Perhaps you are brand new to all of this. Or perhaps you’ve already begun this journey, but you’re brand new to G’S Adoption Registry. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. The discussion below doesn’t pretend to cover all the many details you’ll be learning as you conduct your search. But it does offer a good and thorough introductory "Tutorial" that answers some basic questions that can relieve the often uncomfortable feelings of…
"How do I make sense of all the countless adoption Websites that exist?"
"I don’t even know what to ask."
"Where do I start?"
That’s what we’ll cover here. Plus, farther down this page, there are "FAQs" – "Frequently Asked Questions". These will reassure you that you’ll be working with people who have been down the roads you’re traveling, many times, and who will do their best to help you. Reading this short discussion will save you several days (or weeks) of trying to figure out all the random (and often confusing) information available on the Web. Note too that, elsewhere on this Website, you’ll find detailed discussions of various topics introduced in this Tutorial. The discussion below is just a convenient starting-point and overview of the roads you’ll be traveling.
Okay, let’s get started.
You’re here for one of two reasons: (1) You’re a person who’d like to find (and communicate with, or meet) your birth-parent(s) and/or sibling(s), or (2) you’re a person who’d like to find (and communicate with, or meet) your own birth-child who was placed in the care of other guardians.
You probably already know that there are laws in each state that govern when and how adoptees & birth-parents may be allowed to contact each other. In some cases, both the adopted child and the birth-parent want to be found, and they both file a "letter of consent" with the appropriate agencies. Before long, their names bump into each other in some agency’s computer, and their prayers are answered.
Of course, life isn’t always quite that easy. Sometimes a birth-parent or an adopted child doesn’t want to be found. Not all adopted children even know they were adopted. Not every father knows he is a father. And, though unlikely, it’s possible that a child or parent doesn’t really care one way or the other. "If we meet some day, fine – and, if not, that’s fine too." So, as you conduct your search, you need to always be aware that the person you’re seeking may be anywhere along that spectrum: from very eager to very reluctant to hear from you… to totally unaware of you. All you can do is hope and pray for the best results, and for the strength to be able to handle whatever comes your way.
Good news now. The above was the hard part. If you’re able to deal with the emotional side of the equation, the rest is just a simple matter of organizing and conducting a thorough research effort. G’S Adoption Registry is one of the very best places that can help you attain your dream. And it’s totally free.
Here’s how it works. You fill out a search-form that lists ALL of the information you can possibly gather about the person you want to find. That form is then forwarded to a team of "Search Angels". These are very generous and helpful people who have a lot of skills and experience in conducting adoptee and birth-parent searches. Since laws and procedures vary from state to state, your search will typically be assigned to the Search Angel(s) who are located in (or who are most knowledgeable about) the state whose laws govern your situation.
If you want to actively participate in the search, you can get involved in email correspondence with one or more Search Angels. We highly recommend that you do this, as much as your time will allow, because doing so will help the Search Angels help you. For example, one or more Search Angels may find some promising leads that spark your memory concerning additional useful information, which you can then supply to help the search. This means that you’ll need to check your email very regularly, and have time available to discuss various search issues with your Search Angels.
Depending on the details of your search (and your typing skills and email access) the above might take you several minutes per week, or several hours. Or more. If you know from right now that you simply don’t have the time, don’t worry, that’s not the end of the world. G’S Registry can "work around" that and still help you. But – for obvious reasons – results may take a bit longer.
At the other end of the spectrum, maybe you have lots of spare time, and you’re fairly computer-savvy, and you enjoy surfing the Web, and you’re eager to dig through all kinds of public records. If so, here’s more good news. Below (explained in the FAQs) you’ll learn how to access all kinds of great Web links to all kinds of court records, newspaper archives, etc., etc., for every state in the US – all of which you can use for free, as much as you like.
Okay, that covers Phase 1 and Phase 2: initiating your search, and participating in your search (to whatever extent you can). Phase 3 – actually getting in touch with that special human you’ve been hoping to find – is the final and most important part. Once located, how do you approach that special person? Phone? Email? A greeting card? A letter? What do you say? What do you do? What do you not do and say? How do you make sure that you don’t make any hasty mistakes that may cause an undesired reaction in that person? How do you prepare yourself for possible seeming rejection or bad news about that special person? How do you proceed when it’s 95% certain that you’ve found the correct person, but it’s still possible it may be the wrong person? Once again, that’s where your Search Angels come in.
Remember, they’re known as "Angels" for a good reason. They’ve been down these paths before. Many times. They’ve felt the same things you’re feeling. They’ve dealt with the same fears that you know so well. They’ll talk to you about the pro’s and con’s of the various ways of contacting your special person. Sometimes that special person is absolutely delighted to hear from their biological kin, right from Day #1. Sometimes the news catches them totally off-guard, right in the middle of some other complicated or challenging moment of their life. They might need a few days (or even a few weeks) just to "digest" the news. And, meanwhile, you can easily misinterpret the true meaning of a long silent pause in that first phone call, or a faraway look on their face. And, sometimes, sad to say, they just might not be "ready" right now, and they won’t respond very warmly.
But even that isn’t totally bad news. As any Search Angel can tell you, people can change, overnight, though it may take a while. A loved one who seems non-receptive today may just need a few weeks or months to "sort things out"… or to "grow up in a hurry"… or to "burn off" any long-held bad feelings. And then one morning they may wake up and realize that they’re finally "over it" or that "it all makes sense now" – and then they warmly contact you.
