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Q: The Tony Shellman story [“Profiles in Courage,” January 2004] really touched me and my husband. Shellman said he hired a CI [certified independent] to locate his birth parents. My husband has a 14-year-old son he’s never met because the mother of the child gave him up for adoption before my husband was ever told. We have previously tried to contact the adoptive parents with no success. Can you provide us with any information concerning locating a CI?
— K. Montgomery Rochester, NY
A: Certified independent search consultants (also known as ISCs) are professionals who, for a fee, will find the party you are searching for and ask permission to divulge their identity and location to you. There are several Websites that might help you and your husband find the son he never met.
Reunite (www.reunite.com) is designed to help connect people with their birth families. It includes links to a number of resources, including professional search experts, volunteer adoption “search angels,” and the Adoption.com (www.adoption.com) Reunion Registry (it is probably a good idea for your husband to add his information to this registry). The site also links to an informative article about what to consider when seeking a search professional (http://library.adoption.com/Research-and-Statistics/Choices-in-Searching/ article/843/1.html).
Two other potentially helpful resources worth checking out are: Adoptions Reunited (www.adoptions reunited.com), a free adoption registry that covers the United States and other countries, and Adoptee Birthfamily Connections (www.birthfamily.com), an organization with the goal of mending families torn by adoption.