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How Would I Find a Birth Mother With No Name?

by Cheryl Hosmer

An adoptee without access to the mother's birth name is not without recourse to find her. Each state has its own statutes regarding identifying and nonidentifying information that may be released to aid in adoption searches. Thirty states have mutual consent registries where those involved in the adoption can list whether they would be willing or not to release identifying information such as name, address and employment. Adoptees searching without a name may find nonidentifying information, such as where and when the adoptee was born, the birth parent age, physical description, occupation, medical history, cultural factors, reason for adoption and whether siblings exist or not. Take the information, reach for a backdoor search solution and you may find your elusive birth mother.

Gather any information available to you, including hearsay. Separate out the identifying, nonidentifying information and hearsay. Make a list of each. If you have access to your adoption file, it should contain your original birth certificate, adoption petition, and adoptive parent home study, interviews, biographical information about your birth parents, consent forms and final adoption decree. If your file is closed, petition the court to open it.

Check state statutes online regarding what information can or cannot be released. Some information may be available online, but each state will list its contact information and resources. Check state mutual consent registries.

Contact the hospital where you were born, lawyer, advocate or adoption agency, as well as online companies such as The International Soundex Reunion Registry, a "next-of-kin" matching service, genealogy resources like RootsWeb and newspapers. Put together your available information like a jigsaw puzzle. See what is missing, then hone in on that information. Don't discount word-of-mouth communication and don't be afraid to put out "feelers" in the community where you were born to see who bites.

Check the Social Security Death Index for deceased birth mothers or relatives. The database includes first name, last name, Social Security number, date of death, date of birth, last known residence, and location of last Social Security benefit and its issued date and location. If you have any of this information, you may be able to make educated guesses to hone in on information leading to your birth mother's name.

Utilize a third-party investigation if necessary. This includes lawyers, private investigators and researchers.

About the Author

Cheryl Hosmer teaches online courses in writing and community journalism. She has written for various newspapers since 1983. She teamed up with author Marshall Terrill in 2001 as an editor of celebrity biographies. Hosmer holds a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from Madonna University. Her educational emphasis was poverty studies and journalism.

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