1. Adoption Matching Registry
The first step is the Indiana Adoption Matching Registry. The Indiana State Department of Health has established a free adoption history registry for adult adoptees and birth parents. This registry is considered a mutual consent registry. Therefore, if both parties agree to exchange information, the exchange will be made.
An adult adoptee (age 21 or older) or a birth parent (if named on the original birth certificate) sends two completed forms to the registry to agree to the release of their information. These forms are; the Identifying Information Consent #47896 and the Non-Identifying Information Consent #47897. When the ISDH receives the forms they process the information to determine if the other party in the adoption is also registered. If so, a “match” is made and it is determined that both parties have agreed to the exchange. They will send the adoptee the name, address and phone number of the birth mother. The state will send the birth mother the name, address and phone number of the adoptee. Both parties will receive a copy of the original birth certificate. It is up to the two parties to make contact with each other.
An exciting new law is in effect as of July 1st, 2018. This law allows adult adoptees to request their adoption information without the birth mother’s consent. If the birth mother has never registered, the ISDH will search to see if the birth mother has submitted a non-release form requesting that her information remain blocked. If she has not submitted that form, all adoption information will be unsealed and provided to the adult adoptee.
The adoption registry is a free service. Adoptees must be at least 21 years old to receive identifying information. Birth fathers are not allowed to use the registry unless they were legally married to the birth mother when the child was born, or they legally established paternity for the child. This registry is for adoptions that took place in Indiana.
You can print the forms #47896 and #47897 directly from the Indiana State Dept. of Health website. Mail the forms to the address listed on the forms under the signature line.
If one party has failed to register to exchange information, the adoptee or the birth parent can contact their adoption agency to request a search (see step 2). Most agencies charge a fee to perform a search. If an agency does not provide search services, you may petition the court to have a Confidential Intermediary appointed to complete your search.
2. St. Elizabeth|Coleman Services
You must have registered (step 1) and received a response before you can request a search.
St. Elizabeth|Coleman's search services are available for those whose adoptions were completed by
- St. Elizabeth's Pregnancy and Adoption Service
- Coleman Adoption Services (AKA Suemma Coleman)
- Catholic Charities
- Children's Bureau or
- Lutheran Family & Child Services
After a search has been requested, the social worker will attempt to locate the other party to inform them of your interest and educate them about their options. Once located, they will have three basic options.
- Option 1 is to register with the Indiana Adoption Matching Registry, allowing the release of confidential information.
- Option 2 would be to choose to correspond with the other party through the agency while keeping their identifying information confidential.
- Option 3 would be to refuse any contact or correspondence. If this occurs they will be asked to provide a verbal update of their medical history or personal situation.
More on fees and how to request a search below.
3. Requesting a Search
To begin a search you must send a request to the agency. This search request should be signed by you and your signature needs to be notarized. If you aren't sure you're ready for this step, you may visit our Start a Search page to fill out the email form requesting more information and detailed instructions from our Search Specialist, Katrina.
What to include in the envelope:
- Request form
- A non-identifying letter: This letter is to introduce you to the person you are searching for, to explain why you are searching for them and to explain what you are hoping to accomplish. First name only, and do not include information on residence, employer, etc. Your letter will be read. If you inadvertently add something identifying it will be blocked out, and a copy of the corrected letter will be used.
- At least one recent photo:that has not been used on social media
- A copy of your photo I.D.
- Check or money order: made out to St. Elizabeth | Coleman for the $350.00 fee.
Place all the above items into the same envelope and mail to St. Elizabeth | Coleman, Attention: Katrina, 2500 Churchman Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203.