So, you just have to be prepared for any kind of outcome, and accept (from right now) that everything will somehow work out for the best. Even if it turns out that your special person is no longer living, your search has still been successful – because now at least you know, and you can move on with your life.
Anyhow, you now know the basic process involved. If you have the time, you may want to contact a variety of adoption registries, not just G’S Registry. While we believe we are among the very best that you can find, we can’t be everywhere at once. It’s certainly possible that somebody who works for some other registry just might happen to be an expert on some public or private agency or archive (or whatever) that has the exact data you need. We at G’S Registry simply don’t see ourselves as being "in competition" with anybody else. We’re not here for prestige or glory, and we don’t charge any fees. We just want to do whatever we can to enable the magic of putting children and parents and siblings back in touch – maybe even within hugging distance – after having cherished that dream for many years.
Okay, now you understand the basics. Below are some FAQs, and helpful answers.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I find the latest laws (for each state) that govern if and how an adopted child and a birth-parent may contact each other?
On the left side of the G’S Adoption Registry Web page, there is a long list of links, starting at the upper left with "G's Home Page" followed by "Beginner’s Tutorial" etc. As you keep scrolling down that list, you’ll eventually see the names of all the states, starting with "Alabama". Place your mouse pointer over the name of the state whose laws you want to examine, without clicking. When you do, a list of sub-topics appears to the right. The first few items on that list say things like "1960 – 1969" and "1970 – 1979" etc. At the very bottom, you’ll see "Adoption Laws" for that state. Click on that, and you’ll be shown a page detailing the state’s adoption laws, including the dates and official number/title of each law. [Note: following the list of states, there are also links for over thrity countries.]
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Where can I find additional information and/or contacts concerning each state, if I want to conduct some or all of the research myself?
Follow the basic steps listed in the above question/answer. Just above the "Adoption Laws" for your chosen state, you’ll find "Links" for that state. For example, if you’re researching Colorado, you’ll find "Links for Colorado" just above "Colorado Adoption Laws". Click on that, and you’ll see a page containing a wide variety of helpful links for that state: an index of the state’s cities & towns, newspapers, college libraries, cemeteries, military bases, online genealogy Websites, etc. [Note: you’ll find even more handy research links (that work for all states) right after the list of states, under a link titled "1800-1999 Unknown".]
The above links offer an awful lot of really useful information, but don’t let the large quantity bother you. Just take your time and scan through all the links, to get familiar with the many kinds of resources offered. Explore more closely the links that seem most likely to be helpful to your specific research, and ignore the rest for now. Or explore them all, if you’d like, just to have a good idea of "what’s out there". Work at your own comfortable pace. It really helps if you make notes to yourself about which links seem to be the most useful (and why), and which links you think you probably won’t need anytime soon. (This comes in handy whenever you return later to those pages of resources.) It’s also helpful to do your note-taking right on your computer, since you can easily & accurately copy/paste all names, addresses, phone numbers, Web-links, etc. Of course, if you’d like, you can also add the most useful Web pages to your browser’s list of "Favorites," for prompt future reference.
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What exactly are Search Angels? What services do they offer? What are the rules and etiquette that I should follow when working with Search Angels? How can I help make their efforts as effective as possible?
Search Angels are the G’S Registry volunteers who have experience conducting searches for your loved one(s). Search Angels typically work on a G’S Registry search team, in which they share their expertise and efforts. They often specialize in searches within a particular state or region (typically, the state in which they live, since they can personally visit local libraries, newspaper archives, courthouses, etc.) To help Search Angels do the best possible job for you, please give them all the information you have, with the maximum possible accuracy, right from the very start.
We understand that it’s not easy to be perfect, so we just ask that you try your very best to be complete and accurate, right from Day #1. Because, if you give the Search Angels information just one piece at a time (or with partial/inaccurate details that must later be corrected), they’ll just have to re-do the search again. And again. This often means that they’ll need to go back and re-visit (in person) the courthouses and libraries (etc., etc., etc.), to begin the same search all over again, with the new or corrected information.
In other words, it’s just Common Courtesy and Common Sense. They’re volunteering their personal time to help you, for free – so just do your best to help them help you. Read the search-form instructions; fill out the search-form properly; enter all the information you know, and then double-check it. Take your time, go slowly and carefully. And please inform G’S Registry (and your Search Angels) ASAP if your e-mail address or other contact info changes, so you won’t miss an important call or email.
In short, Search Angels are volunteers who help you though all aspects of the complex process of a search, from start to finish. They may direct you to Web pages or other resources that you may need to explore. When your special person is located, the Search Angels will actually make the first contact for you, if you’d like, or will instruct you on how to do it yourself. Most of these kind and generous people have been "through it all" themselves; they’ve experienced all of the difficult challenges and emotions that you have been feeling, for as long as you have been… and often much longer. They’ve learned from their mistakes, and therefore they can save you tons of time. They already know what you should do – and not do – and how to use your precious time most wisely.
G’S Registry is proud to say that we have about 40 or more "Finds" every month. Thus, the Search Angels at G’S Registry all have lots of experience, and are always learning new tools and methods of helping searchers find who they’re looking for.
