Frequently Asked Questions

Why does California Adoption Search have a “No Find No Fee” contract?

When I started to search for my birth mother I paid hundreds of dollars for out-dated and/or unlisted numbers, some were not even the right person just someone with the same name. Then I found Colleen and her “No Find No Fee” is what convinced me to hire her. Since I bought her business, I wanted to continue the same “safe haven” service so that other people searching would not be taken advantage of financially or emotionally.

The old saying “Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)” is even more important today with internet searching for birth relatives.

Does everyone pay the same fee?

The fee will depend on the year of birth and the type of information that you have. Each search is unique so the fees will vary slightly. However, ALL fees are reasonable and affordable! I will be able to give you a firm search cost once I review your search information. I cannot give a search quote unless I have information from you that will give me an idea of what the search will entail to resolve your search.

How long does a search take?

Most birth name searches are resolved within 24 hours. The majority of searches are resolved within a few days, or weeks; other locator searchers can take from one day to a year. The searches that are not quickly resolved generally include a common name, an alias name or fictitious information given to a Social Worker at the time of relinquishment. However, with my many years of experience I can often find people that other search services are not able to locate. I have a great resource of specialty adoption related databases and personal contacts throughout the United States.

What if my birth parents came from another state to relinquish and then went back to their home state? Or, if they moved to another state or multiple states since the time of relinquishment?

Once I determine the names associated with the relinquishment and adoption I can locate the person you are looking for in any state in the United States.

What information do I need to give you to start the search?

If you are looking for an adoptee: I would need the adopteeís date of birth (or estimated date of birth), county of birth and the birthmotherís maiden name. If the child was given a first name or if the birthfather was named at the time of birth this information would also be helpful.

If you are looking for a birth parent: I would need the adopteeís date of birth, county of birth, your amended name and the maiden name of your adoptive mother. I would also need a copy of your non-identifying information from the adoption agency that facilitated the adoption. If you do not have this information I can help you request it. Adoptive parents may also have information that is helpful.

What kind of information will I get when the search is completed?

You will receive the current name and address of the person that you are looking for. I will also provide any public records information that I find such as marriages, divorces, children and former addresses. Social media , photographs of birth family or adoptee (if found) and information found on at least two-three generations of your American ancestors will be provided as part of my search fee.

What kind of guarantees do you provide?

My only guarantee is that you will not pay for a search if it is not successful. I cannot guarantee the outcome of any reunion as a result of the search.

What is the best way to make contact?

The best way to make contact is with a letter and a snapshot. I can help you construct a letter that does not contain any “hot spots” that might take your reunion off track. I do not generally recommend a phone call for the first contact. The person who is found needs processing time to consider your request just as you had processing time to decide to search.

Who makes contact once the search is completed?

I wholeheartedly recommend that only the persons involved in the relinquishment or adoption make contact. But if you prefer I can be the first contact to get the process going.

Do you provide post reunion services?

Yes, that is part of my total fee. If your birthmother/birthfather/relinquished person is found and they would like some face-to-face support group references or therapists in their area I can provide those. I also have a great “reading list” that is helpful for pre-search and post-reunion issues.

How do you find my birth name?

California produced a statewide birth index that includes both the birth name and amended adoption name. The counties and state department of Social Services cross reference the two versions of the adoptees birth certificate with the assigned county numbers. Each of the 58 counties in California have a numerical code showing what county the child was born in. I am able to match the birth name with the amended adoption name to identify and then locate adoptee or birth family.

But even after I obtain the names the search for that person can be difficult for a variety of reasons: Woman typically changed their names when they get married so the the one challenge is scanning through marriage and divorce records to obtain her current name. I have databases of birth index, marriages/divorces that contain the full maiden names of the birth mothers. I also utilize several other genealogy resources, family history, and out of state search assistants to help me determine the right person to track.

How do I know you found the right person?

The information found in your non identifying report from the adoption agency is matched to the person I am searching for. Dates, education, occupation, physical descriptions, family, etc.