How to Find Your Birth Parents if Born and Adopted in New York State
We now know that it is natural and very common for an adoptee to want to know more about their personal history and original family.
The Coalition is not a government agency, does not provide direct search services, and is unable to assist you with accessing information in closed adoption records. We ARE NOT SEARCHERS, however, we can point you in the right direction.
There are certain basic steps that an adoptee or birth family searching in New York State can take.
Register with New York State
New York is a closed records state which means that governmental agencies, courts, or adoption agencies WILL NOT release adoption records nor copies of original birth certificates. The New York State Health Department does maintain a Free Adoption Registry that can help an adoption search and even facilitate a reunion. It is a mutual consent adoption registry which means that both parties searching must be signed up for a match to be made. Available medical information and non-identifying adoption information is also provided to adoptees over the age of 18 in New York.
For more information on who can register and how, please see Access to Adoption Records in New York State
Determine What You DO Know About Your Adoption Search
Start by revisiting what you do know, what you have been told and what you think you remember. Ask questions and make direct inquires about your adoption. Gather whatever records, documents or even vague memories you can from:
- Your Adoptive Parents: ask them for ANY paperwork they might have from your adoption. There is usually legal paperwork and the final adoption decrees plus any verbal information they might remember.
- The Adoption Agency: many agencies keep their own records and have their own procedures involved for reunions, so they are a good place to start an adoption search.
- The Adoption Attorneys: they might still records on hand and names, sometimes they might pass some information on.
It can also sometimes be helpful to see if any information can be had from the Maternity Home and / or Hospital that was involved. You will also want to find out as many tiny rumors and bits of information as you can from extended family members or friends. Keep notes.
Check and Sign Up for the “Big” Adoption Reunion Registries
You might have it easy and your biological family might have begun searching for you as well, so try the two best national adoption reunion registries first. For anyone searching the International Soundex Reunion Registry and the Registry at Adoption.com are a must. There are many more Adoption Search data bases and registries to check and register for.
For more information and links to adoption registries, please see New York Adoption Reunion Registries and Online Information.
Create an Adoption Search Support Community for Yourself
An adoption search can take years and be long and frustrating or fast and furious or everywhere in between. No matter what steps one takes, anyone is bound to experience a wide range of conflicting and often quickly cycling emotions. Having an understanding circle of people who have also experienced similar feelings is often vital to support emotional health. In addition, search support can also mean more hands helping and provide new avenues to explore while searching for your original family.
Please see New York State Adoption Search Support to find local in person and online adoption search support groups.
Use Technology and Ask for Help
Technology and the internet have completely changed the way people conduct Adoption Searches. Not only does the internet allow those searching to find each other, but help and tools for searching are often just a click away.
- Google: Google help you find more search tips and connect you to adoption search help. It is a vital search tool for digging up names, contact information, and other facts. Goggling your birthdate is key to see if anyone is looking for you and finding listings on Adoption Search registries.
- Search Angels: Adoption search angels are people who volunteer to help others with adoption searches for free. Since they work on more than just one personal search, they tend to be really great researches with access to paid databases and people finding tools. Once you have non identifying information from New York (see step #1) , don’t hesitate in asking for help. A professional adoption search angel can be a miracle worker.
- DNA Testing: DNA testing has literally blown up many adoption searches in the last few years. There are many folks who have searched for their family for decades with no luck at all and then, after DNA testing, they found family. The whole concept of “sealed” Adoption records is practically moot now due to DNA testing.
- Social Media Searches: Facebook, MySpace, blogs and even Twitter can be amazing tools for adoption searches. By opening up your search on social media you open yourself up to the many eyes and minds and Googling fingers.
For more information, please see New York State Adoption Search Technology and Resources