Today birth families and adoptees are connecting through DNA databases, social media and access to original birth certificates. Many people find search and reunion to be “one of the most emotional experiences in their lives”. They report that “support was key” in helping them to deal with their feelings and questions and to navigate these complex relationships.
All IAC Center Counselors are licensed and have advanced training and experience specific to search and reunion. We provide a warm, empathetic and safe environment. We understand the complexity of the emotions involved in search and reunion for all adoption constellation members. In addition to counseling for individuals and families – including combinations of adoptive and birth family members – we offer adoption support groups.
Adoptive Parents may want help:
- Determining when and how to open an adoption for their child.
- What to do when your child is contacted on social media by birth family.
- Dealing with emotions related to their adult child’s search and reunion with birth family.
Birth Parents may want help with:
- Managing feelings of loss, guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, and confusion.
- Handling the initial contact.
- Concerns about privacy; or handling how being found by their child impacts their current life and relationships.
- Uncertainty about the type of relationship they want or can have with their child.
- How to communicate effectively with their birth child.
- Dealing with social media or DNA connections.
Adoptees may want help:
- Coping with feelings about adoption, identity, and relationships with adoptive and birth parents.
- Deciding whether, when or how to search for their birth family, or if getting more information is enough.
- If, or when to connect with birth and extended family on social media or DNA sites
- Handling the initial contact and potential conflicts.
- Uncertainty about the type of relationship they want or can have with birth parents.
- Dealing with unexpected or overwhelming emotions after meeting the birth family.
- Managing intricate relationship expectations and issues involved.
Some people prefer the privacy and personalized qualities of individual counseling. Others benefit from family counseling and sometimes even including combinations of birth and adoptive family members. And some love groups.
Our groups are a safe and empathetic place for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents to speak freely, share ideas, learn from one another, and hopefully feel a sense of community. All of our groups are facilitated by licensed counselors with advanced education and training in adoption. Current groups:
- Young Adult Adoption Group – This group is for adoptees in their twenties and thirties. Begins October 22nd. After that, will meet the fourth Monday each month from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
- Adoption Topics and Support Group – For adopted individuals of all ages that would like to discuss adoption related news, movies, books, poems, articles and issues.
- Adoption Search and Reunion Group – For all adoption constellation members including birth parents, siblings of adoptees, adoptive parents and adoptees contemplating or in reunion and focuses on coping with the complex emotions and issues related to the birth family and adoptee reconnections. Will meet the third Friday of every month from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. This is the second Search and Reunion Group we are forming. IAC Center’s first Search and Reunion group was created in response to passage of the NJ Birthright Act.
Personal Search and Reunion Stories
- Harmony and Disharmony The Adagio Path to Connection
- Hide and Seek: Not Every Birth Mother Wants to be Found
- Third Time’s the Charm: A Mother’s Gift to Her Daughter
There is no reason to go it alone.
IAC CENTER Counselors are able to offer you support, counseling and guidance.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-213-0977 for more information or to schedule an initial consultation.
What are the benefits of IAC CENTER search and reunion support?
We understand that every individual and family situation is unique and are committed to taking the time to understand you and your personal situation. We offer you the benefit of unbiased counseling and professional guidance.
We can help you:
- Think about if, when, and how to open or increase relationships.
- Prepare for meeting, including understanding your expectations and reactions to potential outcomes.
- Process complex feelings triggered by these meetings.
- Develop understanding and communication skills to navigate these complex relationships.
- Manage feelings of loss, guilt or other emotions you may experience as a birth parent.
- Cope with anxiety, confusion and other emotions adoptees often face.
- Successfully negotiate your path with parents, partners, spouses, children, siblings and members of extended biological or adoptive family.
NJ Birthright Act
The NJ Birthright Act, signed into law on May 27, 2014, allows individuals born in or adopted in NJ, to obtain an unregistered copy of their original birth certificate (OBC). Family members including adoptive parents, siblings and children of adoptees may also obtain a copy of OBC’s.
Birth parents have been encouraged to file contact preference information and may redact their names from OBC’s up until December 31, 2016. If redacting, they are encouraged to provide historical, cultural and medical information. Adoptees born in NJ, or whose adoption was finalized in NJ and are aged 18 and older, may apply now for their OBC by going to:
PA Act 127
Pennsylvania Act 127 of 2016 allows adoptees born in PA possessing a high school diploma or GED, and their lineal descendants, to request a non-certified coy of their original birth certificate from the PA Dept of Health. Adoptees must submit an Adoptee’s Application for Noncertified Copy of Original Birth Record available online. Application available here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/certificates/Pages/Adoptions.aspx
Birth parents are encouraged to complete the Pennsylvania Adoption Information Registry’s (PAIR) Birth Parent/Birth Parent Survivor Authorization to Release Information and Registration Form (CY 910) regardless of their decision to redact their name on the adoptee’s noncertified copy of original birth record. The CY 910 form enables birth parents to file their contact preference and family medical history with the PAIR program for release to adoptees seeking additional information. CY910 is available here: http://www.adoptpakids.org/Documents/Act101_CY910_BirthParentAuthorization.pdf
Birth parents wishing to redact their names from the noncertified copy of the original birth record for an adopted individual must submit a Name Redaction Request (NRR) form (https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Certificates%20and%20Records/name_redaction_HD02046F.pdf). Once a birth parent’s name has been redacted, it will not be included on the noncertified copy of the original birth record provided to the adopted individual; however; birth parents may update their child’s OBC to include their names at any time. Birth parents must complete the Pennsylvania Adoption Information Registry’s Birth Parent/Birth Parent Survivor Authorization to Release Information and Registration Form (CY 910). To meet the requirements of the NRR process, you must complete at a minimum Sections I, IIa or IIIa, and VI of this form (CY 910). Each birth parent wishing to redact his/her name from the original birth record must submit their own separate NRR form