Adoption registries vary from national to state or even local. There are hundreds and it can be difficult to decide where to register. Some are free and some have costs. We recommend the free ones since there are obviously no guarantees.
The pro to a registry is there is always the chance that there will be a correct match. The con is that even if there is a match it may not be the right person.
It is a personal decision as to which registry you want to choose and at this time I have chosen not to endorse any particular one.
What about Reunion Registries?
Registries are wonderful, but they only work if BOTH parties have registered on the SAME registry. For many this will simply never be the case. There are other reasons a registry may not make a match:
The other party may be deceased.
Some registered with the agency years before with the mistaken belief the agencies share the information with a state registry. They do not.
An incorrect date of birth was entered. (It can happen for a variety of reasons.)
Some states/agencies changed the place of birth.
Some states at one time issued a birth certificate from the state of placement instead of state of birth. That is rare, but it did happen.
How many Registries are there & why are more people not matched?
Searches, like life itself, are filled with choices. Even those who search on their own are spending money along the way.
Some eventually choose to invest more by hiring adoption agencies that offer to search, BUT... the agencies demand control not only of the search (which is not guaranteed and sometimes billed hourly), but how the other person is contacted, and what is required in order for a consensual reunion.
There are two basic facts about registries:
1. Registries do NOT co-operate with one another.
2. Registries can work and there have been many matches, but certainly the number of people on multiple registries prove that they do not work for the majority
The oldest reunion registries are ISRR (International Soundex Reunion Registry) which is free, and ALMA, which requires a registration fee before any information will be released. Both were established years before the Internet existed.
Almost every state had a support group or groups that kept registries. Many of those groups no longer exist and their registries have disappeared.
State operated registries emerged between late 1980 and 1999. They do charge registration fees, and some prohibit siblings from registering.
The groups that maintained registries certainly did not hand over their records to the state, nor would the states have accepted them.
The number of registries on the Internet is unknown. In an effort to get a somewhat accurate count of the number of registries available, Kinsolving found 289 registries on the Internet in one day, at which point we gave up looking.
Some of the Internet registries only had a few hundred entries. Most had thousands and several had 40,000 plus entries. The collective numbers of entries was staggering. BUT many of the Internet registries have come and gone. The information filed on them has disappeared as well.