I began my official birth family search in March 2014 by sending a letter to Holt International Children’s Services. I was sorely disappointed when I received a letter back stating that they could not find a record of me. They ended the letter by saying that it was possible that I was adopted from a similarly named agency called Holt Children’s Services of Korea.
It took me a full month to recover from the blow I was given. It took a lot of effort to finally get over all the emotions I had to send that letter. Now I was back to square one and had to go through it all over again. “Am I really supposed to be doing this? Maybe this is a sign that I shouldn’t start The Search.” It may seem like something so small and easy to someone who isn’t adopted, but for me this was one of the biggest decisions of my life.
Step One: Read “How to Request Adoption Records”
Complete Steps 1-3.
Step Two: Write a Letter to Birth Family
Include basic information about yourself and family, why you are searching, what you are doing now, what activities you enjoy, etc.
Step Three: Find Pictures of Yourself
I personally skipped this step, but you can feel free to send old or new pictures of yourself.
Step Four: Send an Email
Attach all documents and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotmail? Yes… Hotmail. I bet ya didn’t even know that people still had Hotmail much less an international organization. I was skeptical, too, but it’s legit. Make sure to put “Post Adoption Services” in the subject line and give a brief introduction in the email body.
*This picture is actually of KSS (Korea Social Services), another adoption agency. For some reason, I thought to take a picture of this agency and not one of my own.
When I finally decided that I wanted to open a search for my birth family, I wasn’t sure where to start. I knew I was adopted from Holt in Korea and Bethany Christian Services in the USA. I decided to start with BCS.
April 7, 2014
I went to the BCS website and filled out their contact form for what they call “Post Adoption Support.” I received an email that said I would get personal contact from Bethany within two business days.
April 14, 2014
I haven’t heard from anyone. I called 1-800-BETHANY and was told that the person who handles international adoptions only came in on Wednesdays and that I should expect a call from “Josh” on the 16th.
My first step to opening a birth family search was to request my adoption records. My parents had some paperwork in a filing cabinet in the house, but I always found misplaced papers between files. I wanted to be sure I had everything. Requesting my file was fairly easy after I found the right contact. You can read more about my experience later. But for now, let’s focus on how to get your adoption files in hand.
Step One: Make Sure You were Adopted from Holt Children’s Services
Holt Children’s Services is a different agency than Holt International Children’s Services. If you know you are from a Holt agency but are unsure which one, you can always contact both.
Step Two: Fill Out Paperwork
– Petition for Adoption Information Disclosure
– Holt Request Form
Fill out as much as you can.
Step Three: Scan the Information Page of Your Passport
It’s the colorful page with your picture on it. If you do not have a U.S. Passport, you can read my step-by-step guide to getting one.
Step Four: Send an Email
Attach all three documents and send an email to email@example.com. Hotmail? Yes… Hotmail. I bet ya didn’t even know that people still had Hotmail much less an international organization. I was skeptical, too, but it’s legit. Make sure to put “Post Adoption Services” in the subject line and give a brief introduction in the email body.
Step Five: Wait for a Response
I know it’s hard. But remember, Korea is 12-13 hours ahead of us so you may get a response in the middle of the night.
That’s it. Pretty easy, right? For more information about Holt Children’s Services of Korea you can go to their website.
If you’re interested in going a step farther, you can open a birth family search.