Happy Thanksgiving

I pray that all the adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive families have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving today.

If you are still searching, hang in there. Keep going. Persevere. Your day will come when you will be reunited with your birth families.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Move

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Special Chosen One:

“The possibility crossed my mind that maybe we were moving to get farther away from my birth mother.

Before we packed up and left, I searched for clues:

Instead of praying with my head bowed in church, I opened my eyes, raised them just enough to look around, spied on people to see if another woman looked at me—then I’d know she was my birth mother.

Standing around the corner of our kitchen, I eavesdropped when my mom talked on the phone—a whispered voice served as a sign she’s talking to my birth mother.

Riding in the car, if my mom slowed down as we passed a woman on the sidewalk, I promptly noted her physical features, because if she was short, with dark hair and dark eyes like me, and if she even slightly appeared like she was gifted with a high IQ, then she’s definitely my birth mother.”

Book Cover FRONT - JPEG

To Prison With Love for Adoption Reunions

Twenty years ago today one of our own went to prison for the “crime” of reuniting adoptees and birth families.  Sandy Musser is considered to be the civil rights pioneer for the adoptive rights movement. We should have been celebrating her efforts for reconnecting families.  But instead the government used their flagrant abuse of power, laced with lies, to carry out an indecent indictment.

Let us never forget those who have suffered in their efforts to bring reform to the discrimination of adoptees by sealing their birth records forever.

Read more about Sandy Musser on her web page  www.sandymusser.com

The Special Chosen One – Adoptee Reunited

An Adopted Woman’s Journey Back to Her Roots

Watch the trailer video of my memoir

TO BE PUBLISHED next month November 2013


An Adoptee Reunited with Birth Family


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Public Records in Searching – Part 6


Church registries are bound ledgers or file card systems containing information documenting that individuals have received specific sacred rites – marriage, baptism, confirmation, etc. Sacraments are often given in order. Evidence of one may be required before another is administered. Under Roman Catholic procedure, in fact, sometimes a recent verification of baptism and Holy Communion is required before a priest will perform a wedding.

All Christian denominations maintain such records, including general membership, baptism, confirmation records, Sunday school records, marriage records, and death records. These ledgers or card files are generally organized first by sacrament and then by date. If you have an idea of what religion the birth parents or adoptive parents were, you should pursue this avenue.

Other Public Records

Divorce Records
Marriage Records
Death Records
Voter Registration

Public Records in Searching – Part 5


Real Estate Records

A county recorder’s office keeps careful track of documents associated with the legal formalities common to property transactions. While its duties most often focus on the purchase and sale of real estate, official responsibilities regularly extend to liens, trusts, conservatorships, easements, and an additional lengthy list of actions affecting the ownership and transfer of wealth and property.

A county assessor’s office is entrusted with the responsibility of establishing property tax assessments based on the estimated value of property. Documents in both of these municipal departments are efficiently organized and accessible to the public largely for commercial reasons. For example, a title search, undertaken for the purpose of determining if a piece of property is encumbered by liens or easements, will be conducted at the recorders, or a person interested in buying a specific parcel of land may identify its current owner at the assessors.

The opportunity for searchers here is marginal at best, limited to circumstances in which there is possible continued contact between a buy and a seller. This can occur, say, in circumstances in which a second mortgage is carried by the seller. This will in turn mean that the buyer will have to know the seller’s current address in order to make regular payments on the debt due. Still, we are admonished to leave no stone unturned, so let’s resurrect old city and telephone directories. Suppose, in a given city or county, these books reveal that birth relative resided at a specific address for a number of years. He or she may have owned the house at that address. Further, if his or her name disappears from the directory’s pages, this may indicate a move to another locality.

If a move did take place, any of a number of options may exist. If the birth relative is reasonably prosperous, he or she may continue to hold the property as a rental unit. The house may have been sold, with a second mortgage as part of the sale conditions. Or the house may have been subject to multiple sales, in which case a searcher, by tracing what is commonly referred to as a “chain of title,” may discover the name of a person who may have had some continued contact with the birth relative. Exploring these options calls for a visit to the assessor’s and recorder’s offices.

