Being adopted affects people in many, many different ways. Many adopted children and adults believe that the people who have raised them are their true parents, although they have other birth parents. Despite the security and bonds with their adopted family, questions might still arise about the birth parents.
Updated Family Medical Questions:
Knowing the medical history of the birth mother and father, and that of the birth grandparents, can help the adopted person prepare or take precautions for any diseases or disorders that might be hereditary. In many cases, questions about medical history are what lead adoptees to begin searching for their birth parents.
Tip: Some states and counties will allow the adopted child to research any data the birth parents might have provided about family medical history. If no updated information exists, sometimes the adopted child can request the state attempt to contact the birth parents to receive updated family medical history.
Searching for birth parents might seem daunting to an adoptee without much information about the adoption, so it helps to start small. Gathering any data readily available, however little it may seem, is one way to start. In some cases, that might be nothing more than the date of birth. If so, it’s likely time to talk to the adoptive parents. This can be an emotional topic to bring up; however, they may be able to fill in some, or many, of the blanks that remain. They may even have a copy of the initial birth certificate, as well as the amended version.
Initial versus Amended Birth Certificate:
The initial birth certificate is issued with the information provided by the hospital at the time of a birth, and can provide clues as to the identity of the birth parents. The amended birth certificate is a legal version that’s been updated to name the adoptive parents as the official parents. If the adoptive parents do not have a copy of the initial birth certificate, don’t become discouraged.
Considerations for Adoptive Birth Certificates:
Most birth certificates will include the date of birth, sex of the child, name, location, and parent names. Sometimes, a birth certificate might include parents’ addresses, parents’ race, and the occupation of the parents. When the adoptive parents don’t have a copy of the initial birth certificate, there are several options available. Contacting the Vital Records Office in the state the birth took place in is one way to go. Keep in mind, accessing the initial birth certificate with the birth parents’ names might not be possible, though you will be able to obtain the amended version.
Requesting Contact with a Birth Parent:
This option varies by state. Some states will allow the adopted child or the birth parent request to be reunited. The state would coordinate such an attempt and information would only be disclosed if both parties agree. Check your state and the vital record agency that holds your birth certificate for more information.
Researching the Birth Family via Public Records:
If you suspect that a member of your birth family has passed away, you may want to try locating their death certificate for your files. The death certificate could include valuable information that would help you further your search, such as place of birth, marital status and number of children, as well as the cause of death. Public access to death certificates vary from state to state because of entitlement requirements. Some states allow anyone to order a death certificate, while others will only release the vital record to a family member. More information on who can order a certified death certificate online is available when you start the death certificate ordering process at the state level.