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Searching for biological parents and siblings in Poland

Some people know from the very beginning, others find out by accident, others, sensing that “something is wrong”, conduct their own investigation by searching registers of registry offices or interviewing the family. But they all end up at the same point. With the news that you are adopted comes the certainty that there was drama in the past early in their lives. No one gives up a child for no reason. The search for biological parents is a painful process – not only for those seeking, but also for their adoptive and wanted parents. Those looking for their roots are aware that discovering their own origins can be difficult and you do not always reach what you would like to see. Some people are inhibited by the feeling of guilt towards their adoptive parents, sometimes by the fear of being rejected by their biological family once again, but above all by the awareness that at the end of the search you will have to face the person who should be the closest, but for unknown reasons decided to sever all ties with us in the past. Not everyone feels up to such a confrontation. In addition, there is often a lack of knowledge of where and how to look. In such situations, it is worth using the help of a detective lawyer.

Here is some useful information about finding your birth family:

Only an adopted child can look for a biological family. Not the other way around.

When hesitating to start looking for biological parents, one should reject thoughts such as “if they wanted to, they would find me.” The place where history ends for the biological family is the court. There, the biological parents’ ties with the child they have given up or whose parental rights have been taken away from them are severed there. No state agency will help biological parents in the search for a child who has been given up for adoption. The law protects the child in this situation. The child had no influence on how his story turned out, and he – and only him – was granted the right to learn about this past voluntarily.

A child adopted in childhood can start searching after reaching the age of majority.

The first step in finding the biological family is usually obtaining the child’s data from before adoption. Data such as: name and surname before adoption, old PESEL number, names and surnames of biological parents are included in the decision in which the adoption (adoption) is decreed. The decision on adoption also includes the number of the birth certificate drawn up at the registry office competent for the place of birth, containing the child’s previous data. The above birth certificate (informally referred to as the primary one) is accompanied by the file number of the case concerning the waiver or deprivation of parental rights of the biological parents. Knowing the reference number of the case file, we are able to find it in the appropriate court, gain access to it and learn about such data as the personal details and address of residence of biological parents, as well as knowledge about possible siblings. The court shall provide access to the files of the case to the person concerned, if he has reached the age of majority. However, those looking for a biological family do not always have a decision on adoption, the first information is usually obtained by obtaining data from registry offices.

There may be no mention of adoption in the birth record of an adopted person. Adopted people can have two different birth certificates.

This happens when there is complete adoption between the adopted child and the adoptive parents (in Polish law, we distinguish three types of adoption: full, full, irresolvable – so-called complete and incomplete). Total adoption causes the most far-reaching effects in the legal situation of the adopted and the adoptive parent. This adoption is characterized above all by inseparability and complete secrecy.

A new birth certificate is drawn up for the adoptee, in which the data of the adoptive parents are entered as parents (as if they were the biological parents of the adopted person). In the previous birth certificate (which we informally referred to as the primary one above), the fact of drawing up a new birth certificate is noted in the form of a note – from now on it is not subject to disclosure and no copies are issued from it; it can be said that it is “taken out of circulation”. From that moment, when the adopted person applies to the registry office for a copy of the birth certificate, he receives a copy of the new certificate, which does not contain any data about the previous family or the adoption itself. The new act is drawn up as if the adoptive parents were the biological parents of the child, and the adoption itself never took place.

In such a situation, the only indication that there was an adoption in the past and, as a consequence, a new certificate was issued, is the date of the birth certificate, which is visible on the complete copy (there is no such date on the abbreviated copy). Pursuant to the regulations in force until 1 March 2015, a 14-day period from the date of birth was valid for reporting the birth of a child to the registry office. Thus, if the date of drawing up the birth certificate differs significantly from the date of birth, there is a high probability that adoption took place in the past and a new birth certificate was prepared. As we have already mentioned above, no copies are made from the existing birth certificate, however, the adopted person may familiarize himself with the information contained in the “old” birth certificate, referring to Art. 73 sec. 3 of the Act of November 28, 2014. Law on civil status records (i.e. Journal of Laws of 2016, item 2064). Pursuant to the above-mentioned provision, a complete copy of the current (i.e. “old”) birth certificate, together with documents from collective civil status records, may be issued at the request of a child after reaching the age of majority.

Obtaining data from official registers is the first and simplest stage of searching for a biological family. The next step is to “physically” find its members. Considering that the data obtained by the seeker come from the moment of renouncing or depriving the biological parents of parental rights – i.e. from at least a dozen or so years ago, it should be taken into account that they are simply out of date. The family could not only change the address of residence, but also personal data – waiver of parental rights is made mainly by young, unmarried women – when the adopted child starts looking for a family – they often have new surnames and have new families. An inseparable element of the search then becomes environmental interviews – obtaining information from neighbors, friends and relatives of the biological family, finding which also often causes many difficulties and requires a significant amount of time. It is in such cases that it is worth considering the help of a professional.

A private detective operating within a detective and legal agency can join at any of the above stages or lead the entire search process from the very beginning. By using the help of a detective office, you are not directly involved emotionally during the activities, you also do not expose your biological family to a direct confrontation “by surprise”. Both parties gain the necessary time to get used to the new situation. You can be content with information about your biological family collected by a detective and legal agency or – if both parties so wish – the detective will lead to a meeting of both parties.