Adoption records are not held by the National Archives and Records Administration. Adoptions occur at the county level of government. The majority of adoption records are restricted for privacy concerns. 

If all of the parties are deceased consider filing a petition with the court in which the adoption was granted to unseal the records.  Also it is important to remember that although adoption records are sealed, records on Termination of Parental Rights (of the birthparents), which is often a separate case number often are not sealed.

Search & Support Groups: The assistance of a support group may be of considerable benefit. Some groups guide and direct a researcher, while others offer exchange programs to facilitate searching in distant locations by other researchers.  Other groups hold meetings to offer support, provide information, and exchange searching techniques. Many of these groups maintain websites.

Cyndi's List has almost 200 links to websites related to adoption.

In the United Kingdom:

Tracing Your Parents in the UK Guide

NORCAP has the largest adoption contact register in the UK



Many of the following books can be obtained through your local public library.
Askin, Jayne. Search: A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1992.
Berko, Robert L. Using Public Records to Find and Investigate Anyone. South Orange, NJ: Consumer Education Research Center, 1997.
Culligan, Joseph J. You, Too, Can Find Anybody. Miami, FL: Hallmark Press, 1994
Fararo, Eugene. You Can Find Anyone. Cape Coral, FL: Adoption and Family Awareness Center, 1989.
Hinckley, Kathleen W. Locating Lost Family Members & Friends. Cincinnati, OH: Betterway Books, 1999.
Klunder, Virgil. Lifeline: The Action Guide to Adoption Search. Cape Coral, FL: Caradium, 1991.
Rillera, Mary Jo. The Adoption Searchbook. Westminister, CA: Triadoption Publications, 1991.
--------.Search & Support Directory. Westminister, CA: Triadoption Publications, 1991.
Strauss, Jean A.S. Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents, and Adoptive Parents. New York, NY: Penquin Books, 1994.


Your local public library may be able to provide access to Infotrac, a collection of databases that allows researchers to locate articles, including some concerning adoption.

 *Courtesy of Newberry Library