The birth mother had listed, not the birth father’s name, but her husband’s name on the birth certificate. This is not uncommon. In most states, a husband is presumed to be the biological father of any child his… [more]

Searching in California – Part 1

July 5th, 2006

I thought it might be helpful to discuss some of the particulars of searching here in California as I know that many are searching within the state. However, I will say that for a couple of reasons California is an easier state to search in than many other states. The chief reason that I believe that California is searcher friendly is that we have “birth indexes”. The birth index lists all births in the state since I believe as far back as 1900 (don’t quote me on that though). The birth index lists dates that babies were born, the county they were born in, their sex and their mothers’ maiden names. Although the birth index is no longer available on the… [more]

Agency Searches

March 28th, 2006

Some adoption agencies are now offering “post-adoption services”. In some cases, this includes searches. Here are a few facts to remember about agency searches:  Depending on state law, searches may only be offered on the behalf of the adoptee. However, some states and/or agencies will provide searches for birth or adoptive parents, siblings and/or other birth relatives.  All the agencies that I have found that offer searches charge a fee for this service. Some may provide special hardship waivers, however, I imagine that waiving the search fees is highly unusual. The search fees vary; however, they tend to run as high as $525 or more.  Agencies are able to initiate searches only in those states that allow them to do… [more]

Cautions in Searching

March 16th, 2006

An experience that I have had recently made me thing about the vulnerability that those searching put themselves in when posting on the internet, in guest books, registries, or posting to message boards. I would like to see everyone out there searching to be careful but always be yourself. Surround yourself with reputable groups and people in the adoption community and always seek out ethical search options. During your search, no matter what part of the triad you are, there are some cautions that I think that each of us need to take. A majority of the folks in the adoption community are on the up and up but there have been circumstances of where a triad member has been scammed to believe that… [more]

Data Bases and Search Guides

February 18th, 2006

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all." Emily Dickinson Whether you are searching, considering a search or in reunion, keep on hoping! Once you have a name, the Internet provides a wide array of databases to search for a person. Many of the databases are free of charge. Some are available only through paid subscriptions. Others may charge nominal amounts per search. There are also many search guides which provide a wealth of information about adoption search. Here are some links to data bases and/or some search guides which could be helpful to you after you have a name: Shea's Search Series http://www.plumsite.com/shea/series.html An awesome collection of essays on how to begin… [more]

Private Investigators, Detectives, and Volunteers

February 11th, 2006

Another option in your search choices is the use of a private investigator. Private investigators are usually less expensive than ISC's, but the disadvantage is that they are seldom trained in adoption search, which is a very unique search of 'missing persons'. If you choose this route, unless the investigator specifically specializes in adoption searches only utilize their services in the event that you have a name that your search is centered around, and have been unable to turn up anything yourself. Private Investigators are often skilled in this regard. As always, it is important to obtain references. You might also consider the choice of a company that advertises adoption searches and/or database searches. For some specific, narrow searches, such as DMV, credit file, birth date, or Social Security traces… [more]