The following is preliminary data obtained from the ongoing OBC Tracker survey, which began collecting data from adoptees on March 28, 2017. Data is current as of April 30, 2017. See notes below about use and interpretation.
A total of 433 adoptees have responded to the OBC Tracker Survey to date.
Overall, 397 adoptees (92% of all respondents) have sought some form of information, whether identifying or non-identifying information.
Sixty-five percent (260) of those who have sought information have specifically sought an original birth certificate. Eighty-four percent (335) of those who have sought information have sought non-identifying information.
Of the 397 respondents who have sought any information, 66% (261) have used or are using DNA.
Of respondents who have sought any information—whether an OBC, identifying information, or nonidentifying information—DNA is the second-most used resource (261 respondents), only slightly behind direct requests for information from a government agency (274 respondents).
The use of DNA cuts across all requests for information, whether identifying or non-identifying, and appears to be used increasingly as a replacement for seeking information contained in an original birth certificate. Statements by respondents indicate how they are using DNA and how DNA tests will likely, if not already, shift fundamentally how identifying information within adoptions is sought and obtained.
“Searched for about 30 years, using a confidential intermediary for most of it. I got some tidbits but not much. Then I did a DNA test and located both birthparents within 6 weeks.” —Texas
“I finally got results after two DNA tests. I found my birthmother, but I know I may never get my OBC no matter what we try.” —New York
“Ancestry DNA provided the opportunity in 2013 to begin the search for [my father] again, since I had no name or anything. In 2014, I found the right connection and eventually his identity.” —South Carolina
Of the 260 adoptees who have specifically sought an original birth certificate, 28 percent (73) have received it. This includes all states represented in the survey, whether or not the state provides unrestricted access, conditional access, or generally no access to the OBC.
177 adoptees (45%) have used a search angel, while 142 respondents (36%) have used a voluntary adoption registry.
The average age of adoptees at the time they first sought information was 34. The average year of birth is 1966. On average, adoptees have spent 11 years seeking information of some sort.
Of the 367 adoptees who reported their financial costs in seeking information, forty-six percent have spent more than $300 to obtain information, with 20 percent spending more than $1,000, and 12 percent spending more than $2,000.
Of the the 36 respondents who indicated that they have not sought any information, five are actually in reunion and did not seek information (three had already been found by birthparents, one had found a birthparent through an “internet forum,” and one had found a birthmother by “other means”). Other reasons for not seeking information included the likelihood of failure in getting information as well as not wishing to upset adoptive parents.
Forty-three different states and the District of Columbia are represented by at least one respondent. Seventy-two percent of the U.S. born adoptees in the survey were born in New York, Texas, California, Florida, Ohio, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Fourteen respondents are intercountry adoptees.
Notes on this Preliminary Data
Data is based on a total of 433 entries received as of April 30, 2017, after duplicates and incomplete entries have been removed. Data is considered preliminary and subject to change, as entries continue to be collected and analyzed. Information provided here may be used without express permission so long as credit and a link back is provided as follows:
Credit: Preliminary adoptee rights survey data, as of April 30, 2017, provided by Adoptee Rights Law Center PLLC. Data subject to change.