Adoption brings a child born to other parents into a new family. Birth parents have a number of reasons for placing children for adoption. Overall, they want better lives for their children than they think they can give them.

Adoption Registry Database:
A database of adoptees, biological birth family members, and adoptive family members seeking to find each other. is a searchable registry which has existed online for more than 12 years, and has led to thousands of family reunions.

Adoptive Relative:
A family relation established by a legal proceeding that creates a parent-child relation between persons not related by blood.

Birth Mother:
A woman who has given birth to a child and is the biological mother, as opposed to an adoptive mother.

Biological Relative:
A person related by descent rather than by marriage or law.

Biological Sibling:
A person's brother or sister with whom they share a genetic makeup inherited from one or both of their shared biological parents.

Birth Index (BI):
State list of those born on a given day - only a few have one available.

Children's Home Society (CHS):
Children's Home Society was a very popular adoption agency in many states.

Department of Social Services (DSS):
DSS is state agency that facilitates adoptions.

Mutual Consent Registry:
All registrants agree to meet and know the other person.

Non-Identifying Information:
Health and other family background information which is commonly exchanged or otherwise made available to the other members of the adoption triad, but which does not include identifying information, such as names, addresses, birth dates and telephone numbers.

Information about the other party usually limited to ages, physical descriptions, talents and hobbies and basic medical data. State laws vary as to the release and definition of non-identifying information. Cost as well as the amount of information received will depend on the agency or court that releases it.

To obtain your non-identifying information contact the agency that arranged the adoption. If you do not know the agency, you may contact the California Department of Social Services.

Search Angel:
A search angel is an Adoption Search Volunteer willing to work with adoptees and their birth families for family reunions. Adoption searches may be made easier with an adoption search angel and there is no charge.

Social Security Death Index (SSDI):
The Social Security Administration Death Master File contains information on millions of deceased individuals with United States social security numbers whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. Birth years for the individuals listed range from 1875 to last year. Information in these records includes name, birth date, death date, and last known residence.

A term used to describe the three-sided relationship that exists in an adoption between birth parents, adoptive parents and the adoptee.

Volunteer Search Network:
A worldwide group of volunteers who have come together to offer their services to people touched by adoption who need search help. They make no profit on services; it is at a cost only basis. The volunteers charge only for what it costs them to help you.