Search and Reunion Information

For adoptions facilitated by Catholic Charities of Harrisburg, we can help adoptees and birth parents in certain search activities. For a $100 fee, you can request written medical and non-identifying information compiled from the original adoption record. In addition, birth parents and adoptees can keep current contact information on file with our office.

Search and reunion services may be available if our office was involved in finalizing the adoption.  The typical fee for these services is $400 and involves searching for the relative, acting as intermediary for contact if it is desired by all parties and facilitating the reunion if feasible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is non-identifying information?

Non-identifying information is information in the adoption file that can legally be provided to any member of the adoption triad. This information will not infringe upon the anonymity and confidentiality of the birth parents, adoptive family or adopted child. It may include family background, hobbies, education and physical descriptions. This information is generally compiled and sent to the searcher within two weeks of receiving the necessary paperwork.

Why can’t I know their names?

Any information which could deny anonymity and confidentiality is considered identifying information. It is against Pennsylvania laws for agencies to release this type of information. After the search is complete, and both parties mutually agree, they may choose to disclose their own identifying information in person. Identifying information can include names, last known addresses, hospitals and schools.

What if I only want medical information?

The adoption file only contains medical information received at the time of the adoption. It is usually very brief. Any medical information on file is provided as part of the non-identifying information. However, it is also available separately if the adoptee isn’t interested in knowing other information about the birth family. The only way to obtain an updated medical history is to search for the birth parents and ask if they are willing to share their family’s medical history.

Do I have to tell my parents?

We do not require that the adoptive parents be informed of any search efforts. However, including parents in the process can result in a positive experience and a stronger relationship. For birth siblings who want to do a search, the birth parents’ permission is needed in some circumstances.

Contact us for more information:

Click here to make a payment via the Catholic Charities Adoption Payment Form


Catholic Charities Adoption Services and Specialized Foster Care not only provides foster care and adoption services, but it also helps adoptees and their birth families to connect with one other through Search services. Nearly 50 years ago, Tina was an accomplished athlete who found herself pregnant while pursuing an advanced degree. With housing and supportive services from Catholic Charities, Tina made the difficult decision to place her daughter for adoption. Following the adoption, Tina pursued her career as an athlete, coach, and business administrator. While she was confident that she had made the right decision, Tina constantly thought about the daughter she had placed for adoption and wondered about her well-being. She eventually made attempts to find her daughter through various sources and by updating her online information in the event that her only child might someday want to meet her. After several years, Tina had come to the conclusion that meeting her daughter was just not meant to be.
This past year, Tina’s daughter, Beth, contacted Catholic Charities with a request for information about her birth parents. After talking with Beth and encouraging her to pursue the search, Catholic Charities was able to connect Beth with her birth mother. The two later traveled to meet each other, and Tina was given the opportunity to meet Beth’s husband and daughters. Tina was thrilled to learn that she was a grandmother, but she was most happy to hear that her daughter had loving adoptive parents who had given her a good life. Tina later wrote to Catholic Charities that “I think someone did a lot of praying and the prayers were answered.”

- Anonymous
Council on Accrediation Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations United Way

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