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 (if named on the original birth certificate).
Adult adoptees, age 21 or older, send two completed forms and a copy of photo ID to the registry to request the release of their adoption information. These forms are; the Identifying Information Consent #47896 and the Non-Identifying Information Consent #47897. If the birth parent 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. This information will include a copy of the original birth certificate and a record of the adoption. If the birth parent has registered, the adult adoptee will also receive the current contact information for their birth parent. The birth parent will also receive the adoption information and the current contact information for the adult adoptee.
Birth parents can continue to register with the ISDH Adoption Registry. They should send two completed forms and a copy of photo ID to the registry. 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 adult adoptee is also registered. If so, a “match” is made and it is determined that both parties have agreed to the exchange of contact information. They will send the adoptee the name, address and phone number of the birth parent. The state will send the birth parent the name, address and phone number of the adoptee. Both parties will receive a copy of the original birth certificate. If the adult adoptee has not registered, the birth parent will receive non-identifying information. At this time, the birth parent could also proceed with requesting a search for the adoptee (see step 2).
The adoption registry is a free service. Adoptees must be at least 21 years old to receive identifying information. Birth fathers cannot utilize the registry unless they were legally married to the birth mother when the child was born, or they legally established paternity for the child. The registry also offers options for siblings to connect and/or relatives of deceased adoptees or relatives of deceased birth parents. 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
Search services are available for birth parents and adult adoptees. 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
- Lutheran Social Services, Fort Wayne
The birth parent may request a search for the adult adoptee. After a search has been requested, the social worker will attempt to locate the adoptee. 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.
The adoptee may request a search for the birth parent. Once located, the birth parent would not need to register because their identity would have already been released by the registry. However, the birth parent could choose to continue to keep their current contact information confidential or give the agency permission to release that information to the adoptee.
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, Shamia.
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: Shamia, 2500 Churchman Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203.