December 18th, 2006
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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 mother files a waiver of confidentiality or a consent for contact you may be able to receive identifying information. In addition, there are other states that you can petition the court where the adoption was finalized and they will appoint a confidential intermediary who would be allowed access to the information in your adoption record and then would search for and attempt to make contact with your natural family on your behalf.


However, if you have a name you can more than likely complete your search on your own. One way to start would be (if you are comfortable) to post and share the name and age on a reputable adoption mailing list and registries. Don’t forget to include where the adoption took place. Many times there are volunteers on these lists or registries who have access to a variety of public record resources and will try to find out where she is now. A few factors is how common the name is and the marital status of the natural mother when the adoptee was born it may or may not be easy to locate her.

You may need to obtain non identifying information regarding your natural family from the court or agency to narrow down the right family. You may also need to search for a marriage license to determine what the last name may be name is now.

If you aren’t comfortable posting to a mailing list or registry, find a person you are comfortable with that you can email privately to ask for guidance on your specific situation.

One Response to “Where Do I Start My Search”

  1. dfrechette211 says:

    I was Born in providence, RI, on 2/11/70. I’m now the father of 2 and would like to be able to tell my family more about our family history. I would like to meet my mother and any other relatives I might have. David , 423-645-7676 or

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