Simplifying A Complex Process

How to start searching for your birth mother

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Adoption

Searching for your birth mother can be a deeply emotional and complex journey, especially in a state like Michigan where specific laws govern adoption records and searches. Michigan has laws that balance the privacy of birth parents with the rights of adoptees to access information. Understanding these laws can help you to make informed decisions as you begin searching. 

In Michigan, adoption records are generally sealed, but adult adoptees (18 years and older) can request non-identifying information from their adoption agency or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). With that said, identifying information, including as names and addresses, can generally only be released if both the adoptee and birth parent have consented to the disclosure through a mutual consent registry.

Getting started

Before starting your search, gather as much information as possible about your adoption. This information may include:

  • Adoption agency details: The name and location of the agency that handled your adoption
  • Adoption records: Any documents or records you may have, such as your original birth certificate or adoption decree
  • Non-Identifying information: Details about your birth parents provided by the adoption agency, which might include their age, physical description, education level and medical history

Michigan operates a Central Adoption Registry that helps connect adoptees and birth parents who are looking for each other. Both parties must voluntarily register and consent to the release of their identifying information. You can register with the Michigan Central Adoption Registry through the MDHHS website by submitting a Central Adoption Registry application.

Depending on your unique situation, you may benefit from searching genealogy websites, connecting with leads via social media or even hiring a private investigator. Seeking personal legal guidance can help you create an informed plan of action.