Before You Begin
Embarking on a search for unknown relatives calls for some preparation and self - insight. Why are you doing this? What are your hopes, fears and expectations? How do you envision handling the potential best- and worst-case outcomes? Reality usually lands somewhere in between the two. Have you read any books to prepare? Do you have a good support system, such as a local or online group and the name of an adoption-competent counselor, should you decide you need one? Do you have the resources to follow through on a journey that could take a day, a month, a year, or more?
Suggested Options for Further Reading:
Adoptees Come of Age by Ron Nydam
A Man and His Mothers by Tim Green
Birthright: the Guide to Search and Reunion by Jean Strauss
Hole in My Heart by Lorraine Dusky
Journey of the Adopted Self by Betty Jean Lifton
Lost and Found by Betty Jean Lifton
Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier
Shadow Train by Patricia Taylor
The Adoptee Survival Guide, Lynn Grubb, ed.
The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide by Julie Jarrell Bailey and Lynn Giddens
The Girls Who Went Away by Anne Fessler
The Other Mother by Carol Schaefer
Twice Born by Michael Reagan
Finding a Name
With open and semi-open adoption increasingly becoming the norm, younger adoptees may already have access to the name(s) of their birth/first parent(s).
For those less fortunate, there are several ways to find the name of the person you are searching for. Birth names, such as "Baby Girl Martin" routinely (but not always) appeared on Final Decrees of Adoption for those whose adoptions were finalized prior to July 1, 1967. Adoptive parents often have these documents in a safe place.
You can now obtain copies of your original birth certificate and adoption records through CDPHE Vital Records and the Court handling the adoption. Only about 25% of original birth certificates contain the birth father's name, according to CDPHE. Some names on state documents are fictitious, due to certain maternity homes recommending the practice of using a false name. Some women, hoping to be found in the future by their relinquished child, used the name of a sister, aunt, or close relative.
With the advent of search using DNA matching, the process can still be complicated, but no longer requires a name for success.
Low to No Cost Search Tools
We recommend doing as much of your own search as you can. Something often shifts inside us when we decide that we are worthy and competent to find our roots. Frustrations, bunny trails and brick walls may await, but it can also be remarkably easy to locate lost relatives with the right tools and a little help from friends in a support group or online.
Denver Public Library Geneaology Archives
International Soundex Reunion Registry
Rema's CO Registry - Includes a list of past orphanages and maternity homes.
G's Adoption Registry and Search Angels
Search Squad (Join FB Group)
Paid Colorado Search Help
Even after receiving copies of their records, some people prefer to use a paid third party to perform the search and make first contact. Others, such as birth/first parents who may not have the name of the child they surrendered for adoption have found the following organizations helpful. There are a wide range of adoption search and private investigation companies who offer such services. Some of them offer a "no find, no fee" policy and are excellent at what they do. Others fall under the admonition caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). The following individuals and organizations have been approved by the Colorado Adoption Intermediary Commission:
Catholic Charities of Central Colorado