Suggestion for Adoption Angel Request for Assistance Form

+6 votes
I have a suggestion for the Adoptoin Angel Request for Assistance Form; I think this question should be asked: "Have you obtained the Adoptee Non-Identifying Report?"

This is a crucial piece of information that really needs to be obtained before enlisting the assistance of an Adoption Angel.

Don't you agree?
in Policy and Style by Saro Genova G2G5 (5.1k points)

Currently on the form it says: 

Original (pre-adoption) birth certificate?

Adoption records?  This question is rather vague.  

Adoption registries?

I would love to see the addition you propose because this can be a key piece of information in solving cases.  

However, with that said, if we implement the new idea of contacting all new applicants immediately, we could ask them to have the necessary information before going the next step.


1 Answer

+5 votes
Presumably you would specify which countries it applies for if you decide to add that question, otherwise it could cause some confusion.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (631k points)

Good point, Lynda!  That is so true.  But since it is available in most of the US states, I think it should be added-of course with information that it pertains to adoptions in the US.  Unfortunately, all too often we get Adoption Angel Request for Assistance Forms completed when the adoptees have pretty much nothing that gives us adoption angels to work with.  It seems like they expect us to pull their birth family out of a hat like a magician!  Also, we are there to assist‚Äč adoptees in this endeavor, not to do the work for them.  So one would hope they have taken the initiative to do some digging on their own before asking for help.

Do you only get requests for help from US adoptees? The starting point is going to be different for each country.

We get requests for help in countries around the world.

One of the first things I look at are the laws concerning adoption as they vary in the US by state and in other countries sometimes by location as well.  

I also ask if they are trying to accomplish knowledge only or contact.  Some people do not want to make contact just to know where they came from so to speak.  

It is also good to know if they are working with anyone else and in some cases official legal paper work will need to be filed and sometimes you must go through an attorney... just depends on where you are looking.  

Some adoptions have gag orders written into them and the privacy laws for the parents are very strong.  

It is important to set up reasonable expectations.

Just adding"  Not every attorney is familiar with adoption. American Academy of Adoption Attorneys at 202-832-2222 or

Very tricky ones are intercountry ones. you will also have more need for an attorney. See, the Intercountry Adoption Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US Department of State.


As I expected, which is why I was wondering whether including a question in the initial contact form about one specific US document might actually cause more confusion for those who are actually needing advice about the whole process.
While the vast majority of our Adoption Angel Request for Assistance Forms are submitted by people in the US, we do indeed sometimes have people from other countries.  In that event, it helps to have someone provide assistance who has experience and/or expertize in adoption searches in those countries.  I believe we have an angel who specializes i UK adoptions.

In so far as the actual form, it really should include whether or not an adoptee has taken the initiative to request the non-identifying report.  In the US the majority of the states have a provision for that regardless of any "gag order" etc.

If an adoptee mainly wants to know where they came from, and not necessarily contact with the birth parents, then I hardly think an attorney is necessary.  However, if one is desired or required, I think the information Laura provided regarding the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys as well as the link she gave are most helpful resources!  Thanks Laura!
Linda, I do not think adding a question about the non-identifying report would add to any confusion if it is clarified that this is pertinent to adoptions in the US.

The Adoption Angels Project members are working on instructions for adoptees and adoption angels who are conducting searches which will clarify and elaborate on the non-identifying report.  Any adoptees wishing assistance would read these instructions before completing the form.

There have been quite a number of adoptees who complete the form on a whim and then do not follow-up with the angel offering to assist.  Additionally there are cases where the adoptee unrealistically wants the angel to do all the searching and research or, even more unrealistic expects us to magically locate the identity of their birth parents with essentially no information at all.

Since the non-identifying report is crucial to the search, I really feel it should be included in one of the form's questions.  After all we can't search with just a date and place of birth alone which in my experience many adoptees expect.  .

Saro I agree not all adoptees will require the help from an attorney (thought I had made that clear in my note) but sometimes the legal documents required to get to sealed records go much faster with an adoption attorney filing them.  It depends on where you are looking.  

The first thing I do is look at what the adoption laws say because they are vastly different among the US states of State laws  let alone adding in other countries. I have worked with this in several European countries including Scotland and the United Kindgdom, Australia, France, and Canada and in some of those places you must work with an attorney because if you are not a citizen of the country you need a legal representative in those countries to act in your stead. This is part of setting up reasonable expectations with anyone you are helping or trying to help.  

Requesting that an adoptee request the form for US related adoptions is not an issue for me.  A lot of adoptees have no idea where to begin and telling them to do this is not that big of a deal for me but if you want it on the form that is ok too.  


Thanks, Laura.  Are you one of the Adoption Angels Project angels?  We sure could use expertize like yours!!
Yes I am an adoption angel.  I just finished working with several people who are either looking for more tests or input from family based on details we uncovered.  It is a back and forth process often.  They know if they need more help they can come back to me.  

One interestingly enough turned out to be one of my cousins.  I was able to determine who our MRCA was and provide her with a detailed genealogy back to the 1600s. Now we are trying to fill n the blanks coming forward.  But we have a list of surnames to follow that were not there when we started.  

Another we have it narrowed down to brothers.  To determine which we need offspring of at least one of the brothers to test.  That is the stumbling block.

Another we have it narrowed down to a surname and leads on living relatives of that person so waiting on responses to inquiries there.

Another we have finished and the man has what he wanted.  

Another we have updated the profiles in WikiTree and identified the birth parents.

Another we were very friendly acquaintances for years and are once again surprisingly cousins but so far with no leads and names on her possible tree to mine have little to no matches.  Am trying to get her DNA uploaded to GedMatch but she is having computer issues.  And she is in Australia which has some of the most restrictive laws.  She has an attorney who has made little to no headway in years because of their lock down laws.  Hoping she and I can find some time to work on this over the Holidays.  We only have some of the information she has because of what the lawyer was able to shake loose from their system.  

I am part of an international organization of genealogists and family members dedicated to a specific guild reaching back centuries,  We have members around the world.  One of my cousins reads, writes, and speaks 9 languages.  I do English, French, Latin, and a little Hungarian.  Between us we can cover a good part of the world with in place research.  I do all the English for them and they do the other languages for me.  We share French and Latin and through my husbands side Hungarian.  Half the battle is being able to navigate foreign languages when dealing with international issues.  My business partner has an adopted daughter from China.  I have adoptions in my family both ancestral and descendant levels.

You are quite amazing, Laura!!!!  Wish I was half as good as you are! Wow!

It's funny how small our world actually is, huh?  I worked on a project for 2 months before I realized the woman I was helping is a distant cousin.  Then I called in two other cousins I'd collaborated with a decade ago on one of her lines.  One cousin is  very knowledgeable on our line and the other one is a statistician professor.  So between us 3 we finally figured out who her MRCA couple was.  Beyond that we are stuck because this is a case of 2 or 3 cases of children born out of wedlock.  The poor girl who we were helping found out when she took the AuDNA test that she has no DNA from her father's surname as well as she has a half brother who matches her DNA.  Both of these 2 siblings have plenty of matches with their respective mothers but none with their fathers!  While we have discovered which branches their birth parents come from, we can't figure out who they are specifically.  This was the most difficult case I have encountered.  And I just hate, Hate, HATE that we have not been able to solve it. YDNA testing would help knowing which line the father comes from so we'd know which the mother comes from by default.  The brother of my friend is in poor health and does not want to take any more DNA testing (he was quite upset to know his father was not who he thought he was-genetically at least.  And the sister has no males that descend from her father.  That sure taught me  that sometimes cases can't be solved.

Happy Hunting!

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