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 1. Register with any Parent Finders (PF) group or similar group in your area. Find out when their meetings are and plan to attend as many as possible. You'll receive emotional support and information to help you with your search. Membership places you in their nation-wide collective data base (40 000 + [as of 1997]) to enter your personal data in for cross reference for matches with others searching.

2. Register with the ADR (Adoption Disclosure Register) in the province where the adoption was finalized.

3. Apply for your Adoption Order. Applications can be obtained from your PF Office.

4. Apply with the Children's Aid Society that handled your case for your Non-Identifying background information. If you need help writing this letter, ask a PF volunteer.

5. Collect all your documents, organize them in a three ring binder or folder. Keep all of your information you have collected in this binder: people called, resources you've used, documents you have, and people you've consulted with.

6. Speak with your adoptive family and ask them for any information they may have or can remember concerning your adoption. Remember, anything your family can tell you will be of help. You will need to know:
*what city you were born in
*the name of the hospital
*which organization handled your adoption: Children's Aid Society, Catholic Children's Aid Society, or if private and handled by a doctor or lawyer
*the names of the doctor or lawyer [if handled privately]
*the city the adoption took place in [it may be different from the one in which you were born in]
*if your adoptive family was given verbal and/or written information about your natural family.

7. Ask your family for any documents they received concerning your adoption. These may or may not include the official Adoption Order. The Adoption Order is the court document given to adoptive parents at the finalization of the adoption. It usually contains the adoptee's birth name.

8. Photocopy all documents twice; one copy for your records and one for the PF files. Keep all original documents in a safe place and NEVER give or send them to anyone! A lost document can add years to your search.

9. Ask questions. There are no questions that can't be asked. Never assume that there's no more information to be had. PF will help you to find some of the right questions and will suggest ways to ask them.

10. Put ads in the paper and distribute flyers in the area where your adoptive parents lived at the time of your adoption, not where you were born.
[Note: this just doesn't make any sense to me, chances are high that your natural family are from the area that you were born in, even if your natural mother was sent to an aunt to conceal her pregnancy, there will be some relative there who remembers].

11. Listen carefully. Sometimes people will reveal information, or they will give you verbal leads but not written ones. Learn to listen carefully to the people with whom you speak and ask your questions accordingly.
[Note: I've heard accounts from many persons searching who were told things such as, "I'm not at liberty to tell you that your natural mother's name is [name] at the time of your birth." Also, when certain organizations were visited in person, the worker purposely put the file on the desk and said something like, "I'm going to get us some coffee." or "I need to make some photocopies." in a very particular voice and promptly left the room. Take advantage!! Not every worker will do this, but some do. So, just in case, bring a pad of paper and a pen!]

12. Familiarize yourself with your public library holdings. IE. old city directories [which may be held in the city's archives], old phone books, yearbooks, etc. Find out what resources are available to you. You can use old city directories to locate information such as employment to match up with background information
[Note: the Vernon's Directory is best for this].

13. Go to the nearest book store or library and obtain some reading material on adoption books such as Faces of Adoption, Adoption Without Fear, Adoption Reunions and Lost and Found.

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