Wednesday, April 13, 2016


First of all I want to apologize for not posting sooner but work,family things and just life in general got very busy. Once I met this clerk at vital statistics, she told me to come back in 1/2 an hour because they would be out to lunch. For a second there, I thought this might be some sort of a delay tactic but then she motioned me to come over to a room. She closed the door and told me the reason she told me this was because nobody would be in the office over lunch. She said she'd put my file on a cart in the back of the room where I would be well hidden from view. I could tell that she kind of liked me because I don't know many people that would put their job on the line for a total stranger. She was kind of cute too. Once I returned, nobody was there so I walked right behind the counter to a back room where there was a cart with a single file on it. My wife's brother who was a photography nut gave me a camera that was made for photographing documents, like the kind in a James Bond movie. As I was taking pictures of each document, my wife was feverishly writing notes from the papers as fast as she could. My wife and I were constantly looking at the clock to make sure we were finished by 20 after 12. Right before we left, I took a look at the information that my wife had written down and saw that it was everything I needed to pursue my goal of finding my birth mother. We had crossed the biggest hurdle we would face during my search. Having good information is the key to a successful search,for without that, you're like a leaf floating in a pond. I had what I needed now. I was elated. I shook the clerk's hand and gave her a little something for her trouble and the risk she took. It was now time to go home to Philadelphia and start my search in earnest. The one thing that sticks out in my mind that had nothing to do with finding my biological parents was that we had a 500 mile trip ahead of us in a dangerous ice/snow storm. We should never have left Columbus. It took us 20 hours to get home. The next blog will highlight what I did with this new information and I promise it won't take over a year to make a new blog post. Joseph M. Sabol is a world class videographer and the author of the book "Adoptee - A Childhood of Torment." For further information go to http:// adoptee, Adoptee-A Childhood of Torment, adoption, adoption agencies, adoptions, Children's Protective Services, closed adoptions, finding biological parents, Joseph M. Sabol, open adoptions, social services,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vital Statistics Can Be Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy

I had stated in my earlier posts that the birth certificate is the most vital piece of evidence that you’ll need to be able to effectively search for your biological parents. Your amended certificate as I said has tons of little clues as to your identity but you really have to dig to find the significance of those clues. I said in another post that you have to find out the state where your adoption occurred. For example, if you were born in the state of Ohio, but your adoption took place in Pennsylvania, you would have to search in Pennsylvania. On the converse, if you were born in Ohio, and the amended certificate is from Ohio, you can be relatively certain you were adopted in Ohio. The bureau of vital statistics can be your best friend or worst enemy in helping you complete your search. Vital statistics keeps records of all births, deaths, divorces, etc.. Once you’re at the point of contacting vital statistics, you need to know in advance whether or not it is an open adoption state or a closed adoption state. In an open adoption state, the bureau of vital statistics will allow you, assuming you’re over the age of 18 or 21 depending on the state, to view your sealed file. All adoption files are sealed no matter what state you were adopted in. If you live in an open adoption state, you have a much better chance of finding your birth parents. In a closed adoption state, it’s much more difficult to get the original birth certificate. In a closed adoption state, when you’re actually adopted, the judge will order your file sealed. In order to open your file, you’ll have to petition the family court to have a court order issued to open the file. That’s why I said if you live in an open state it makes your job a whole lot easier. When I went to search for my biological parents, I ran into this problem. At the time, Ohio was a closed state. I knew this but I did not go to a judge to get a court order. Instead, I called the bureau of vital statistics and asked them all kinds of questions or several phone calls. This process serves a number of purposes. The first thing I did was ask the clerks name that I was speaking to. During the various phone calls I made, I sort of made a friend out of her. I would occasionly talk with her about off topic things such as things going on in Ohio or in the news in general. Of course I eventually would ask the crucial question about my file. I asked her things like, “are you certain my file is there since it has been many years since the adoption occurred?” This would require her to get up and go look for my file. She would come back and tell me there was a file there. Then I would ask her if there was any info she could give me that would help me find my biological mother. In some cases she would throw me a bone and there would be something I could rely on to be correct. She would say something like, “I can tell you this, she lived on the west side of your city.” That was a big help because that just eliminated three quarters of a million people. After several calls over time, we were on a first name basis. Finally I told her I need to know this because there may be a serious medical issue. Is there any way I could just look at the file? Let’s take a step back here for a moment, like I said earlier, in a closed state you need a court order to open those files. Judges are human and not robots. A lot of times they will take their own beliefs and apply them to the law. For example, if the judge is conservative, and he himself has adopted a child, he will have his own opinions about opening a closed file. This makes this a very difficult case. I have also heard of judges allowing the file to be opened but all identifying information has been redacted. That does you no good whatsoever. Getting court orders to open an adoption file is a dicey operation. You might get lucky or you may be unlucky and get a hard nosed conservative judge. That is the precise reason I avoided the courts. Going through that nonsense to get a redacted statement is useless. Once I asked that girl at vital statistics, she hesitated and I said ‘come on I need the information” I could have married my sister, who would know. She said ok. She told me to get there Monday at 9:00am. I had to travel about 500 miles to get there since I was living outside Philadelphia , a long way from Columbus. I told her that I wanted to verify that she would be there. She gave me her home phone number. I was in like gold. Joseph M. Sabol is a world class videographer and the author of the book "Adoptee - A Childhood of Torment." For further information go to http://

