Adoption Search Washington
Reuniting Individuals Separated By Adoption
She maintains a wealth of regional research material, as well as many nationwide resources. This, along with Washington State Certification and Licensing, uniquely qualify her to conduct searches within the triad with skill, compassion and strict confidentiality. She is on the list of recommended Confidential Intermediaries for all Washington State County Clerks.
Questions? Feel free to read through the details below or simply call (360) 697-2393, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the Begin Your Search form below.
- "Judi is awesome at what she does! She knows how important answers and closure are for adoptees and their families."M.G., Adoptee's son
- "She is very professional and as an adoptee herself she totally understands the emotional aspect of a search as well."K.M., Adoptee
- "Judi understands the emotional turmoil that her clients are going through during the search and helps them to cope with the ups and downs that go with the process."S.M., Adoptee
- "My half sister and I have each other for the rest of our lives - we are so happy."KM, Adoptee
- "There is so much love pouring to me from my 'new family'."NH, Adoptee
- "Thank you so much for finding my daughter. We are catching up on all the missing years - I only wish I had searched earlier."KA, Birth Mother
- "May God bless you for your part in the return of my son and for doing it so selflessly."RS, Birth Mother
- "Your thoughtfulness meant much more than words can say. Just hearing my son's voice was magical."M.M., Birth Father
- "I've seen this sort of thing on TV, but never dreamed it would happen to me!"M.L.G., Birth Mother
- "Thank you for all you've done. You've gone the extra mile to find my birth mother, and I appreciate it!"L.N., Adoptee
- "My heartfelt thanks for all you've done – finding my birth sister has filled in the empty space from my past."D.O., Adoptee
Begin Your Search
Who searches and why?
The state of Washington allows the release of non-identifying information to the adoptee, adoptive parents and to the birthparents. This information may include age, heritage, education, religion, occupation and perhaps even a physical appearance of birth parents and is authorized by RCW 26.33.020. In Washington State, information facilitating the location of the involved parties will be found in the birth and adoption records which are sealed, and may only be opened by a court approved certified Confidential Intermediary per Washington state law RCW 26.33.343.
Until July 1, 2014, original birth certificates were only available to adoptees age 18 and older if the adoption occurred after October 1, 1993 and the birth parent has not filed a contact preference form indicating that he or she does not want the information released. Beginning July 1, 2014 all adoptees 18 and older can get an original birth certificate unless the birth parent has filed a contact form indicating their objection to the release of that information. This does not include the adoption records themselves.
With this new freedom for the adoptee to obtain the name(s) of their birth parents, will sometimes come the temptation to seek them out by means of social media or the internet without using a third party intermediary. It is hoped that this will not create situations that will threaten the privacy of the birth parent and (not having time to absorb and think through this confrontation with professional guidance) will produce an instant negative response.
Birth parents, adoptees, adoptive parents or relatives of a deceased birth parent or adoptee may initiate searches, for as many reasons as there are adoptions. The decision to search is highly personal and is often reached after years of agonizing consideration.
ADOPTEES represent two percent of the U.S. population. They come from warm, loving families, or from less-nurturing adoptive homes. They can be parents themselves or single, young or old, male or female. The decision to search is often triggered by a major life event such as marriage, a death in the family or the birth of a child. They want medical history, to see what their birthparents are like and how they look. But the most common, basic reason most adoptees choose to search is because they were adopted and they want to know why.
It is not uncommon for ADOPTIVE PARENTS to be supportive and to even initiate searches for birthparents, once their child turns eighteen. Searching is not about the quality of adoptive family, it is about the search for self.
BIRTH PARENTS search. The pain of giving up a child for adoption can be ongoing, even though it may seem the only and best answer at the time. As the years pass, many birth parents feel the need to find out what happened to that child, to be reassured that he or she has been well cared for and has grown up happy and healthy.
Norman B. Ackley, King County Superior Court Judge, June 1979
What's the story on sealed records?
Adoption records in Washington State were "open" until 1935, and anyone could access records, which were kept in the probate files in the county courthouse. In 1935 a law was passed, providing for the adoptees original birth certificate and decree of adoption to be placed into a sealed file at the state level in the Vital Records department. This law was meant to protect all the parties from each other, having both positive and negative effects. In 1976, a Seattle adoptee convinced a judge to agree to the opening of her birth record, if a neutral third party was used to make the contact with the birthmother once she was found. This reunion was successful, and as a result family law judges in King County networked with their peers in other Washington state counties, and gradually most counties had at least one judge who would open adoption records to a trained and licensed "Confidential Intermediary". In 1990, a law was passed allowing Confidential Intermediaries to conduct searches and facilitate reunions in this state. Today, search and reunion are routine matters in Washington. During the 2000's several states have changed their laws to allow more freedom for adoptees to obtain copies of their records. Many adoptees have opted to use the Intermediary system to search for their birth parents. This provides the adoptee and birth families with a non threatening method to reconnect.
What is a confidential intermediary?
Independent Confidential Intermediaries are certified through extensive testing procedures and are the best searchers available. These are individuals sanctioned by the court to have access to sealed adoption files, who use that information to find the party being sought, either adoptee or birth parent. Washington State has licensed a limited number of such persons, and they may be referred by the courts, or found independently. E & E is on the list of Confidential Intermediaries referred by courts in Washington State. Once the person you seek is found, the Confidential Intermediary will then ask that person for permission to divulge to you, the searcher, their identity and whereabouts. If the other party refuses, the fee is non-refundable and contact may not be attempted again, affording respect and privacy to the party being sought. However, the Confidential Intermediary may attempt to obtain updated medical histories, or pictures or other non identifying information to share with the searcher.
How much does it cost?
The cost of an Independent Confidential Intermediary varies greatly and may run anywhere from $200 to $600 per search. Our goal is to keep the cost within the means of most people, with the belief that finding our lost loved ones is one of our basic rights.
E&E charges a flat search fee which covers the cost of agency fees for records, travel to courts where records are kept, contacting search consultants in other jurisdictions, long distance telephone calls, postage and other expenses that may occur during the search. This cost has been submitted to and accepted by the State of Washington, and itemized statements will be made available upon request.
Payments may be made with advance agreement.
I've made the decision to search. Now what?
Once you decide to search, please e-mail one or two paragraphs outlining your story to email@example.com.
If you are interested in receiving a packet of forms to begin your search I will need:
- Searchers full name, address and phone number.
- The full legal spelling of the adoptive parent’s names at the time of the adoption,
- The birth place and date of the adoptee
- The county in which the adoption took place (this would be the county of the adoptive parent’s residence at the time)
The process of searching begins when you return the completed, notarized forms to me. I then prepare a petition and court-order for a judge’s signature in the county in which the adoption took place. This can take from a month to six weeks, depending on the court schedule.
After the court order has been signed I obtain the sealed adoption records and original birth certificate. Although I am allowed to share only “non identifying information” (physical descriptions, medical and personal history, ages etc), I use this data in my search.
Then I can begin to actually search for the person(s) named in the records. There are many factors involved in determining the length of a search. A woman who has married and divorced more than once and changed her name will take longer than someone who has retained the same name and lived in the same location for a long period of time. We go to great lengths to determine that we have the correct person. “While some people may be found easily through Internet searches, there is no substitute for accurate, definitive and complete research.” I make an effort to update my clients every week, although there may not be much information during the times we are waiting for paperwork or while I am searching.
Once this person is found, I ask them for permission to divulge to the searcher, their identity and whereabouts. If the person(s) you seek is (are) deceased, I will attempt to contact surviving relatives without additional charge.
I look forward to helping you in your search.
Please feel free
to address questions or comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.