The assessor’s office houses only one document of interest, the “situs file.”  This is a simple listing, usually entered on microfiche or computer, organized alphabetically by address, identifying what real estate is owned by whom. These details are accompanied by such technical information as parcel numbers, deed numbers, and assessed property value.

A situs file is often also available at a counter in the recorder’s office. It will be in the presence of an abundance of bound volumes, microfilm, or on computer, containing the documentary history of recorded proceedings. These generally fall into two categories: grantor-grantee indexes and “Official Records” of a county.

The indexes are organized by year and then alphabetically by surname. The current owner of a property is regarded as the grantee. The entry corresponding to his or her name will further list the grantor’s name, plus an “Official Records” book number and page number, indicating precisely where deeds and other paperwork can be found. With luck, a birth relative will have been the grantor and plans can be made to approach the grantee for any possible search information.

With multiple property sales occurring after a birth relative’s name disappears from a city directory or old telephone book, a chain of title search should be undertaken. This requires merely recognizing that when a grantor first acquired a parcel, he or she would have been considered the grantee. From that perspective, the index process merely has to be repeated back through the years to the time in which a birth relative ceases to appear in city directories or old telephone directories.

The address of assessor’s and recorder’s offices are regularly listed in the white pages of the telephone directory under the general heading of county government offices.

Public Records in Searching – Part 4


State Licensing Board

All states regulate trades and professions within their boundaries; contact the State Board of Licensing. Here is a partial list:

Aircraft Mechanics
Alarm installers
Alcohol sales
Auto inspectors
Auto wreckers
Bill collectors
Building contractors
Building wreckers
Carpet cleaners
Child care/daycare
Explosive storage
Fishing and hunting
Food processing
Fuel storage
Fuel transportation
Furniture manufacturer
Garment cleaners
Marriage counseling
Mattress rebuilders
Meat packers
Meat storage
Movie theaters
Notary public
Nursing homes
Oil drilling
Pet groomers
Pest controllers
Public utilities
Process servers
Public transportation
Real estate agents
Scrap dealers
Security guards
Service stations
Stock brokers
Trade schools
Waste disposal
Waste removal
X-ray techs
Water taxis
Waste storage
Weights and measures

Public Records in Searching – Part 3


Telephone Directories

(Older ones in libraries or current ones on line)

Near the end (and sometimes it may just happen to be at the beginning) of your search, the final step is obtaining a telephone number. It is always this final piece of the puzzle that causes every person to feel those butterflies in the stomach.

If you have a birth relative’s full name, it might take you quite some time to look through telephone directories, but this may be all that is needed to complete your search. Sometimes the person you are looking for lives in the same area or state where you live. Other times you might need to patiently go through a long list of telephone directories throughout the different states.

Even if this type of wearisome searching might not lead you to the person you are looking for, in many cases just contacting households with the same surname might lead to a relative.

The best source of telephone directories are on line. Plan on spending many hours or sometimes days looking through directories. But do not ever get discouraged. This might seem like the most boring job, but it is one of the steps in searching. Just be prepared!

The route that takes the most patience is writing a letter and requesting what information you need. And believe me, this does take patience!  Always remember to enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope to make it easier for them to just make a copy of the information you request and just stick it in the envelope and mail it back to you.

When you finally are making phone calls to households with the same surname, you never know when you might reach a birth relative who might not be aware of your existence. You should always ask questions pertaining to a genealogical search.


City Directories

City directories may also be known as Caron, Hill, Polk, or Williams directories. In large cities, new directories are published every year. In smaller areas, they may be published every few years.

Most directories are divided into sections. One section contains the names of almost every person living, with the city or county, listing their surnames alphabetically, then the spouse’s name, the person’s occupation, and address. Also listed might be the number of minors living in the household. Another section will list the address numbers and streets, including names and telephone numbers of the persons living at each address.

Public Records in Search – Part 2


State Board of Corporations

Controlled by state and are public record. They contain the name of the corporation, business address, business mailing address, names of all the directors, their resident addresses and phone numbers, date filed, type of business, and product and/or service. The corporation must be registered with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Most states provide corporation information over the phone.

