Searching for My Birth Parents
We understand that searching for your birthparents can be an emotional experience. The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center has a deep knowledge of the social, ethical and legal aspects of adoption, and equally importantly, we understand the emotional issues faced by each person involved in an adoption.
We offer excellent research, as well as guidance and support during all phases of locating your birthparents. If you decide you want contact-which can include anything from correspondence exchanged through The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh to the possibility of a reunion-we will help everyone get ready for the communication.
Available Birthparent Services:
- Birth history information that does not reveal the birthparents’ names, but that may contain social and medical facts important to the adoptee
- Help and support to individuals who want contact with their birthparents
- Assistance to birthparents who want to be available to the children they placed for adoption
- Counseling, support, and education throughout the research and/or reunion process
Who can start a search for birthparents?
Any adopted person age 18 or over, or the adoptive parents of a younger adoptee
How does a search begin?
Court records pertaining to adoption are, by law, kept confidential. However, the law also makes it possible to search for birthparent information.
Step 1: File a “petition for information” with the county court where the adoption was finalized (which is where the adoption records are held). Filing the petition is a simple process. If you choose, The Children’s Home can help you start this process.
Step 2: When the court approves the petition, the search process can begin. By law, an adopted person cannot perform the search. The court will appoint an intermediary – an agent licensed by the State’s Department of Public Welfare – to facilitate the search.
Step 3: The intermediary reviews the adoption records. Sometimes the intermediary will also examine other available public records (such as the original court documents and court records).
Step 4: The adopted individual works with the intermediary to get information that the adopted individual wants, and, if the adopted individual chooses to do so and the situation permits, contact one or both birthparents.
Can I suspend a search?
As an adopted individual you can suspend a search for your birthparents at any time.
Adopted through The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh?
Our research and reunion coordinator can provide you with your birth history that does not include birthparent’s names from our records. This process does not require court involvement.
What happens when birthparents are found?
At The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh, we know from experience that, in general, a tactful letter from our research and reunion coordinator to the birthparents is the most productive approach. Birthparent responses vary, and our coordinator can assess the responses in light of what the adoptee wishes to accomplish.
If the adoptee wants contact – which can include anything from correspondence exchanged through The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh to a reunion – and the birthparents agrees, the coordinator and counselors can offer guidance about integrating. Whatever the level of contact is to be, it represents a new chapter in the lives of the people involved, and our coordinator can offer guidance about integrating the new relationship into existing ones.
If birthparents don’t want contact, or even don’t want their identities revealed, their request for privacy will be respected by the courts and our coordinator.
What about birthparents wishing to find the children they placed through a closed adoption?
The law does not provide for searches initiated by birthparents, but The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh can advise birthparents about things they can do that might improve the chances of reconnecting with the children they placed for adoption.
What do research and reunion services cost?
Fees for research and reunion work by The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh are based on the services requested. Fees range from $200-$400, but non-identifying, medical information is available for free.