Different states have different laws regarding adoption reunion experts. For example, in the state of Arizona, these reunion experts are called Confidential Intermediaries. These professionals undergo mandatory training that allows them to legally access closed adoption records. Other states do not require professionals to have special training and licenses to practice. Some states allow Private Investigators to perform searches for adopted/birth family members. The best way to find out the laws in the state you were adopted or placed a child in is to contact a family law attorney or find an adoption website for your state, which should give information on various laws.
Some professionals work for a fee and some work by the hour. Some investigators charge a fee upfront, while some only charge if family is located. My suggestion is to hire someone who charges a flat rate fee. Professionals who charge per hour may end up charging more in the long term.
Ask around. Ask friends or family for recommendations. Online reviews may be biased because companies offer incentives to clients who give them a good review online. If you don’t know of anyone who has used a professional expert to locate family, use online forums on adoption websites or go to an adoption support group in your area.
Know the laws in your state. Although an attorney is not an adoption reunion expert, an attorney will know adoption case file laws and may know of a good professional. A person may claim to legally have access to closed adoption files but actually be scamming innocent people.
Go to an adoption support group. Many people have high expectations for family members once they find them. Your birth parents or adopted child may have no interest in locating biological family members or may not have the emotional capability of dealing with the information. He or she may have different expectations of what he or she wants out of this newly formed relationship. Adoption support groups allow you to speak with others who have reunited with biological family members. They can give you a better idea of what to expect.
See a counselor. You will have mixed emotions when you find out who your biological family members are and when you attempt to begin a relationship with them. A counselor can help you sort through past pain of being given up for adoption or giving up a child for adoption.
Good luck in finding your family members!
Your first step in your search and reunion journey is to register in Adoption.com’s Reunion Registry.