SEARCH: A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents by Jayne with Bob Oskam Askin

SEARCH: A Handbook for Adoptees and Birthparents

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Adoptees seeking their birthparents and birthparents in search of their relinquished children will find this handbook crammed with helpful strategies--from general sources of information to sample letters of request, to specific state-by-state data. Askin, who diligently tracked clown her own birthparents, has organized a mass of material to satisfy the needs of individual searchers without redundancy overall. Thus, the chapter on reference resources (libraries, the National Archives, the Mormon Church, among others) provides full descriptions of services, costs, and addresses. Chapters on primary and secondary sources of data (birth, hospital, and agency records; school or service records, newspaper ads, obits, etc.) provide model letters and tips on making use of even tiny recollections: if your mother was a class officer at one of several local colleges, write to the college libraries for lists of officers' names (or even yearbook pictures); if you have the name of a possible grandparent who is deceased, read his or her obit for the names and hometowns of survivors. Other chapters give sensible advice about costs, support groups, reunion registries, and hiring consultants. In the case of sample letters, alternative phrases are suggested (a nice individuating touch); an extensive appendix (100 of 300 pages) summarizes laws and policies, lists addresses of state records offices, and gives names and addresses of support groups for each state. Since the search process is essentially extra-legal (most states seal the original birth certificate and issue only amended information to the adoptee; only documents issued before the actual relinquishment are available to birthparents), many of the strategies involve subterfuge: write letters claiming medical or legal needs rather than mentioning the search; advertise looking for ""an old school friend""; suggest that an agency social worker ""remain silent if a question is true and reply if it is false."" Overall, however, this guide is likely to diminish the amount of time searchers spend looking for sources, and will surely provide support throughout the process.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1982
Publisher: Harper & Row