# 1 Get organized: Get a 3 ring binder or at least a folder or notebook to keep all your records and notes in. In this folder you should keep all information you already have (i.e, birth cert, non-identifying information...whatever) Any time ANY information is sent to you, it should go into your folder.
# 2 Document: Keep notes in your binder / folder of all the registries you have used or may use. Keep track of the web page addresses you are on so you can change your information Keep a record of e-mail addresses for search angels, web pages etc. • Keep a notebook and use it as a documenting journal... • Always write down what day you send for information, names...basic contact information, including phone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail address, etc, this also helps just in case your computer has problems. Keep this in your binder / folder.
#3 You might want to consider DNA testing.
• Check out all the sites for possible sales as they can drop the price lower than $99.00; some of them give discounts if you buy other tests (such as getting your children tested) at the same time you order yours.Here are 3 companies who do this test, each is a bit different to work with. Prices are about $99.00 at each site but some do have sales at times or discounts.(www.ancestrydna.com&www.23andme.com &www.familytreedna.com)
There is all kinds of information as to what test to use first, where those results can be transferred for free or a lower cost than buying another test, etc. It also shares how to use the results you get to find birth family.
We recommend to adoptees that they do the autosomal DNA test with all three major testing companies (Ancestry, FTDNA and 23andMe). Start with Ancestry as they now have over 6 million customers tested. Fishing in all three DNA company ponds gives those searching the best chance for receiving a closer match with a biological relative.
If male, they should also do the Y-DNA 37 marker test with FTDNA as it sometimes leads to the identity of the paternal surname.
Most birth fathers in adoptions are not on any birth certificates or records of adoption or if one is listed many times it is not the real birth father so DNA testing is the best way to find a birth father
#4 Get a dedicated email address ONLY for your search use: • Use this email only for your registry / search purposes. • A Yahoo or G-mail e-mails works best for searching, and they are free. www.yahoo.com & www.google.com • Get a STRONG spam blocker. You will receive alot of Spam from search engines, guest books, message boards - you name it. • Be sure to add all Search Angels e-mails and ours to your friends / "not junk"list. See our search angels page and get the addresses to add to your friends • CHECK YOUR EMAIL.
# 5 Get on as many registries as you can: • Add them to your note book so you can easily keep them up to date. • Again, You should have a dedicated e-mail address! • Try to join a "group or groups", that specializes in searches for the state you are searching in or that is specific to the agency that handled the adoption. So often you really need to hook up with people that really know the ins and outs of certain locations / locals. • Check message boards, and leave messages.
#6 Try to get as much info from the state and county as you can. Send for your non identifying info from the State and County agencies that handled the adoption. Your best odds is with the County the adoption was finalized in.
Adoptees non-identifying information consists of: • Age of the birthparents at time of child's birth. • Heritage of birthparents, which includes national origin and race. • Medical history of family members given at time of adoption. • Number of years completed in school. • Hobbies, interests, and occupation if birthparents were working. • Physical description of the birthparents at the time child was adopted, height, weight, and color of hair, eyes, and skin. • Other children of the birthparents, if applicable. It will normally tell if the older children were adopted out as well, or lived with grandparents, or were with birthparents. • Religion of birthparents. • Information relating to whether or not each birthparent was alive at time of child's birth, and if birthfather or birth mother was in the military. • It will normally mention reasons child was placed for adoption by the birthparents.
Adoptive family non-identifying information consists of: • Information concerning the adoptive parents ages • Occupation, hobbies and interests of adoptive parents • Other children of the adoptive parents and whether or not they were natural children or also adopted.
Not all states offer everyone non identifying information. Some are very complete, while others may not be.
#7 It is very important to make sure names are spelled correctly: Make sure that the names are spelled correctly on the form. We want to make sure the Search Angels are not wasting their time looking for the wrong name or names.
#8 Place a "consent to contact" notice your adoption files: Be sure to place a "consent to contact" notice with the agency and the court the adoption was finalized with. Be sure to keep these up to date. You can do this by contacting the adoption agency and they will advise how to leave information. Have a letter with your phone number, email and address and have it copied so that you can send or give one to the state and county the adoption was finalized in. Ask your contacts at these places who else they would recommend you send the letter to. This way if someone is looking for YOU they can find you right away. If you move or change the information in your original letter- SEND NEW ONES!! This is good information to have in your binder... who you sent these letters to originally!
#9 Talk to your adoptive parents about your search: It helps if they are included and they just might remember something important about the birth family or adoption that will help. I am also a firm believer that the person searching needs a good support system. (Which you will obtain very easily from the wonderful people on this web site!!)
#10 Journal and Read" For some it is helpful to journal about the process. It is a journey. There will be up's and downs. Here are some suggested books that may help your search and the processes. • Primal Wound • Birthright • The Girls Who Went Away • The Hidden History Of Women Who Surrendered Children For Adoption • In The Decades Before Roe V. Wade by Ann Fessler
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