May 24th, 2010
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Once again I’m continuing my series on search options and this post will focus on search angels. So far, I’ve looked at self-searching, confidential intermediaries, and mutual consent directories. In future posts I’ll examine other search options such as independent intermediaries, agency assisted searching, independent search consultants, private investigators, search organizations and DNA testing.

The first and most obvious question is, “what is a search angel?” A search angel is a volunteer who offers search assistance to adoptees and birth family members in their search. Search angels can help in a variety of ways but the main function is to review documents or records available to the public. This can include searching records at a public library, going to a local or state government office (such as an office of vital statistics or city hall) and even going to a public school to view year books. While search angels can be very helpful they are not professional intermediaries and should not be asked to make contact with anyone on your behalf. They are basically your eyes on the ground in a specific geographical area. Search angels do not charge for their services although they will ask for reimbursements for mileage and photocopies and the like. A Google search will bring up numerous websites that list search angels by city and state. One useful site is G’s Adoption Registry.


For many adoptees trying to conduct a search in another state or region of the country one of the biggest obstacles is geography. It is difficult for most people to hop on a plane to go look at a public library’s newspaper microfilm collection in another state or region – especially when such a trip may yield no useful information. Search angels are dispersed all throughout the U.S. so most searchers can find an angel in their desired geographic area. Before reaching out to a search angel it is important that you have gathered as much information as possible on your own. The more information you can share with your search angel the more likely they will be able to find additional information for you. Remember that search angels are volunteers so the level of expertise and commitment may vary. And the amount of time a search angel has to devote to this volunteer work may vary as well.

Adoptees that have already conducted a search for birth family members have the knowledge and skill to help others. Search angel groups are always looking for volunteers so you may want to offer your expertise and time to others. For example, see the Volunteer Search Network (VSN) site or see the pages dealing with search angels. Also check with adoptee or search support listservs and discussion lists in your local area to find volunteer opportunities. Remember to thoroughly check out any website or organization before sharing your personal information.

Search angels are yet  another option in your birth family search. Next time I will look at the issues involved in hiring a private investigator.

Photo Credit.

12 Responses to “Search Options: Search Angels”

  1. jdhicklen says:

    Hello, I am new here. If you are a Grammar Nazi, then please leave me be.
    I am seeking info on a sister that was adopted in Texas. I am not so sure how to use this forum sas of yet, but here is my shot at it. Beloew is what I sent a friend this evening and the shortest way to explain the given situation.

    Now that my bad times are over, it is time to move on. Here is the short story. In 1981 I found out that I was adopted. It was not till 1992 I sought information to find my Birth family. I did fond them. I met my sister in 1992 and everyone else. To add it all I found many from the various family names while doing Genealogy. I did not to get to spend with too much time with the elder ones as they passed within 5 years of me meeting them, as well an Uncle lost 5 years ago. I had a good 18 years with my half sister. I found her 2 years after I last saw you and Ed.

    I am currently writing a book about Genealogy, but do not have the time to look into this one. Of course the Net is around now, unlike it was in 1992. When I met my birth Grandfather in 92 he told me about a sister I had that was given up for adoption, not the one I met, but a different one. But due to the limited information that he did remember much,I had no way of
    looking,or really go on. For 2 years now my sister has been dealing with Cervical Cancer, but I lost her 18 May 2010. During people visiting her I met her Godmother whom I had never met in the 18 years of know Alana ,but this woman knew my birth father well, a she was the best friend of my current sisters mother. So she was around in that timeframe. I was floored when she asked me if I had ever met my OTHER sister? I was dumbfounded.

    Now that I have some time and closure to the recent events of my life I can go on. I was spending 12 to 15 hours a day with my sis in Hospice till she passed. Now I wonder/seek out the info I was given. I know my fathers information and all I have is a name currently of whom the mother was. She was younger than my birth father. He passed in 1971. So this child has to between 37 to 43 I would think. Her mothers name was Ria/Rhea Shaw. I am trying to find more info on her. I am looking into marriage records to see if she stayed around this area. I would think the adoption took place in Texas, as this is what I was told. YOu know how our state laws are here! Sheesh I would like help with this one. I do not have the time nor energy that I once had.


  2. rubenj says:

    I am in diar need for a search angel, i dont kno how to go about it what i need to do i have been searching for almost 2 years for my fiances family, he needs to find his family please contact me at if information if found my fiance is willing to compensate we have a little money please help us

  3. aniksdal says:

    I am a white male born on Septemeber 5, 1969 in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was placed for adoption through the Catholic Charity Services I believe. I am searching for my birth mother and/or father, siblings. I am tall (6’4″) so I’m guessing that my birth parents may have been tall as well.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  4. dgdenton says:

    I was born in Texas and located my BM in 1979. She died 4 Dec 2009 in Tucson, Arizona. I tried to get a copy of her death certificate, but I was denied because I am not her legal daughter. My original BC is not certified and in place of my name is the phrase,”not named”. The State of Arizona would not accept my “Report of Adoption” naming my BM as my mother because I am listed only as “Infant girl Renfro” which of course is not my name. Does anyone have a way I can get a copy? a non-certified copy would suit me fine. I only want to have it for myself.

  5. erin67 says:

    I am in need of a search angel. I cant pay an arm and a leg, but have some. I am searching for my son born 1/14/85 in sitka alaska. I have a website here and facebook, and hotmail addy if anyone knows how to find a search angel, [please let me know, another birthday has come again, and more of my heart went poof not knowning]

  6. djinnfearii says:

    wow thanks i intended to visit this site because im so alone alianated myself from what “family” i have left. but i have always wanted to help my biological brother find his birth father, our mother could not really tell us much about him and our last conversation befor she died was about my brother and his father.

  7. thammar says:

    I am looking for my dad’s biological mother. He was born 2-10-1957 in Mt Pleasant Michigan. Last name given at birth was Brush. He was told that his mother was only 16 when she had him and that the State took him away because of her age. Any information that we can get would be greatly appreciated. Please email me with any info

  8. wendy1961 says:

    I was born Oct. 20,1061 at Ionia Mi. hospital. This is all I know. I have been unable to find out any thng from the court.

  9. spojack895 says:

    I am a 46 year old caucasian male born at 10:22 AM on October 9th, 1965 at St. Joseph hospital in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. My birth mother, Sharon, named me Rodney at birth. My birth father’s name was Rufus. According to the non-identifying docs that I received, I have three half-brothers. I was placed with Catholic Social Sevices of Washtenaw County for adoption, and was placed with a family from Westland, Michigan on November 22, 1965. Looking for birthfamily/relatives.

  10. pup1956 says:

    Looking for my sisters daughter, BORN on june 3, 1969, BORN at jackson memorial Hospital, in maimi, florida, (catholic charities)-BIRTHMOTHERS name- Kathleen Mary Lucas, Kathleen was 15 at time of birth of daughter,Kathleens parents name are Leslie S. Lucas – Rita Lucas, they would have signed the papers. Our family lived in Lauderhill, Kathleen has one Brother, three sisters, can anyone Please help us find her? Laura

  11. chaseroo says:

    I’m searching for my baby brother,we were taken from our parents in 1993,my younger siblings were adopted,but i was placed in foster care until the age of 18.I’m 25 now and have reunited with my birth mother and one brother,but still searching for my baby brother.They had their last name changed when adopted and now its hard to find him.I do have his SS# but no last name to match.His birth name is Christian Frances Fisk born Feb 26 1991 in Dallas Texas.Can anyone please help me? I’m on facebook under Chase Fisk,please help.

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