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What are the guidelines that govern which state's laws are in effect? For example, a child may be born in one state, adopted by parents in another state, and now (many years later) everybody is living in still other states. How do I know (1) which state's laws govern what kind of contact is permitted, and (2) in which state's (government and non-government) records to conduct my search?
Normally, you’ll be governed by the laws of the state in which the adoption was finalized. But note that life isn’t always that simple, since laws involving multiple states can sometimes appear to overlap or may seem confusing. So gather as much information as possible about the person you wish to find, regarding all the states that may be involved. If there seems to be any conflict of state laws, then contacts can be made to the proper agencies in each state to resolve the issue. Once again, this is where Search Angels enter the picture. The odds are pretty good that we’ll have a Search Angel who has experience dealing with any confusing issue in any state, and he/she can explain the answer for you directly (and even deal with the state agencies for you).
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If the law prohibits an adoption agency from releasing adoption information, wouldn't it be just as illegal to try to obtain that info indirectly from courthouse records, newspaper archives, etc?
No. For example, it may be against the law (or against "company policy") for an adoption agency to casually reveal to strangers the personal information about an adoptee or adoptive family. But it’s perfectly legal for any person to use public records to conduct the most thorough genealogy and "family tree" medical research, which typically uncovers exactly the same data. To our knowledge, no one in the US has been sued for doing so. In other words (to use a fanciful example), it’s not against the law for you to wonder how Air Force fighter-jets work, or to go to the public library and read books about them... even though it’s highly illegal for a Pentagon employee to give you a fighter-jet’s blueprints. Likewise, it’s not against the law for you to pursue research about your own family, online or via libraries or any other public records.
It all boils down to Common Sense and Common Courtesy, and a promise to yourself to always stay within the spirit of the law. All those laws were written with the very best of intentions. The lawmakers want birth-parents and adopted children to be protected from over-eager or harassing contacts. And, that’s certainly fair, because we’re dealing with sensitive, intimate and emotional human issues that can greatly impact innocent individuals and families. The Golden Rule shines brighter here than in most any other area of life.
This is where the Search Angels once again earn their wings. Remember, they work on teams whose members learned long ago that every case is different, and they’ve learned how to handle many different situations. This is important, because there’s no way that you (or anyone) can know the details of your missing loved one’s life at this moment in time. Many children and parents do want to be found (some polls show as high as 90% of them). But many times we find cases where a birth-mother does not want to be found, but the birth-father does, or vice-versa – or one sibling does, but not another. Search Angels work their magic by respecting the law while respecting the people who they may need to contact, and by knowing how to handle pretty much any situation.
Plus, laws can change, if enough people speak up. Even in "closed" states like Minnesota (which grant the least access to adoption records), you can still petition the courts to open all adoption records. The legal reasoning of petitioners makes a lot of sense. It’s simply not fair that some people can obtain their desired information while others cannot – merely because one person was adopted in one state, but somebody else was adopted two miles away across a state border.
That's why we’re trying to change the laws to be consistent everywhere across the US, to get adoption information to be "open" in every state. Plus, aside from our own pursuits (locating loved ones), such changes in the law can also ensure that people won’t accidentally marry birth-brothers or birth-sisters. And such changes would make it easier for people to research their heritage, or inherited medical conditions (which can be a matter of life and death). Of course, such research would happen only after adoptees have turned 18, at which time they are legal adults, and should have the right to know all their own genealogy, heritage, personal history and medical background.
Even if the adoption agency tells G’S Search Angels an adoptive family’s name – like Smith or Jones or Gonzales or Murphy or whatever – there may be half a million people with that last name, all across the US. And the same applies to finding siblings or birth-parents. How can you even begin to identify the exact person(s) I want to find?
Let’s start by making a couple things clear. Every state has different laws on what information adoption agencies can (and cannot) give out. But even the most relaxed laws aren’t likely to let an adoption agency release information to any stranger who walks in off the street. Thus, the actual adoptee or birth-parent (not a Search Angel) is typically required to contact the adoption agency to request information that would identify an adoptive family or birth-parent(s). So – depending on the (1) kind of search you’re doing, (2) the latest laws, and (3) the information you already possess – you may need to be directly involved in this search process.
FYI, most agencies are likely to require that any data-request letter & contact-consent form that you send them be "notarized". That means you need to have rock-solid ID to confirm that you really are the person whose name you are signing on any request-letter and consent-form. This means that you’ll need to (1) haul your paperwork and yourself to a person known as a "notary public," (2) show ID to prove you are who you claim to be, and (3) get your letters/forms stamped. Notary services cost $5 or so, and can be found in the Yellow Pages under "notary public" or "notaries public" (your bank may do it for free). Not to worry, you won’t have to go through that process often (and certainly not when you’re researching public records); only when a private or government agency needs to make sure that they’re not releasing people’s private info to an imposter.
But, aside from all of that, let’s now look at the flip-side: the kinds of info that can usually be much more easily released. In most states, adoption agencies (and other sources) can legally release generic information that does not specifically reveal the actual identity of any members of an adoptive family or birth family. This generic information is called "non-identifying information," which you’ll often see abbreviated as "non-id" or "non-ID" info. And, surprisingly, it can be very helpful in narrowing down your search. (More on this later.)
