Why not do your own search?

Judy Sellin, Lead Searcher

Judy Sellin, Lead Searcher

I suggest that people shouldn’t do their own searches for the main reason they are too close to the search. It’s difficult for them to be impartial; even if they have direct information and they know 100% they have found their birth family, to make that initial call when you’re the adoptee or the birth parent, is very, very critical. People that do their own searches often don’t think of the issues, like privacy. For example, if an adoptee is looking for their birth mother and they find her and phone and start talking, they don’t consider that perhaps she has not told the other children she has gone on to have that she surrendered a child. So it can be very sensitive.

A search has to be done with a lot of sensitivity, and this is usually best done by a professional who has experience and who is impartial. Having said that, it’s difficult even for a professional to do a search unless you really do it with your heart and soul and determination – and more than determination, dedication. But for reasons of just being too close to a search, it’s very difficult to bring about a reunion or handle a search the way it should be handled if you’re doing it on your own.

I’ve had searches where people have told me I will never find their birth family – and they’ve been searching for fifteen or twenty years. Sometimes, they’re searching perhaps not as diligently as I search, or perhaps they don’t have the information they need to do an effective search. Without realizing it, often they get caught up in the search – like getting caught up in the chase – and don’t realize the end result of a successful search is always that you have to make that contact, and it’s usually a phone call, to finally connect with birth family. Also, most people don’t know the methods of searching. There are techniques and there is perhaps maybe a gift and a little bit of luck, but there is a certain way to search and to close that search.

Those thinking of doing a search should get as much information as they can from the province where the adoption was finalized. Some provinces are open with identifying information, which will include a first and last name. Non-identifying history can be very vague, but if that is all that is available, you should certainly obtain that information. Often, even that contains clues or hints that can help a professional searcher close a search. If you do receive a last name, I suggest that one does not search for themselves, by using that last name — instead, it’s best to turn over that information to a professional. Also consider obtaining information from your adoptive parents, too, if you’re an adoptee who is searching.

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