Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This study documented the experiences adoptees encounter while searching for their birth parents, and how they were effected by searching. The study also assessed the adoptees support for reviewing laws governing adoption records. Twenty-six adult adoptees were interviewed, their responses recorded and analyzed. Adoptees reported learning of their adoption at an early age. Overall adoptees did not have negative feelings about being adopted and reported positive relationships with their adoptive parents. Adoptees reported a variety of reasons for searching for their birth parents and experienced a number of difficulties while searching. Some of the difficulties were: long distances, legal boundaries, and lack of knowledge about how to search. Despite the many difficulties, adoptees saw searching as a positive experience. Adoptees recommend that other adoptees who are considering a search have a strong personal support system throughout the search. Although the adoptees in this study indicated the laws on adoption records need to be changed, a review of literature does not support a change. The available research indicated that a very small portion of the adopted population searches for their birth parents. However, the accuracy of the research may be questioned because it is difficult to accurately determine the number of adoptees who choose to search for their birth parents.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Counseling and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Susan A. Jacoby November, 1993