ADULT ADOPTEE SERVICES
Children’s Home Society recognizes the importance of family relationships to both the adoptee and the birth family. We are pleased to help you discover your heritage, learn more information about your birth parents, and perhaps reunite you with your birth family.
DISCOVERING YOUR HERITAGE
CHS can prepare heritage summaries for adoptees who were placed by the agency. This is a summary of the adoption record containing medical and background information about an adoptee’s birth family. A heritage summary does not contain copies of documents from the adoption record and it will not include identifying information about the birth family.
Although the information in each heritage summary is unique, in most instances it will include information about the birth parents’ ages, physical appearance, religious beliefs, race, culture and/or ethnic backgrounds, education, employment history and hobbies or interests. It may also include information about birth parents’ extended family members, a description of the relationship between birth parents and the circumstances surrounding the adoption.
To obtain a heritage summary:
- Complete the request form
- Mail us the form, along with a check for $175 made payable to Children’s Home Society. The fee covers the cost of retrieving the adoption record from our storage facility and the professional time involved in preparing the report.
Children’s Home Society of Virginia
4200 Fitzhugh Ave.
Richmond, VA 23230
- A social worker will contact you upon receipt of your information.
REUNITING WITH YOUR BIRTH FAMILY
Adoptee: If you are over the age of 18 and were adopted in Virginia, you can initiate a search for your birth family. Our agency can only conduct a search for those adopted through Children’s Home Society.
Birth family: If you are a member of the birth family and have critical medical information to share with the adoptee, a social worker can contact the adoptive parents to relay this information. However, a physician or licensed mental health provider must certify in writing with a clear explanation as to the reason the information be conveyed. The same holds true for the adoptee and adoptive parents who want to convey critical medical information to the birth family.
Birth parent: If you are a birth parent you may call the agency to update your file. You may write a letter to your birth child and update medical information and contact information. This information will be placed in the child’s file to be received if he or she should ever contact the agency.
Adoptive parent: If you are an adoptive parent you may request non-identifying information from your child’s adoptive record. The adoptive parents can also request the agency act as an intermediary for the purpose of exchanging pictures and non-identifying information, such as letters, with the birth parent(s). The adoptive parent(s) and birth parent(s) must both sign a written agreement.
HOW TO BEGIN YOUR SEARCH
Step 1: Complete the Adoptee Application for Disclosure, have it notarized, and mail it to the Virginia Department of Social Services Adoption Unit, 801 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219.
Step 2: Following receipt of your application, the Virginia Department of Social Services Adoption Unit will assign the agency who facilitated your adoption to conduct the search.
Step 3: CHS will contact you when we receive the case assignment (also known at the Letter of Appointment) from the Adoption Unit. You must then complete our Service Fee Agreement and send the completed form, along with a $500* check, to our office. Once we have received this information, a social worker will contact you to begin your search.
* This fee covers the cost of pulling the record and sorting through the file to locate the birth family’s identifying information. It also offsets the cost of technology used to locate current contact information for the birth family, as well as the social worker’s time spent contacting the birth family, facilitating the exchange of non-identifying information, medical information and the reunion. The fee also pays for the counseling that is provided to the adoptee and the birth parents throughout this process.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
- The social worker will speak with you regarding your search and what has brought you to this courageous point.
- The social worker will review your adoption file to find the identifying pieces of information to help locate where your birth family is today.
- If the social worker is able to locate your birth family, she will discuss the birth parent’s willingness to make contact with you. The social worker will offer the birth family the opportunity to update the adoptee with medical information, exchange non-identifying information, pictures or make direct contact.
- If the birth parent(s) refuse to have contact with the adoptee, the social worker must honor this wish. The social worker will try her best to obtain any information that would assist the adoptee in learning more about his or her identity.
- If the birth parent agrees to have contact, the social worker will facilitate the exchange of non-identifying letters.
- If the birth family and adoptee agree that they would like to have direct contact, the social worker will send a report to the Adoption Unit with a recommendation to grant or deny the adoptee’s Application for Disclosure.
- The social worker must wait for written permission from the Adoption Unit before releasing the identifying information.
- When written permission is received, the social worker will help facilitate the reunion.