November is National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month
has been promoted and celebrated every November for over two decades. Adoptees face difficulties when they try to do genealogy research on their biological family. Fortunately, there is some advice that might help.

President Ronald Regan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week in 1984. In 1995, President Bill Clinton expanded the awareness week to the entire month of November. In 1998, President Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand the use of the internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care.

Ancestral Findings has some good advice for those seeking their adoption records. The first thing to find out is if your state is an open or closed adoption records state.

An open adoption records state will allow adoptees to request their original birth certificate and any records pertaining to their adoption. Some open states will allow this after the adoptee reaches age 18. Others will open the records after a certain number of years have passed. A closed adoption records state will keep adoption records private and require adoptees to get a court order to open them.

FindMyPast has advice for adoptees whose parents were British or Irish. You can request non-identifying information from the agency or court supportive services. You can check for orphanage records.

Ask for baptismal information (in cases of Roman Catholic adoptions). Ask churches to see sacramental records. Those records might have identifying information about birth family members. If your birth mother lived at a maternity home, you can check for records there. Ask the hospital for personal medical information. advises that adoptees might need to seek out professional help in order to find their birth certificate (or biological parents). They suggest you contact the Association of Professional Genealogists or the American Adoption Congress.

The FamilySearch Wiki has a lot of links to organizations that help adoptees to locate their birth parents. They also have links to Adoption Records from the Child Welfare Information Gateway for every state (for a summary of state laws regarding adoption).

Related Articles at

* Adopted Man Finds Long Lost Family

* New Jersey Law Makes Finding Records Easier for Adoptees

* Adoptee Finds Mother With Use of Social Media

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