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There are approximately 18000 parents registered with CARA, while the number of children in the Government's adoption pool is less 1800.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Searching for birth relatives (Part 5)

International Searching

People who were adopted from outside the United States (through inter-country adoptions) face unique challenges in locating birth parents. Each country has its own laws governing information access. In addition, there is great variation in record-keeping practices across countries and cultures, and in many cases, searchers will find that no information was ever recorded, that records were misplaced, or that cultural practices placed little emphasis on accurate record-keeping. However, in a very few cases, it may actually be easier to gain access to an original birth certificate in a foreign country than in the United States, since some countries do not seal their vital records.

The child-placing agency is the best beginning point for an international search. The U.S. agency should be able to share the name and location of the agency or orphanage abroad and, perhaps, the names of caregivers, attorneys, or others involved in the placement or adoption. The agency, or its counterpart abroad, may be able to provide specific information on names, dates, and places. They also may be able to offer some medical history, biographical information on parents, and circumstances regarding the adoption.

Some other resources for international searchers include the following:
Adopted persons seeking documents (such as a birth certificate) that the U.S. or foreign child-placing agency is not able to provide may want to apply to government agencies in the birth country. Mailing addresses of offices of vital records in foreign countries can be found on the U.S. State Department website.

Searchers adopted from another country can contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to receive copies of their immigration records.
An international agency that may offer help is International Social Services, which provides a broad range of social work services, including helping adopted persons find birth families abroad. Their U.S. branch has a website at

Support groups for adopted persons from particular countries may be able to offer help and information on searching. Countries that have placed a large number of children with families in the United States, such as Korea, have support groups and organizations with websites and search information. (See the Resource List at the end of this factsheet.)
In general, searching overseas is more difficult than searching in the United States. In cases in which the search for the birth parent is unsuccessful, some adopted persons may derive some satisfaction from visiting their birth country and experiencing their birth culture. Many agencies and support groups have begun to organize homeland tours for adopted persons and adoptive families. These tours generally provide an introduction to the country and culture. Visiting the birth country for the first time as part of such a group may provide searchers with some emotional security, because the people in the tour group are often looking for answers to similar questions. (The National Adoption Directory lists groups that offer homeland tours.)

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