• Can I get a copy of my adoption records?

    No. Utah is a closed state; which means that no identifying information from your files can be released without consent from both the adoptee and birthmother. Files will remain closed until 100 years from the date of the adoption have passed.

    You can, however, have non-identifying information from your file (physical description, medical information, hobbies, religion, etc.). You can also join the Connections program, where CSS contacts your birth parents or birth child for you and asks if they are willing to share more information or to have contact with you.

  • How old do I have to be to search for my birth parents?

    You must be 18 years old to request non-identifying information or join the Connections program.  If you are not yet 18, we must have your parents consent.

    You must also be 18 to file an Affidavit of Consent with CSS, which is a legal form that allows us to release your name and other contact information to your birthparents, if they were to contact us looking for you.  Download the form for adoptees here.

    You may place a letter in your file for your birthparents at any time, however.  If they contact CSS, we will pass that letter on to them.

  • I am a birthparent. When can my child find me again?

    Most agencies will not facilitate any sort of contact between adoptee and birthparent until the adoptee is 18 or 21 (depending on that state’s age of majority) unless they had an open or semi-open adoption to begin with; and even then they will only go so far as to keep a letter in the file to pass on to either party should they call for information. Additionally, an adoptee must be 21 to sign up for Utah’s Mutual Consent Registry ; however, there is no official law stating when an adoptee can or cannot “find” their birthparents. The information available nowdays on the internet has made searching for birthparents a much easier task than it has ever been, and many teenagers are savvy enough to at least make an attempt.In a closed-records state like Utah, the best thing to do if you want a biological child to find you one day is to make yourself available:

    • Sign up for Utah’s registry (if the adoption was in Utah; otherwise find out if your state has a registry.)
    • If the adoption was through an agency, contact that agency and ask to leave a letter, or an affidavit of consent to contact, in your adoption file. Make sure to keep your contact information current with the agency, in case you move.
    • Do a google search of “free adoption registries” and sign up for as many internet registries as you can. The most common is at www.adoption.com
    • Have an internet presence. Make sure you are visible on social media, and talk to the world about your adoption story and wish to be found.
    • Take a DNA test through websites such as Ancestry.com or 23andme.com, which will match you with individuals who share your DNA.  An increasing number of adoptees are locating biological family through such tests.

    Children’s Service Society (CSS) also offers the Connections program, a confidential intermediary program. This is only available to past clients of CSS, but it has been very successful. Both adoptees and birthparents are allowed to initiate a search, but our policy is that the adoptee must be at least 18 years old in order to be found. A minor can initiate a search, but they must have their adoptive parents’ written permission. CSS also allows for a letter to be placed in your file, and you will be notified if the other party contacts us and receives the letter. See more information on our Connections page.

  • If I sign up for the Connections program, will you be able to find my birthparents/birthchild?

    We cannot make any guarantees, but we will exhaust every search avenue we are aware of. As of right now, our success rate for finding at least one birthparent is 98%, and for finding adoptees is 100%.

  • How long does it take to find someone?

    Again, no guarantees can be made, but the average time has been about two months from the time of application until the birth relative is contacted.

    Some searches can take months, if we are looking for someone who has changed names or moves often.  But some searches are very quick, and contact is made in a matter of days.  Social media has made finding people easier in recent years!

  • How often do successful reunions take place?

    Only about 10% of people we have contacted have chosen not to take part in a reunion.

    It is important to remember that there are many, many factors that could hinder a reunion: A birthmother may not have told her spouse and/or children about the adoption; an adoptee might not know they were adopted; or either party might have someone who would not be supportive of a reunion, just to name a few. Those people we locate through the Connections who may not agree to contact are always told that they can change their minds at any time. Their situation may change in the future.

  • What if the person you are looking for is deceased?

    This is not uncommon, unfortunately, especially for adoptees who are older.  In this situation we will reach out to the person’s next of kin: for a birthparent, that could be other children they had, or their siblings; For an adoptee, their adoptive parents or siblings.

    As much as you might feel that you are prepared to find that your birth family member is no longer alive, you may still be highly affected to find a grave at the end of your search.  We understand that to learn about your deceased birth family member and to see some photos or mementos might help in your healing process.  We will do our best to connect you with someone who can share those things with you.