If you are an adoptee, curiosity about the details of your birth never goes away even if you were happy with your adoptive family. The quest to find your parents may be rooted in a keen interest in your family tree, but it is also something that is encouraged by family specialists. As an advocate for adoptees seeking to find biological parents, we found that filling in the blanks in your medical history is one of the most important outcomes of the search.
Brief History of Adoption in New Zealand
In New Zealand, adoptions by non-family members peaked in the 1960s with about 2,500. This figure rose from 1,000 in the 1950s but has since declined markedly for various reasons.
New Zealand used to subscribe to closed adoptions or confidential adoptions. Under the closed adoption system, records of the birth parents are sealed, making it difficult to run investigative traces with little or no information available. The system has since been changed to encourage open adoption. Under this system, the birth parents and the adoptive family agree to a certain level of ongoing contact.
Strategies to try when Looking for Birth Parents
Researching the circumstances of your birth is an emotional process regardless of your reasons for wanting the information. It may be worth your while to work with a third party to pull the information on your behalf so that you have a buffer, and you can make informed decisions at your convenience.
The Department of Internal Affairs has a searchable database of births, deaths and marriages. However, the birth certificate provided on this database is a post-adoption document, so you will need to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate from the Office of the Registrar-General. This option is available only to those who are 20 years and older. If information about your birth parents is found in this document, you will be asked to appoint an independent counsellor. The document will be released to your preferred counsellor who will be guiding you through the next steps in your birth parent search.
To find birth parents, the offices of the Child, Youth and Family service could help if you have your original birth certificate. Records of the CYF could yield details that were provided when you were placed for adoption.
Another option when trying to find your parents is to enlist the services of a licensed investigator such as Moratti & Associates. We have the experience and investigative manpower to find individuals who may have changed names due to marriage or moved several times in so many years. We have access to databases that may provide key information in your search.
Confidentiality and Reliability
We are aware that efforts to find your parents are highly charged matters for all parties. We make sure that our research is handled in a sensitive manner and that no direct contact is made with the other party without your approval. Confidentiality is assured at all phases of the investigation, and we make sure that you have the final say on how to handle the information and the persons you set out to find.
If you are curious and wish to take the next step in your birth parent search, give us a call to discuss your options at 0800 667 288 (0800 MORATTI).