Here are some Frequently Asked Questions that may help you in your adoption or missing family search.
How do I start?
Provide me with all the information you have and I will give you a consultation at no charge. I may have suggestions for gathering further information before initiating a search.
How much will it cost?
Most of the search cases require many hours of research time and involve expenses for documents and other resources. I keep this in mind when I set my fees. If I accept your case on a No Find-No fee basis, there is no financial risk to you if not found.
Can you promise to find the person I’m seeking?
No one can promise you they will find the person you are looking for, but I promise to do my very best for you and to leave no stone unturned.
Why go with a search professional over a confidential intermediary (CI)?
Some CI programs are provided at no charge, depending on the state. If a free program is available, this is an option you should consider. However, most charge a fee of $300-$600, regardless whether the person is found, and if found and they do not respond to the CI, then the CI is prohibited by law from giving you any information at all. When you hire a search professional, if the individual you seek doesn’t respond or doesn’t want contact, you will still receive a detailed report on that individual.
Why go with a search professional over a search angel?
You may wish to have a search angel work on your case first because there will be no charge and there is usually no harm in going that route. However, be sure to use one who has lots of experience and references because well intentioned volunteers sometimes mishandle the first contact and it could ruin your only chance to communicate with that person you’ve been searching for. Also, there are a very few but dangerous individuals who present themselves as search angels but have other motives, so proceed with caution.
If the search angel is unsuccessful, go then to a professional who is likely to succeed when a search angel fails. However, if you are in a hurry, you may wish to skip the search angel and go straight to a professional.
What happens after I agree to a search?
We collect all available information from you regarding who you are searching for, either a birth parent or an adopted person, and conduct a search using all resources at our disposal. We may then contact the searched party to verify the relationship and assess their willingness to be contacted by the client, after which we convey all of the information we have collected.
What if I am rejected by the person I am seeking?
In my experience, most searches conclude on a positive note. Most of the time, the person is pleased to have been found. Occasionally this is not the case, and no communication is desired. This is always disappointing, but sometimes, even in these cases, the person who is found is willing to provide some information through me, such as medical history. When no contact is desired, at least there can often be a sense of closure, and sometimes family members of the individual will be willing to connect.
What if the back story turns out to be tragic or shocking?
I will not reinvent, hide, or gloss over information my research has brought to light. I will be truthful and non-judgmental. I will help you come to terms with difficult information.