Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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 facility.

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.

2 comments:

  1. Priscilla, I would love to dedicate more time in learning how to be a "real search angel"! So far I have been just kinda winging it along using the information that I know about Michigan. But I know that we need more help and even my daughter would like to be involved with searching as much as she can.
    I think that using my daughter as an example, the more that we educate the "younger" generations that have also been traumatized by adoption the further we will get! I learn so much from all of you search angels and I also want to reunite families! So what do you suggest?
    Hugs,
    Claudette

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  2. Claudette ~ You are already earning your wings with your search and support activities on several Facebook sites. I encourage prospective search angels to join these groups, read the posts and files, learn searching techniques, and, as you have, don't hesitate to jump in when you spot a case where you can help. That's how I got started many years ago, then picked back up when I retired and now going full blast every day. Some search angels can only do a few cases a year, but that doesn't mean their wings don't shine just as brightly. In fact, the opposite, I think. Each case is more precious and the memories last longer. Bless you and all the other dedicated angels!

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