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Now we have a new legislation called "Juvenile & Justice Act, 2015" replacing the JJ Act of 2000. In this new act, adoption has assumed a significant importance with an exclusive chapter. Subscribe and follow this blog for more information in the days to come.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Searching for birth relatives (Part 4)

Hiring a Professional Searcher

Adopted persons or birth parents searching for birth relatives have the option of hiring a professional searcher. In some cases, it may be useful to hire a professional searcher if specific information needs to be located in another State. For instance, a professional searcher may be able to search courthouse or church records in a faraway locality. This limited professional help may be enough to allow the adopted person or birth parent to continue his or her own search.

Individuals who choose to hire a professional searcher should research the reputation of the searcher or company. There are some searchers who have a certification from Independent Search Consultants, a nonprofit organization that trains in adoption searching. Other searchers may be licensed as private investigators by a particular locality. Individuals should ask whether private investigators have specific adoption search experience before making a decision to hire them. Other professional searchers may be experts in a particular locality or a particular field but may not have a certification. Before hiring anyone, it is crucial to call references and to check with the Better Business Bureau. In addition, support groups can be a ready source of information about professional searchers.

In some cases, a court or agency may refuse to open sealed records or provide full information in response to a petition or request; however, the court or agency may appoint a professional searcher. In such cases, this professional searcher serves as an intermediary whose job is to locate and contact the birth parents (or birth child) and to find out whether they want to have their name and address revealed and whether they want to resume contact. The professional is given access to sealed records, but the petitioner (who generally receives no access to records) pays the fee of the professional searcher. If nothing is found, or if the found person refuses to release information or agree to contact, there is generally no recourse (except that the adopted person or birth parent can continue to search on his or her own).

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