Non-identifying info regarding birth-parents typically includes their age and medical history at the time of the child's birth; physical description (height, weight, eye-color); heritage (religion, national origin, race); number of other children, and whether they’re adopted. For adoptive parents, non-identifying info includes husband/wife ages at the time of the adoption, their hobbies & interests; number of other children in the adoptive family, and whether those children were adopted. Note that more detailed data is typically collected describing birth-parents. This is because an adopted child may later want or need to know about her/his birth ancestry, race, ethnicity, religious heritage, genetic background, birth-parent’s medical history, and possible inherited medical risks – none of which involve the adoptive parents.
Here’s an example of how specific children or birth-parents can be identified, out of hundreds or thousands of similar names. There are "birth indexes" available that show every child born on a certain date, with the maiden name of the birth-mother, the birth-name of the baby, and so on. This can help because (for example) let’s say you’re looking for a birth-mother with the name Schaefer, and you know the city/state where the birth/adoption took place. There are public archives available that list all the Schafer families in that area, so you can examine them all, eliminating the non-matches until you find the right one. How? Let’s say a birth-mother had six siblings. The state’s public records will show (say) four girls and two boys. Then we examine the census data, to find any families that match (four girls, two boys) – which greatly narrows down the list. Indeed, this method usually has pretty good results.
Search Angels also often use obituaries, which might show (for example) that a birth-mother’s own mother died at age 26; thus, you would next try to find an old obituary that discusses the birth-mother’s mother. This earlier obituary info can lead you to clues that connect to the rest of the family, clear into the present day.
Even "sealed" adoption data can sometimes be derived, via other sources. Search Angels cross-reference identifying & non-identifying info to genealogy files, census data, courthouse archives, obituaries, and many other kinds of public records that can be legally accessed. Then (for example) they may cross-reference their list of "possible matches" with lists of all the people (for any city, state or region) who filed papers to become adoptive families during a particular time-frame. Each clue – seemingly unimportant at first (eye-color, height, profession, hobbies, etc.) – can include and exclude one or more individuals on the search-list. With every passing day, the number of possible matches gets smaller. Until only one person remains. Yours.
Sure, there’s a lot to do; but it’s not "work" if you see it as an adventure instead of a laborious task. It’s kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle: you try dozens (maybe hundreds) of pieces that don’t fit until – Bingo! – one piece falls into place. Then you try another bunch of pieces, and another… until – Bingo again! – you now have two or five or ten pieces connected together… and they’re starting to show a recognizable face.
Perhaps now you can start to see why we make such a big deal out of asking you to supply the Search Angels with all known data, as accurately as humanly possible, right from Day #1. Because otherwise it’s like if you spent two solid months on a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and then somebody tells you, "Ooops, I forgot to mention that a few dozen pieces were missing, so I just tossed in a handful from another puzzle box". You probably wouldn’t feel very angelic.
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Who and what exactly are all the other "adoption registries," online and elsewhere? How many are there? How do they typically work? What do they offer? What can they do, and not do? How do they differ? How can a beginner (like me) tell the really useful registries from all the others? Do any of them charge fees and, if so, what fees are typical?
A "registry" is a place where people register to let the world know that they wish to contact (and be contacted by) a birth-child, birth-sibling(s), and/or birth-parent(s). There’s no way that we can know the exact details of each registry, since (like any organization, online or anywhere) they may come and go (and change their policies) at any time. But the better ones are generally the ones (like G’S Registry) that "keep on keepin’ on," year after year. Because they take themselves (and you) seriously, and because they’re successful. You’ll find many other registries listed on our "Helpful Links" page, and under the "Links" page for each individual state.
In short, registries all have similarities, but may work differently. Some are free, while others have fees. Your best bet is to explore as many as you have time for. Send them an inquiry email; those who don’t even bother to reply can be crossed off your list. Select the ones that appeal to you the most, based on whatever criteria is most important to you (ease of use of their Website, philosophy of the registry staff, free membership vs. paid services, promptness and/or quality of replies to your emails, etc.) In general, the more registries you sign up with, the better your odds of finding your special person. Of course, the more registries you sign up with, the more time you’ll need to spend – learning how each registry works, submitting search-forms (and other details) to each one, sending & receiving emails to various people at each one, etc. So, start with a modest workload that feels comfortable. Then, if you have more time, expand your efforts and join additional registries.
As with all things in life, seek a reasonable balance. Devote enough time to your search to give yourself good odds of success. But, if you take on so much work that you quickly burn out, then nobody wins.
There is one registry, however, that we do highly recommend: the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR), located in Nevada. They’re a clearing-house at which parents and children can file a "consent-form" saying that they do want to be contacted. ISRR’s Web address is http://www.plumsite.com/isrr .
You may wonder why you should send a consent-form to ISRR. Wouldn’t any birth-parents and adopted kids who want contact simply work with the original adoption agency? Why spend time and money to send the same letters & consent-forms to two places?
First, the original adoption agency from 10 or 20 or 30 years ago may no longer be in business. Or, the birth-parent or adopted child may not know or remember the agency's name or address (or state or country). Also, accidents happen, so consent-forms that were filed previously may have been lost or damaged, due to fire or flood or human error. Plus, some adoptions have not involved agencies at all, or were not fully legal, and thus there may be very few (or zero) paper-trails or current-day administrators or store-houses of the adoption’s paperwork and participants. Bottom line, as with anything else in life that's of value, it's better to have one too many than one too few.
