What is a Search Angel?
A “search angel” is someone who gives of
their time and expertise, without charge, to help people separated from
family and lost loved ones by adoption, foster care, divorce, and
alienation, to find their information and reconnect, if they choose. We
are men and women of all ages and from all socio-economic strata. Some
of us are members of the adoption community – adoptees,
mothers of loss, grandparents, siblings – and some of us are just
concerned genealogists and researchers who have not been touched by
adoption, but understand and appreciate the importance of the work.
Thanks to the wealth of publicly accessible information now on databases
on the Internet, virtually everything we do can be done on the computer
with an occasional contact with a library or other public record
Why do we do this work?
We are united in our
belief that every human being has a right to their identity, family
history, heritage and the identity of those to whom they are blood
related. However, for adoptees, this presents a unique problem. There
are an estimated six to seven million adopted persons in the United
States. Most of these were babies and children who were adopted under
“closed and sealed” adoptions, meaning their original birth certificates
and other identifying information are filed away under lock and key in
state capitals or court or agency records. In 43 states adoptees – and
only adoptees - are forbidden by archaic, outmoded laws from accessing
this information – their very own personal information. Yet, every
year, as the importance of knowing one’s genetic and health history is
generally recognized, and simply because they rightfully believe they
have a right to know, more and more thousands are beginning to search
for knowledge about themselves and their origins. Unfortunately, until
now, many thousands have been exploited and ripped-off by highly
publicized professional search companies who prey upon adoptees’ naivety
and vulnerability and have charged thousands of dollars, many times
with no results, nothing to show for the money lost. These professional
companies then had the funds to advertise and promote themselves, thus
reeling in more victims and perpetuating the vicious cycle.
The recognition of the Search Angel is dawning.
Quietly working away for over thirty years have been hundreds of search
and support groups all over the country, in person and on-line, with
very successful search angels who have solved hundreds of thousands of
cases. Until the advent of the Internet and social networking, we have
not had the organization or funds to make our availability known.
New search angels joining the fold.
We are delighted to receive inquiries daily from people asking how they
can become a search angel and join the network. We are working toward
developing programs to assist these new angels, such as training
webinars, networking, and groups for sharing expertise and guidance.