Birth Family Search

Birth Family Search

Birth parents and adoptees may search for each other after the adoptee reaches the age of 18.  Because Holt’s headquarters are in Oregon, the state laws of Oregon govern all post-adoption services, such as birth search and file copies. Oregon Statutes 109.425 and 109.455 require an adoptee to be 18 or older to initiate a search, and they have to initiate the search themselves.

Our partner agencies in India are happy to hear from adoptees and adoptive families, and are willing to forward letters and photos to foster parents or other caregivers from the adoptee’s past. However, due to the current climate surrounding relinquishments in India, especially in cases of an unwed mother, these agencies typically will not conduct a search for birth parents, nor will they release any identifying information. Although some of the stigmas against unwed mothers are changing, contact from an adoption agency could have serious repercussions for the birth mother. If you would like to discuss this further, we would be happy to talk with you.

DSC_0830If you and your child decide to search on your own, there are a number of things to consider before you do so.

  • Is this truly in the best interests of my child?
  • Is my child mature enough to understand that birth parents may not be found, or may not want to have contact?
  • Is this important to my child or me?
  • Do I, and my child, understand that this could cause serious personal or social repercussions for the birth family?
  • How can I support my child during and after the search?
  • Will a reunion with birth parents change my relationship with my child?

Please be very careful when working with an independent search service or individual. Because there is typically no paper trail to connect a particular child to birth parent, it’s unclear as to how many of these “successful reunions” are entirely accurate without a DNA test.

If you would like to discuss your child’s background with a Holt staff person, we must first confirm that your adoption was indeed facilitated by Holt International. Once this has been verified you’ll receive an email with additional information.


How to support your adult child during their search

Regardless of the outcome of your adult child’s search for birth family, this can be a difficult time for both adoptee and parent. Please remember that a strong support system is important for you as well as the adoptee.

Supporting your Adopted Child’s Search– article from

Searching for a Past: Why Adopted Children Seek Their Roots and How Parents Can Respond. (Chapter 13 in The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family.)
Schooler, Jayne E. Atwood, Thomas.
Reasons why adopted children search for their biological parents are discussed. Possible outcomes as a result of the search are explored, and strategies that parents can use to respond to the need to search are discussed.

Articles from real life people and their experiences – Adoption Birthmothers

Articles on search – PACT resources

Synchronicity: The Sparks of Reunion By LaVonne Stiffler

Two Stories of Reunion – A Review by Susan Ito

Once They Hear My Name; Korean Adoptees and Their Journey, by Marilyn Lammert, Ellen Lee and Mary Anne Hess. Reviewed by Lynne Connor

What Every Adoptive Parent Should Know About Search And Reunion by Michael P Grand, PHD and Monica Bryne

What every adoptive parent should know about search and reunion- Dos and Don’t by Michael Grand, PhD, C. Psych

Adoptive parents and adoption reunions – Adoption Diaries