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How is G'S Registry and Website different from the others?
G'S Registry is one of the only registries in which you can see the whole search-form, and which has Search Angels to help guide you through the search process. After you’ve filled out your search-form, it’s posted online, and a copy is sent to the appropriate Search Angels, who will evaluate it to find the best ways to do your search. Note that this initial process takes about two or three weeks. That doesn’t mean we’re claiming to be able to find any person in that short a time; that’s just the time it usually takes to do the basic ground-work and get the wheels in motion for any new search.
G’S Registry also has a "message board," and guest book, for everyone. With these, you can meet and exchange email with any number of friendly and helpful people who can help with your search, or just offer you encouragement and moral support – or all of the above. No strings, no pressure, no hassles – just nice people who have been down the same roads as you, and who are hoping and praying for all the best for you. And they likewise cherish any technical and emotional support that you may be able to offer them.
All of the above features help with searches, and with "making it through each day" as you (and perhaps the new friends you may meet) are conducting your searches.
Lastly, G’S Registry is 100% free. Of course, we always gratefully welcome donations – of time, effort, resources, or money – because that’s simply how any volunteer group operates. But you don’t owe us a nickel. Not now, not ever. We’re here to help you find that missing piece in your life.
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I’m still not sure I feel comfortable doing something like this online. Since I’ll be posting my email address on your Website’s registry, I’ll probably wind up on spam email lists, sent by who knows who. Plus, any loony-toon anywhere on Earth can send me email, claiming to be my long-lost birth-daughter or father or cousin, hoping to con me out of money, or trying to pull some other scam, right?
You are absolutely correct. So, let’s look fully at all those issues, head-on.
First, note that we don’t ever publicly post your personal contact-info (home address, phone numbers, etc.) – just an email address. So, we strongly advise that you create a new email address to use only for your adoption search. This can easily be done (with Yahoo, Google and others) totally free and anonymously. And, sure, as with any email account involved in widespread Web surfing, your new email address will probably receive a fair amount of spam. So, just switch on your spam-filter – which is also free with Yahoo, etc.
But let’s digress here, to take a serious look at the bigger picture.
Consider looking at the world in a somewhat different way, just for a moment. We live in a technological age that blesses us with miracles undreamed of a mere generation ago. The greatest and most influential people who have ever lived on Earth would have never remotely imagined the countless dazzling wonders we wade through so casually every day. How many bags of gold – big, big bags of gold – would Solomon have paid to be able to receive full-color email photos of his far-away girlfriend Sheba? What price would Aristotle or Bach suggest for a tiny slab of dried mud that could somehow store 50,000 pieces of music, and play them back with ultra-vivid clarity, in life-like stereo, any hour of any day, totally at their command? What vast fortunes and territories would Caesar or Napoleon have paid to be able to talk to their battlefield commanders on cell-phones? Or to own even the most basic snapshot camera? Or a digital wristwatch that keeps perfect time, day and night, in any weather, anywhere on Earth?
Yet, you have all those things. You.
Historically speaking, all these incredible miracles are all dirt-cheap. But there is a price that we all have to pay to use these wondrous toys. That price is the need to exert "Common Sense" and "Prudence" – every time we use these awesome gadgets. Just like any powerful tool, you always need to read the instructions, and to think twice before you play catch with a chain-saw while you’re drinking a six-pack. Common Sense and Prudence. Cell-phones are great, but you don’t go out to lunch with every wrong number. Email and photo-attachments are an incredibly cool bit of high-tech, but you don’t sign up with every bozo Website that sends you spam promising tons of really eye-popping photos. Common Sense and Prudence.
Thanks to the modern miracle we call "The Web," these days we can do adoption searches online. We can literally "travel" to any state in the US, study countless file-drawers full of important old public records, make copies of them all, scan though tens of thousands of pages to see if they contain our desired names & dates & other info, and then forward every detail to dozens of family & friends all around the planet. In maybe an hour or two, total. For the cost of a cheese-burger. Prior to 1985 or so, the above would have taken a year or two, and cost a hundred grand. For each member of your large research team.
It can’t be said too often. Our modern techie toys are an absolute, off-the-scale, world-class, solid-gold miracle. But they come at a price. Common Sense and Prudence.
Just because you receive emails claiming to be from wealthy bankers in Egypt or Libya, promising to send you a million dollars if you simply send them a $1,000 filing-fee, do you do it? Common Sense and Prudence. Just because you see a flashing pop-up ad swearing that you’re the millionth visitor and you’ll get a free giant plasma TV as soon as you send your charge-card number, do you do it? Common Sense and Prudence. Just because somebody sends an email claiming to be your long-lost great aunt – or claiming to be Elvis, or Napoleon, or Darth Vader, or Bigfoot, or E.T., or Mickey Mouse, or Britney Spears – do you send them your debit-card PIN-number that they asked for? [Okay, everybody – sing it all together now……]
Let’s face it, any new or old technology – or any aspect of life – can be invaded or exploited by con-artists, pick-pockets and pranksters. But only if you let them. Sure, your heart is eager to find your loved one. But don’t be so eager that you switch off your brain. One more time... Common Sense and Prudence.
