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How to search for genealogical records when you're adopted.

If you're an adoptee searching for your biological roots, you face a formidable challenge — most records of modern adoptions are sealed. In fact, Alaska, Alabama, Kansas, New Hampshire and Oregon are the only states that currently allow adult adoptees complete access to their birth records.

So how do you hurdle that brick wall? Start by requesting nonidentifying information, such as location and time of birth, from the adoption agency. If you don't know the name of the agency, call the state social services department or the birth hospital to ask. (Check the government section of your phone book, or type the state name plus social services department into Google <>.) Unfortunately, this isn't always successful. If you do learn the name of the adoption agency but discover it no longer exists, check with local historical societies to see whether they have the records (or know who does).

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