Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting the word out

Many adoptees adopted in Missouri do not realize they can even ask for information from their adoption file much less request a search for their birth mother. Or all they hear is, "Missouri is so tough to get information from.  It is a closed records state and you won't get anywhere."   The adoptee may have made an inquiry of the agency or court that took care of their adoption and were told it wasn't possible or would take a court order to get anything.  They go away discouraged. In these cases, they had the unfortunate occurrence to meet up with someone who doesn't know the law or how easy the process actually is.  The process has come a long way in the past 10 years. 

Or the adoptee who is told by seemingly caring individuals who do know the law that they should avoid the Court or agency in requesting information from their birth record or a search.  I still do not know why this is.  Why would someone NOT go to the place where the information is and where an easy process is already established? So these adoptees waste a LOT of time and money trying to figure things out on their own.  They become so very frustrated at all the dead ends and closed doors they come across.  It is like trying to win the lottery without actually buying a ticket.  Yes, Missouri is a closed records state but that doesn't mean that a search and reunion is impossible.  There is a process to follow and in most counties, a search and reunion is very possible and occurs frequently.  It can actually be very easy to have this accomplished.   Fill out the required paperwork to make the request.  Once the adoptee retains a Searcher or Intermediary authorized by the Court, this Searcher will take it from there with all the further contact with the Court, finding the birth parents, obtaining the consent of the birth parent, submitting it all to the Court for final approval and then helping to set up the first contact between the birth parent and the adoptee.  The only glitch in this system is if the birth parent declines to provide their consent or if the birth parent is deceased. 

The current stats (from 12 years of searches) are that, of the birth mothers found alive, 60% of birth mothers will consent and a reunion occurs.  The other 40% are not a total no as we can obtain updated medical and non-id information from them.   They just do not feel they can take the step of releasing their names. 

So, let's get the word out to Missouri adoptees that they CAN request information from their adoption files.  They CAN have a successful search within the current system and CAN have a reunion.  I do admit that many adoptees I speak with still tell stories of the people they encountered before they got to me that told them " It wasn't possible" or that they "should just leave sleeping dogs lie.  It happened so long ago, why drag it up now? "  Well, it is the adoptee's right to be able to ask questions and received what information is available.  Some times there is no information possible but that is a story for another day.

While I can make no guarantees about how a search will end but can guarantee that a competent search will have been done.  Yes, there is a fee involved but compared to the cost of a private eye that does not have the information to begin with, it is a bargain. 

If you are a Missouri adoptee, I would love to hear from you and see if there is something we can do to help. or LbLongci@gmail

Have a great day!

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