Now here’s the best news, by far. Prior to 20 years ago, a clever impersonator might have fooled even the best experts. But, these days, our modern technical wizardry can tell us with virtually 100% certainty who is related to whom. So, there’s no need to worry about some jerk trying to pretend to be part of your family. All you need to say to someone is, "Great! Let’s schedule a DNA test this Thursday!" Problem solved. Just use the above simple words to throw a little light on the situation, and any imposter will disappear quicker than a cockroach. Plus, this is once again where your Search Angels come in very handy. They’ve been around the block quite a few times. They can spot a scam, in a heartbeat. Con-artists learned that a long time ago. Which is why we see them so seldom.
Lastly, let’s look at an important spin-off of the above. All the available "facts" of an adoption may seem to match, and somebody who contacts you may sincerely believe that they’re your parent or child or sibling… but, alas, they are not. So, just because someone eagerly agrees to a DNA test, don’t assume that their willingness totally proves anything. Similarly, you yourself may feel certain that you’ve located someone who truly matches all the data. And maybe they are just as eager to connect with you. Still, pause and take a deep breath. And another. And another. Do the DNA test, to be 100% sure. Nobody wins if you’re so eager to find your family that you and someone else spend tons of time & energy & money, only to find out later that you both started celebrating too soon.
There’s just one thing you need to remember.
Common Sense and Prudence.
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What other guidelines and courtesies apply to using G'S Registry?
We’re pretty informal at G’S Registry. The "Golden Rule" goes a long way. Just remember that we have no big-buck staff, no huge grants to finance us. Pretty much everything and everybody is fueled by volunteers, donations and a spirit to connect human beings and human hearts with each other. The most courteous thing you can do is to help us help you.
So, take a couple hours to explore our Website. Especially read the link on the Website called "Top 10 Things To Do To Start Searching". It’s filled with lots of tips that’ll help you "set up shop" to conduct a thorough & successful search.
Here’s a preview, to get you started. Get a loose-leaf notebook, with dividers (especially dividers that have "pouches" that can hold small scraps of paper, and documents that you don’t want to punch holes into). In this notebook you’ll gather & organize all of your paper data, leads, phone numbers, records, correspondence, business cards - everything. This will make your life and your search much easier. Store your notebook in a safe place. If you have only one copy of important one-of-a-kind documents that are hard to replace, photocopy them and store the copies at a separate location (car, office, or a relative’s home) in case the copies in your home are ever lost.
Likewise, create a brand-new email address for this project – one that’s used ONLY for all your email concerning this search. Because, over time, you may be accumulating a lot of search-related email; and you don’t want it to get mixed up (or "lost in the shuffle") with all your other day-to-day email in your regular email-address in-box. There are many places (such as Yahoo) that offer free email addresses, with free spam-blocking and other services, and which work very well. They also offer "folders" which let you organize all your search-related email: one folder for your correspondence with your Search Angels; another folder for email to/from state agencies and adoption agencies; another for new friends you’ve met who are helping with your search, etc.
One last word about spam. Depending on the amount and kinds of Web surfing you do for your search, you may receive anywhere from a modest amount to a large amount of spam. So, at very least, turn on any built-in spam-filters (such as Yahoo’s, which is actually pretty good) and also consider buying fancier spam filters. But remember this. Even the best spam-filters can sometimes get confused and accidentally put a normal or important incoming email into your spam-folder. So, each day quickly scan your spam-folder, just to make sure its contents are all truly spam. If any "real" emails were accidentally mistaken for spam, simply put them into the correct folder, where they belong. And then promptly delete all of that day’s real spam, so you won’t have to sort through it again.
Another helpful page to read on our Website is called "G's Angel Advice" (also located on the list of links at the left side of the G’S Registry Web page). The "G's Angel Advice" page is a bit longer and more detailed than the "Top 10 List" mentioned above – so maybe read the Angel Advice later, if you don’t have a lot of time today. But, please do read it ASAP. It contains a lot of insights & tips from Search Angels, that go far beyond this Introduction. You’ll learn some of the many tangents of the search process, and why we’re so lucky to have our Search Angels. They really understand how to navigate all the subtleties and complexities of a search, and they do so much of that hard work for us. [Thank you again, all you Angels!]
After you’ve read the Angel Advice – or even before – be sure to fill out and post your own search-form, so the Angels can get rolling on your search. But, somewhere along the way, also read the "How to Search the Forms" link on this Website. It will teach you the "nuts and bolts" of how the search-forms are laid out, organized, and filed, so you’ll be able to speed things up by participating in your own search.
As before, take your time with all of this, and let it evolve comfortably in your life. And always be optimistic. Many other people like yourself have been successful. Don’t think of this search as a big or complex chore, but rather as something that will be pleasant, exciting, enjoyable and rewarding. Sure, it may involve lots of work, just as if you were climbing Mount Everest. But the view from the top is out of this world. Best of all, you have a team of Angels to help you ascend, every step of the way. They’re looking forward to standing on that beautiful sky-high peak too – just as much as you are.
Of course, the more you organize and plan you efforts, step by step, the easier it’ll be – and the better the odds for getting the best possible results, with the minimum time and effort. So, begin today, even if all you do is merely add the words "3-ring notebook" and "new email address" to your personal "To Do" list.
