Thousands of adoptees pursue birth mother searches every year. The motives and outcomes are all unique to personal circumstances and it's important that adoption parties who choose to search do so with low expectations.
There are two ways to search: passively and actively. Passive search methods include registering with mutual consent registries. These are generally handled by state offices that will contact searchers if both adoption parties independently consent to the release of the adoption records. Another semi-passive way to search for a birth mother is to register with a search website. These databases work similarly to a state registry in that both parties must be registered with the database before either party can be contacted. Website registries often require the searchers to look for their own potential matches.
More active forms of birth mother search involve private investigators or contacting government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service. If an adoptee has registered with the state but has yet to see any results, he or she can petition the courts to have a confidential intermediary gain access to the adoption records. This C.I. will be able to contact the birth mother and facilitate conversation between the two.
Before anyone goes forth with a birth mother search, he or she should join a support group. Birth mother searches are not always punctuated with a happy ending. Sometimes, it can take months before a birth mother responds to a letter from an adoptee and even then she may not want to meet or continue corresponding. While the search itself can put some curiosities at ease, there's just as much potential for disappointment as there is for hope.