Searching for Birth Relatives
FACTSHEET FOR FAMILIES
Methods for searching for birth relatives or an adopted child have changed dramatically in recent years. Previously, many adoptions were closed, meaning no contact occurred between the birth and adoptive families, and no identifying information was made available to the adoptive family or the person who was adopted. A social shift in the 1980s and 1990s toward open adoptions led to various levels of connection between the adoption triad (adoptee, birth parents, and adoptive parents), as well as extended family members and other important connections—sometimes called the adoption constellation. Today, adoption exists along a continuum from shared information to regular contact between the child and the birth parents or other family members.