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What are other "basics" that a total beginner like me should know, that I may not even know enough to ask about?
Not to worry, you’re already doing great! If you’ve read this far, you’re already light-years ahead of where you were a half-hour ago, right? After you’ve read the "Top 10" and "G's Search Angel Advice" pages mentioned above, go through the entire list of links on the left side of the G’S Registry Web page. Explore them all, one at a time, at your own pace. Some of them will discuss things we’ve covered in this Tutorial, in more detail. Some may contain info that you may not quite understand right now; if so, then just quickly scan those links for now, and move on – you can re-visit them another day. Before long, you’ll reach the bottom of the list, where you’ll find the first of the links covering the 50 US states, plus over thrity foreign countries. Explore the links and laws that cover the state(s) or country that’s appropriate for the person you want to find.
Carefully read the G’S Registry search-form instructions, and fill out the search-form – as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Then submit the form, ASAP, so it can be evaluated by the Search Angels. Remember, the initial evaluation & set-up process may take two or three weeks, so the sooner you begin, the sooner the wheels start turning.
We offer lots of help at G’S Registry. We humbly invite you to use it. Seeing you succeed is what gives us the energy to continue; all we ask is that you help us help you.
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This all sounds great, but I’m still not 100% sure if I should go ahead with this search. There are so many memories and emotions involved, for so many people. I have no idea of where all this may lead. And now my brain is overflowing with all the new info I’ve read here. How can I tell if I’m doing the right thing?
Well, for starters, you’ll never hear a true answer in your brain, only in your heart.
More importantly, please don’t feel any sense of weakness or doubt about yourself, but rather give yourself a warm and solid pat on the back for having the compassion and maturity to ask the above question. And always remember that you are not alone. Many a child, parent and sibling have lived with the fear that is born of having no idea of what they may find in the heart and mind of a long-lost loved one.
If you decide to proceed with this adoption search, just try to always give "the benefit of the doubt" to any and every "stranger" whose life may soon cross paths with yours.
Always remember that babies often result from pregnancies that occurred amid the most unpleasant or traumatic times and situations in a mother’s life. This can include pregnancies that happen against a mother’s wishes, or against her will. Other factors may include incest, abuse, threats, neglect, drugs, physical illness, mental illness, life traumas, trouble with the law, failing relationships, family difficulties, unemployment, money problems, heavy debts, evictions, homelessness, alcohol abuse, heartbreak, and just plain bad luck. Sometimes all of the above. And birth-fathers are also often caught up in equally difficult and maddening times in their life, when they’re suddenly faced with impossible and gut-wrenching permanent decisions involving their own flesh and blood.
Parents who were forced to "give up" one or more children have lived each day with that decision, for a very long time. Their birth-children may have spent a lifetime feeling that they were merely "discarded" out of convenience, and may feel mountains of unresolved resentment. Or a child may not even know that he or she was adopted, and might be stunned or distressed to discover the news. Or maybe the total opposite. Birth-parents may still be living together, or may have totally gone their separate ways before the child was born, even before conception occurred. A birth-mother or birth-father may now be married to someone else – happily or otherwise – and their new spouse may have no knowledge of a child from long ago. The news may not bother the new spouse at all; or it might be quite disturbing. Or, someone may still be far from certain if he is truly the birth-father that he was told he was, decades ago. And the birth-mother may not even be sure.
Indeed, a birth-father may have never been told that he fathered a child. Many other birth-fathers were told only after their child had been forever placed into an unknown home, and they would have never consented if they were told sooner. Many fathers were off fighting wars, and never had the slightest chance of knowing or being part of any decisions. Thus, many an adopted child has been conditioned to minimize the importance of their flesh-and-blood father, thinking that only a birth-mother is deserving of contact... as though a full one-half of their human heritage, cultural ancestry and biological blueprints are just forgotten day-dreams.
And, beyond that, what of the father’s other children? They are fully worthy half-sisters and half-brothers of an adoptee, who may want to explore and enjoy the fullness of their natural family. That alone can make the whole journey worthwhile: to join together two separate groups of kin into a larger extended family, each growing stronger while growing closer. At first, some people see these two groups as almost total opposites, but that simply is not so. They are linked more – by personal history, by common experience, by blood – than with any of the other seven billion humans on Earth.
Maybe you’ve wondered a lot why your loved one hasn’t tried finding you before now. First of all, you don’t truly know for certain if they tried. Not all letters that are mailed get delivered; not all phone calls get stored on answering machines; not all emails arrive. And, remember too that some people – throughout their entire lives – have had a time-table in the back of their mind, regarding when and how they would try to contact a birth-parent or child.
For example, a child may have been intensely curious for many years, but may have decided to make no attempt at contacting either birth-parent while either adoptive parent was still living… to spare any parent a perceived discomfort or awkwardness. Or maybe a child felt awkward or confused about how to relate to three or four parents, all at once. Likewise, a parent – equally desirous to make contact – may have willfully put it off, year after year, wondering if their child even knows they were adopted… and wanting their child to be a mature adult for a decade or two, before being contacted… to spare any awkward surprises to anyone. You can just never know why you haven’t heard from someone.
