Should You Search for Your Birth Child?

Deciding whether or not to search for a birth child is a decision that birthparents must make for themselves. NAIC estimates that there are more than 60,000 Americans searching for birth parents or children from whom they were separated. Some may be searching out of curiosity, for emotional reasons, or from a need to share genetic and medical information. In many states sharing medical information is the only reason judges will accept as sufficient grounds for issuing a court order to open sealed child adoption records.
If you decide to search, you may want to ask yourself what your reasons are. If your search is successful, do you want to have an ongoing relationship with the person you find? Are you primarily seeking to share medical and genetic information? If so, you may want to have a third party, such as a search consultant, help you.

The situation is different depending on whether the child you relinquished is now an adult or still a minor. Some birth parents choose to search while the child is still a minor, either for emotional reasons or because they feel a compelling need to share genetic and medical information. If they find the child, they may then choose not to make contact, or to contact the adoptive parents to see about arranging contact. Sometimes these experiences are positive, and sometimes they are negative. Birthparents need to prepare for either outcome. Support groups can help. They can provide not only emotional support, but also with helpful ideas about how to search. NAIC has contacts for both national and local support groups.

One option frequently available to birth parents is to place a letter in the child’s file. This is one way you can update medical information, as well as any other information you may wish to pass along. However, it may not be found unless the child decides to search for you and contacts the agency to request the file. Therefore, this may not be the most direct approach for conveying crucial or time-sensitive medical information.

Please visit our All My Child section for more information and resources about modern day problems facing parents and children.

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