Friday, October 25, 2013

The First Major Step in the Process of Finding your Birth Parents

The first major step in finding your birth parents after you have thoroughly reviewed your replacement birth certificate is to find out exactly what state you were born in. This may sound silly since you just reviewed your replacement birth certificate, but depending upon where you were actually adopted and it was in another state, your replacement birth certificate would be from your new state. You have to ask your adoptive parents what state you were actually born in. They may ask you why you want to know. The simple answer is, because you're curious or you want to know what sports team to root for. Something simple and believable. There are some adoptive parents that are extremely fearful that you will find your biological parents and love them more because of the blood relationship. In my book, "Adoptee-A Childhood of Torment", one of my cousins was adopted just like I was and her adoptive parents swore not to ever tell her. When she was 21, she found out she was adopted and never spoke to her adoptive parents again, or even attended their funerals. This is why parents are sometimes reluctant to tell the truth when confronted with this situation. Hopefully, your adoptive parents will understand that it is a basic need of an adopted child to know the truth. Once you find out for certain where you were born, you need to call the Dept. of Vital Statistics in your birth state and check to see if they are an open state, closed state or a registry state. If your birth state is an open state, then your search will become a thousand percent easier than if it were a closed state or a registry state. Let's hope all who read this were born in open states. What is the difference between an open state, a closed state or a registry state? Come back to this blog to find out.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Continue the search process

One thing I may have forgotten in the first article is the significance of the birth number on your replacement birth certificate. If you are able to get your original birth certificate, you will need this number to verify that you indeed have the original. There are always certain numbers that are not changed when your replacement certificate is published. You have to do a complete review of your replacement certificate if you expect to have any luck at all in pursuing your search. This search is by no means easy at all. Expect frustrations at every step. Lets look at the replacement certificate again. You have contacted the hospital and the Dr. that delivered you and perhaps you might even have received some information that combined with other information may lead to a significant clue in your search. You know your birthdate, at least I hope you do. That is significant. At this point I would go to the local newspaper. Most newspapers have archived old newspapers. while not necessarily at the paper itself, there my be a service that they use to archive the papers. Look for a daily docket. Your birth may be listed there. I will tell you that this is not the best source because births are usually recorded many days later. There are a million types of searched you could do at that end such as murders, accidents and all kinds of things that may correspond to the replacement certificate. I will be honest here unless you are an experienced investigator , you will in all probability come up empty handed. No matter how insignificant the data. There will be a space there for living/deceased siblings of the birth mother. This is important by knowing that there are other children out there and may prove useful in the later parts of your search. Once you have completed the search based on your replacement certificate you are now ready to move ahead to the next step. Please bookmark this blog, and by the time I'm finished, you will have a much better chance in finding the answers to your questions about your adoption. Joseph M. Sabol is a world class videographer and the author of the book "Adoptee - A Childhood of Torment." For further information go to http:// Joseph M. Sabol is a world class videographer and the author of the book "Adoptee - A Childhood of Torment." For further information go to http://

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How Do You Find Your Biological Parents?

One of the most nagging questions in an adopted child's mind is "who are my biological parents and why did they give me up? Most searches before you turn 18 are totally useless. If you are under 18, the one place I would start asking is the parents that adopted you. In almost all states, when an adoption is finalized by the court, a new replacement birth certificate is created and the very original one is sealed by the courts with all the other documents relating to your adoption. The most important document you have available to you is your replacement birth certificate. There is a ton of information on that certificate that you will be able to use if you are really, truly serious about finding your biological parents. Much of the information is copied directly from the original, sealed certificate. My first suggestion is to read that document, memorize that document to the point where you could repeat it verbatim. Why? A simple example of why you want to do this is because the hospital where you were born has to be listed there. A simple thing like that could open the door to many other clues, such as the name of the doctor who delivered you if it isn't on the replacement document and the date you were born. A hospital may be reluctant to give out any information becuase of the HIPPA privacy laws. They can give you certain pieces of information that will be helpful in your search. For example, you could ask them how many boy baby's or girl baby's were born on that day. Knowing that is a big deal. Then you can contact the doctor if he is still practicing. There are obviously some very special circumstances around the birth of a child that is to be given up for adoption. In my case, even though the doctor delivered thousands of babies, he actually remembered the case of my birth for several reasons. The medical history of my biological mother indicated that childbirth had caused the death of her mother. He also remembered that my biological mother did not want to give me up for love or money. He told me that there was a lot more screaming going on about my mother not wanting to give me up than there was about the pain of childbirth. Right there, you have some very valuable pieces of information to begin this long and difficult search. Please bookmark this blog, and by the time I'm finished, you will have a much better chance in finding the answers to your questions about your adoption. Joseph M. Sabol is a world class videographer and the author of the book "Adoptee - A Childhood of Torment." For further information go to http://