So you simply must let go of all the little melodramas you may have nurtured in your mind all of these years. All you can do is follow your own heart; have the most pure of intentions; be prepared to accept and forgive as much as is needed; and hope and pray for the best. The fact is, none of us have any idea how much longer we have on Earth, or of the health or mobility we may (or may not) enjoy in our remaining days. Today might be our very last chance to do most – or all – of the things we’ve been putting off.
If you’re the birth-child, consider how lucky your parents are to have made it to the age they are today, in this crazy world. Next year may be too late. If you’re the birth-parent – and your child is old enough to vote or go to war – they’re probably mature enough to handle hearing from you.
If you’re an adoptive parent, there’s an unknown full 50% of your adopted child’s medical genetic inheritance – and that of their own children, your grandchildren – that none of you know… but which may be of crucial important to you all. If the birth-parents are no longer living by the time someone finally tries contacting them, obtaining crucial medical information will suddenly become much more difficult.
"But, what if I try to make contact, and nobody wants to hear from me?" you may say… "I couldn’t handle that rejection!" Consider this: it’s not a "rejection," just a "reaction". The only place that "rejection" can truly exist is in your own brain. And, only if you let it. There are over seven billion human beings on Earth, each living in their own separate world. You and I can barely make sense of our own little world; how can we even begin to come within a thousand light-years of understanding somebody else’s world, or feelings? It’s pointless to try. Truly.
Indeed, sad to say, some people – through no fault of their own – simply find themselves feeling little or no emotion or concern about long-ago family ties. It’s unlikely that you’ll run into that, but you need to be prepared for anything – including that. Just remember that many children and parents who at first are resistant to being contacted will change their mind later. An old saying teaches, "Time heals all wounds". But time can flow very differently for various individuals.
Here are three things we do know about time.
First, let’s take the easy scenario: the person you’re seeking is delighted to hear from you. If so, now is the time to contact them, so you can get started right now enjoying each other.
Okay, how about the second situation, where the person you contact is not hostile, but not very warm either? Well, if you make contact sooner vs. later, at least you know they’re alive, and you'll know a little bit about their life (to plug into your own mental family tree). Plus, whatever period of time they may need – for healing, adjustment, growing up, or whatever – begins right now. So, the wheels are in motion, and you’re years ahead of the game, starting right from today.
Lastly, here’s the 3rd scenario, the one we all hate to think about: the person you’re seeking acts like they’re definitely not interested in ever hearing from you – not now, not ever.
Good news. That’s the easiest one of all. Every so often in our lives, we all need to grow up and realize that sometimes life can be tough. Caca happens. We live in a world where 40,000 kids die each day from starvation and related diseases. Each day. If you’ve lived past the age of five, and you’ve had at least one full meal in the past week, you’re one of the very lucky ones in this world. If it turns out that you won't be able to meet or get to know your special person, be proud of yourself for at least trying. You will always know that you did the right thing. If it hurts to think that your special person may seem to coldly or angrily reject you, that just proves that you’re human – welcome to the club.
And, if it does turn out that the person you contact is truly that hostile, that resentful, that uninterested in knowing you, then count your blessings. Because you've been spared from spending any more time on someone who was simply never meant to be part of your life. As much as that may at first fill you with bitter feelings of "Why me?!", remember that it has absolutely nothing to do with you. Truly. That other person knows absolutely nothing about you. And you have no way of knowing of all the past pain, difficulties or chaos that led to their current feelings... or their lack of feelings. One more time, please remember that you have not been harshly judged or abandoned; you've merely been a momentary witness to someone else's life, which was simply never meant to cross paths with your own life. It’s just the hand that you were dealt on Earth, which is still a lot better than the tens of thousands of parents and children around this planet who will die in each others' arms before the sun sets tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.
Plus, unlike them, you still have the future, another tomorrow, another chance each day. And that alone is a miracle beyond measure. Because, even if a loved one seems cold or distant today, they may just need the warmth of a few more sunrises to reach the point – after all these many years – at which you already stand right now. You can know only what’s been going on in your life and mind and heart and soul for all these years. Not theirs.
Perhaps the old Native American wisdom says it all: "Great Spirit, let me never judge another man or woman if I have not walked 100 miles in their moccasins." If you look at life in the right way, you will always have two things to comfort you: the hope that your special person might some day change their mind, and the peace of understanding if they do not.
Wherever you stand along this difficult & challenging spectrum, try your best to always remember that everyone deserves understanding, compassion and forgiveness, just as you do. Again. And again. And again. If you really don’t feel you can offer that right now – completely and unconditionally – then maybe consider postponing your search until you can. After all, if "love is forever," then another week or month is an eye-blink. But don’t wait for it to happen magically. You are the only person on Earth who can choose for it to happen. And, if you believe you'll be able to make that choice a month or a year from now, then you are already capable of making that choice today. If you decide to.
So, take a deep breath, forget any troublesome echoes from the past, and step into the new sunrise. If you’re like most people, it will be easier than you think to re-connect with your kin, truly and meaningfully, sooner or later. And probably sooner. Just always remember a very simple phrase, that can be spelled in two ways: "Love is forgiving" and "Love is for giving".
Special Thanks To: ((Frank old' Frankster))
God Bless, and Good Luck,
GS Adoption Registry GS Adoption Registry
1150 North River Drive Mankato, MN 56003
Cell 775-750-8333 24 / 7 if you get voice mail do not leave message call me back.
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