What is a Search Angel?
A “Search Angel” is someone who gives of their time and expertise, without charge, to help people separated from family and lost loved ones by adoption, foster care, divorce, and alienation, to find their information and reconnect if they choose. We are men and women of all ages and from all socio-economic strata.
Some of us are members of the adoption community – adoptees, mothers of loss, grandparents, siblings – and some of us are just concerned genealogists and researchers who have not been touched by adoption but understand and appreciate the importance of the work.
Thanks to the wealth of publicly accessible information now on databases on the Internet, virtually everything we do can be done on the computer with an occasional contact with a library or other public record facility.
Why do We do this Work?
We are united in our belief that every human being has a right to their identity, family history, heritage, and the identity of those to whom they are blood-related. However, for adoptees, this presents a unique problem. There are an estimated six to seven million adopted persons in the United States.
Most of these were babies and children who were adopted under “closed and sealed” adoptions, meaning their original birth certificates and other identifying information are filed away under lock and key in state capitals, or court records, or agency records. In 40 states, adoptees – and only adoptees – are forbidden by archaic, outmoded laws from accessing this information – their very own personal information.
Yet, every year, as the importance of knowing one’s genetic and health history is generally recognized, and simply because they rightfully believe they have a right to know, thousands are beginning to search for knowledge about themselves and their origins.
Unfortunately, until now, many thousands have been exploited and ripped off by highly publicized professional search companies who prey upon adoptees’ naivety and vulnerability. Many of these have charged thousands of dollars, many times with no results, and the person searching has nothing to show for the money lost.
These professional companies then have the funds to advertise and promote themselves, thus reeling in more victims and perpetuating the vicious cycle.
Recognition of the Search Angel is Dawning
Quietly working away for over thirty years have been hundreds of search and support groups all over the country, in person and on-line, with very successful Search Angels who have solved hundreds of thousands of cases. Until the advent of the Internet and social networking, we have not had the organization or funds to make our availability known.
Where Can I Find a Search Angel?
Thanks to social media such as Facebook and Internet forums over the past 20 years, it has become relatively easy to find a Search Angel. For example, just Googling “Search Angel” (in quotation marks) will bring up many pages of go-to sites to begin your journey.
READ MORE AT WOMEN’S VOICES MAGAZINE