State Franchise Tax Board

The State Tax Board is responsible for administering and collecting state income tax. In many states, tax information on businesses is public information, but not on an individual.

State Board of Equalization

Responsible for administering and collecting state sales tax. Any business involved in the sale of a product on a retail level, in a state having sales tax, must file. The application for filing is available to the public. It should contain the applicant’s name, business name, resident address, business address, phone numbers, bank and account numbers, type of business, and estimated annual gross sales.

Vessels and Aircraft

Many states require registration of vessels and aircraft with their Department of Motor Vehicles. Others have established individual agencies for these special forms of transportation. These records are also public. Be sure to check under your subject’s name and business name, if applicable.

State Police

Accident reports are made and filed. In most states, they are yours just for the asking, along with a small fee. Some states only provide them to those directly involved or their insurance company.

Public Records in Adoption Search – Part 1


Some searches are as easy as letting your fingers do the walking through several phone books; others are like a good mystery story that centers around the determined piecing together of miscellaneous pieces of information to reach a conclusion.

As stated before, your search should always begin with starting a journal. Any information, whether fact or hearsay, are all only possibilities. Every detail should be written down; any item might prove to be a worthwhile lead.

Usually “public information” refers to government materials open for examination by any person upon asking. Your search will also lead you to other government records that are not available to the public, but which may be shown to the persons to whom they affect. Many of the employees are not aware that their records are open for examination; therefore, they may unknowingly tell you this just to get you to leave them alone.

It is very helpful to become familiar with a law library. The employees in these libraries are usually willing to help and the use of searching on the Internet is very helpful. You can provide copies of applicable laws to the places you are visiting or writing to for information.

Wills and Probates

Generally, these are the first court records to check. They sometimes named nieces and nephews as heirs. However, not all children may be named in a will.

They are found in the county where the person died. Usually they are alphabetized and indexed by the deceased person’s surname. If you cannot personally examine them, request by correspondence. Ask for complete entries for the surname in all indexes and the cost for photocopies. Include a check for $5 – $10. When obtained, examine these to see which would be worth photocopying.

Adoption Help from Attorneys & Physicians

Attorneys and Physicians Help When Searching

This opportunity is most promising with independent or private placement adoptions. Customarily, these adoptions have been implemented with the assistance of a professional figure, generally an attorney or physician, but on occasion a counselor or therapist in private practice or a priest or minister.

Normally, these professionals will keep on file some record of the proceedings, a few bits of paperwork that will likely contain adoptees’ names at birth and a name for one or both birth parents. These files generally do not fall under the restrictions imposed by sealed records legislation.

Where professionals have retained possession of adoption records, it is entirely up to their discretion whether they choose to disclose any information from their contents. So this procedure is a hit-and-miss affair. Some attorneys are applauded resoundingly by search organizations for their willingness to assist in searches; others are hissed and booed for their resolute lack of cooperation.

Because of this discretionary element, birth parents who wish to be found should take care to provide any professional figure who assisted in the adoption of their relinquished children with a letter authorizing the disclosure of information to adoptees who come inquiring. Ideally, the letter should be notarized to certify that you are the person you are claiming to be. Your authorization of disclosure will go a long way in reducing any professional ambivalence in the matter. In addition, this may be an easy way to provide a relinquished son or daughter with your current name, address, and phone number.

Adoptive parents are usually the first best source for names of an attorney or physician who participated in the adoption process. An attorney’s name may also appear on the petition presented to a court for approval of an adoption. A physician’s name can occasionally be found on the amended birth certificate customarily provided for adoptees. It may also be entered into the hospital records collected over the course of an adoptee’s prenatal care and delivery.

County library systems commonly house professional membership directories. Alternatively, an Association office may be contacted directly for the information sought. You can also check on line.

Where possible, it is urged that searchers make an appointment and personally visit professionals for information. They tend to be more helpful in face-to-face encounters.

Open Discussion: How old do you think an

Open Discussion: How old do you think an adoptee should be when they find and meet their birth parents?

If you are an adoptee and have found, how old were you?
If you are a birth parent, how old was your child when you found each other?

If you are not in the adoption triangle, how old do you think an adoptee should be when they find and meet their birth parents?

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