Finding Birth Families

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Finding Birth Families

By Libby Feil

Every year, many adopted children decide to search for their birth parents. Whether you're a teenager or a senior citizen, it might be possible for you to find members of your birth family or at least learn more about them.

If you don't already know who your birth parents were, you can try to find out more information from the state in which you were adopted. To find out what information you can obtain, visit a site such as and look at their summaries of adoption law by state. A good summary of the Indiana state laws governing access to adoption information can be found there. The Indiana State Department of Health website also has an adoption-related page with official information on obtaining identifying information on your birth family.

So what happens in the event you can't get identifying information? Whether you know anything about your birth family or not, you can still register with an adoption registry. The largest, most respected, and most recommended adoption reunion registry is the International Soundex Reunion Registry. This site is completely FREE. To learn more about how to register and how it works, read their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

What next? The St. Joseph County Public Library has several books that can help you figure out how to get more identifying information about your birth family. Check out some of these titles:

Adoptionreunionsurvival.gif Familymatters.gif Searchhandbook.gif Searchingpiece.gif

1. The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide: Preparing Yourself for the Search, Reunion, and Beyond, by Julie Jarrell Bailey & Lynn N. Giddens
2. Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption, by E. Wayne Carp
3. Search: A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents, by Jane Askin
4. Searching for a Piece of My Soul, by Tammy L. King
5. Missing Pieces: How to Find Birth Parents and Adopted Children, a Search and Reunion Guidebook, by Paul Drake and Beth Sherrill

Once you have found some identifying information about your birth parents, then your search will be quite like anyone else's family history search. Come into Local & Family History Services to find out more about how to begin, or read our guide on the subject online.

If you were adopted in St. Joseph County, here are a few more titles to help you:

1. Adoption Surnames Abstracted from St. Joseph County, Indiana Court Records, by the South Bend Area Genealogical Society (SBAGS)
2. Adoptions in St. Joseph County, Indiana to the Year 1941, Grouped in Alphabetical Order Under the Adoptive Names, by the South Bend Area Genealogical Society (SBAGS)
3. Index to St. Joseph County, Indiana Adoption Records, ca. 1900-1941, by the South Bend Area Genealogical Society (SBAGS)

Back to the Genealogy page

Contact and find out more about Local & Family History Services
Created by: Libby Feil, May 2007
Last updated by: Libby Feil, April 18, 2009

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