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I thought I'd organize some of my tips for you in one spot as opposed to the little bits and pieces in my e-groups that I often leave :-)
Many things you may already know but I'm going to be careful not to assume any of those things here. Many of you may have just made the decision to search. Usually you will find that most people in search of birth family are more than happy to help each other as they find possible matches for others along their own journeys. It's exciting when we that are involved in our own search find a match for someone else from another registry!
When you are thinking of finding information on your birth facts:
Always keep in mind your expectations. What do want out of reunion? Do you actually want a reunion or do you just want to know information such as medical info etc? Go through all the "what ifs". Are you prepared to handle any scenario? Are you willing to except less then perfect circumstances regarding your relinquishment?
You must keep in mind:
You're bmom was most likely just young and thought adoption was to your benefit, being told by many she was doing a "selfless act".
But there are other situations you must think of and be willing to accept.
The jail thing, the mental thing, death, drugs, rape, incest, black and grey market, and kidnapping to name a few. Also you may be related to your adopted parents by blood. Chances are these were not the circumstances behind your adoption, but it's good to ask yourself how you would handle these things.
For me, for example, the idea of my mother being a criminal and losing me, was a better idea than to think she was a famous politician that thought of her image. When I realized that it didn't really matter and that what I wanted was to just simply know--I began my search ready for anything.
Always keep in mind a reunion may not be wanted by your birth family.
Also there could be painful memories and that is not your fault.
You may not even like any of them when you do meet them. They may not like you.
I've heard stories where they were a "bunch of mooches" that view you as some spoiled adoptee.
Once you go through all the possible negative things that are not that likely, you are ready to begin your search. I think your expectations are very important, yet I apologize for blabbering so long on that subject.
Find out how supportive your adopted family will be in your search. You may find they are as eager as you are to learn of your birth family's traits and talents. Ask questions. Do you have a possible birth name to go on? Will social services help in your state? Were you records sealed? Obtain a "vault copy" of your amended birth certificate (it's the longest- most complete).
Get your non- identifying information from the state in which you were adopted. Read it and keep it. Make sure you register with the International Soundex Reunion Registry. They are key. Follow up and keep in touch with them. Make sure they have your current contact info at all times.
There are many registries and support groups on the internet for all members of the triad (birth families, adoptees, and adoptive families) Join them all. Keep your email current with them.
Beware of the following:
There are people very much against you for searching and will act as though they are assisting you while sabotaging your efforts. Not very many of them, but they are out there; believe it or not. That is why it's important to be in charge of your own search and accept the help of search angels. Search Angels are usually legit and volunteer their time while sometimes still in search of their own birthrights.
To protect yourself:
Post just certain info that is needed for a match. Always keep track of what you post. Hold some "cards" for when you truly think you've found a match. That would be some info that only a bmom would know and that you know for fact you have not posted anywheres. It may be a birthmark, heart murmur, some hospital info, birth time and weight etc.
Don't pay money for what you can do yourself. There are a lot of volunteers out there to help you.
There are also stalkers and weirdos out there. Share no more than you have to on boards and online registries.
Things to remember:
Non ID info can be bogus. Yes, signed and notarized, yet completely false. I had a man email me telling me that it was "a lie made up by frustrated searchers". I, in the end, was able to email him back telling him that after a DNA test with motherhood confirmation (with the mother that was supposedly dead) that the nonid info was a lie made up by people trying to get searchers to disregard truth. It makes me wonder how many people this man told that to that would have otherwise found their birth families. I urge you to keep the non id info as a tool, but NOT to limit yourself to it's info. If anything, when you find your birth family--you can all share a good laugh or cry about it!
So remember; your place, time, date and weight at birth can be wrong. You may not have a name to go on--and you may not know what member of your birth family you are looking for.
Also keep in mind, Your bmom may also have false info--so her post may read ISO another date, another gender, (yes true) and another place of birth. There will be some clues, so please do not rule out anything as a result of your non id info. You may want to consider people who are looking for someone a few days off from your "known" birth date. When a baby is placed in a young mom's arms who is in an unwed mother's home, they may very well say "this is your baby girl"---when in truth--well, she never changed the diaper--she also isn't really sure what day it is.
If a bunch of things sound right, but just a fact are two are off--maybe put them on a back burner for now--but please don't disregard them as a match. You may even have a sibling you didn't know of; also searching.
ISRR had found my mom but had to disregard; as my non id info stated that my mom was dead and I had four older siblings. It went so far as to say:
Birth mother regrettably passed away from streptococcal septicemia -origin unknown.
What a specific lie! lol
During my search, I've noticed a lot of Upstate New York adoptees dob 1960-1967 believing they have 4 older siblings yet no one looking for younger ones. Must be it is true of someone? Seems strange.
Also, I've often wondered in a case where there were children prior to or after the adoptee's birth--who would be old enough to remember who?
I had no name to go on and believed I was a child of a deceased mother who had me as a German, Methodist, factory worker at the age of 35, with no info on Bdad. My birth date was correct and I was relinquished in the same city of Syracuse that I was adopted in. My gender was also correct. In fact, my bmom and I were helping each other look for family members lol! We kept coming back to each others searches scratching our heads. We both had gut feelings.
I was relinquished when 3 days old, yet was adopted when pushing 3 years old. I never did figure out the first 3 years of my life. My birth mom had been assured I was in a great home. We were mutually searching for years and could have been matched up if only info was shared truthfully. My adopted parents were also supportive of a reunion.
My birth mom is a talented awesome woman that I am so happy to have found. She is like an angel. She is smart and artistic. I was the first baby and she and my Bdad (that I also found despite false info from the state) kept in contact for the sake of "the baby". How great is that! To think, I was German for 36 years, only to become Irish, Sicilian, and Italian!
Point is, I want you all to have successful reunions with your b families or to at least have access to the truth of your origin --it's your birthright to know your heritage. I remember my first letter from the state telling me I have no right to that information. That needs to be changed.
I feel that facts are facts. You can lie cheat and steal, but it doesn't change them. I think that we as adoptees have the right just as anyone else to our birth records. Not knowing them doesn't change them. Sealed records protect; They protect liars, kidnappers, and crooks. When all members are of the triad are in mutual search, who of those people are the lies protecting? There are searchers who have died waiting for the courts to open records in hopes of medical info when the B family would have given anything to be able to help.
Urge everyone to
Support Open Records.
What we can do
Feel free to contact me and Please google adoption reunion registry. Aol member directory: search adoptees. There are also boards and forums. Clusty search engine seems to pull up some unique sites on Adoptee.
This was a vague outline of some tips. I will follow up with more specific links, ideas and strategies. In the meantime, Good luck in your searches and don't ever get discouraged. Look and re-look over some matches you may have ruled out before. It could be a foster sibling or someone other than who you thought you were seeking. Please help one another when you see something on one registry that looks a lot like someone another's been posting about.
Also know that I now reside in Tulsa for those living out of state who may need some local calls made or a trip to an office etc.
You can help others in the same way if you happen to live in a state they are searching. Sometimes just as much as a phone call can help towards a reunion.