Explores the obstacles and issues that adoptees, orphans, and foster children face when they have been separated from a parent or denied the right to know their origins

Look Inside

Copyright © 2009, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


"[Looks] at adoption from all sides of the triangle: adoptee, birth mother, adoptive parents . . . A provocative, comprehensive inquiry."
---Kirkus Reviews

"Honest and moving."
---New York Times

"Important and powerful . . . [the author] is concerned not just with adoptees but with the experience of adoptive parents and birth parents."
---Psychology Today

"A moving and powerful plea for open discourse instead of secrecy among the participants in the adoption process."
---Public Welfare, American Public Welfare Association

The first edition of Betty Jean Lifton's Lost and Found advanced the adoption rights movement in this country in 1979, challenging many states' policies of maintaining closed birth records. For nearly three decades the book has topped recommended reading lists for those who seek to understand the effects of adoption---including adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, and their friends and families.

This expanded and updated edition, with new material on the controversies concerning adoption, artificial insemination, and newer reproductive technologies, continues to add to the discussion on this important topic. A new preface and afterword by the author have been added, as well as a greatly expanded resources section that in addition to relevant organizations now lists useful Web sites.

Betty Jean Lifton, Ph.D., is a writer, psychotherapist, and leading advocate for adoption reform. Her many books include Journey of the Adopted Self and The King of Children, a New York Times Notable Book. She regularly makes appearances as a lecturer on adoption and has an adoption counseling practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York City.

Betty Jean Lifton, Ph.D., is a writer, psychotherapist, and leading advocate for adoption reform. Her many books include Journey of the Adopted Self and The King of Children, a New York Times Notable Book. She regularly makes appearances as a lecturer on adoption and has an adoption counseling practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York City.

Adoption Resources

General Websites

Adoption Crossroads: Adoption Crossroads is a search and support network for adoptees and parents who lost children to adoption, and is dedicated to helping people who have been separated by adoption find each other.

The Adoption Ring: Public service ring dedicated to all adoption triad members.

Adoption S.T.A.R.: The Adoption S.T.A.R. philosophy is to provide highly individualized services to Support, Train, Advocate and offer Resources to adoptive parents and expectant parents as they explore the adoption option. They are a domestic and international child placement agency.

Adoption Triad Outreach: Serves those seeking information, healing, support, and truth in their adoption experiences.

American Association of Open Adoption Agencies: These pages describe the way the open adoption process should happen to most benefit the child and all members of the adoption triad.

Child Welfare Information Gateway: Promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families by connecting child welfare, adoption and related professionals as well as concerned citizens to timely, essential information.

Child Welfare League of America: An association of nearly 800 public and private nonprofit agencies that assist more than 3.5 million abused and neglected children and their families each year with a range of services.

Dave Thomas Foundation: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a non-profit 501(c)3 public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 140,000 children in North America's foster care systems ready and waiting to be adopted. Created by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted as a child, the Foundation spearheads programs such as Wendy's Wonderful Kids, which puts adoption recruiters in all 50 states and Canada to find permanent, loving families for children in the foster care system, and Adoption-Friendly Workplace, which encourages employers to offer adoption benefits to their employees. The Foundation also works with adoption advocates and officials to streamline the adoption process and make adoption more affordable for families.

Felix Organization: Adoptees for Children: An organization started by Darryl "DMC" McDaniels from Run DMC and Sheila Jaffe, the casting director of "The Sopranos" and "Entourage," both adoptees who have searched for and found their birth families. This organization provides opportunities and new experiences to children growing up without parents, and especially to send these children to summer camp.

Insight: Open Adoption Resources and Support: Open Adoption Resources and Support.

Judy Kelly's web site: Specializing in Post-Adoption Trauma & Reunion.

Kids and Families Together: Kids & Families Together is a not-for-profit support, education and counseling resource center that provides services for individuals and families in foster care, kinship care and adoption, for the preservation of families and the physical, emotional and mental health of children.

Laws.com: Here at Laws.com we are extremely dedicated to stop crime and award heroes. Laws.com is a firm believer in providing the public with a free flow of information, especially, in the area of crime prevention. Laws.com does not only work closely, but also supports the top organizations around the world. Our goals are to keep the public informed, provide the most updated information on current issues, supply crime prevention solutions, and make sure we help make this world a safer place. We want to help protect and serve all people in today's society. Laws.com will reward the good and help stop the bad, one crime at a time.

Lifechoes: Lifechoes is a unique multimedia website dedicated to the Adoption Triad and owned by NCCAR (North Carolina Coalition for Adoption Reform - www.adoptionreform-nc.org). Their mission is to offer a safe place for any member of the adoption constellation (See "Special Note from NCCAR") who is terminally ill or who may be aging, and does not have hope of finding in time for a reunion. Members can register and leave behind life stories for future or potential searchers.

The Little Prince: A support-based website for adoptive parents whose child has Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Nancy Verrier's web site: Author providing insight into adoption complexities.

National Adoption Center: Adoption information and adoption photolistings.

New York Public Library: Research old newspapers online from this New York Public Library page.

PACER Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities: PACER Center was created in 1977 by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help other parents and families facing similar challenges.

Parent Finders of Canada: The primary aim of PARENT FINDERS is to promote a feeling of openness and understanding about adoption and lobby for open records legislation. Volunteer services include: general counseling, direction on where to obtain background information, assistance in search providing skilled intermediaries, where requested, to make a discreet first contact to the party being sought, maintaining the Canadian Adoption Reunion Register (CARR) wherein birth information can be confidentially filed.

Powerful film: Oregon's citizens pass Ballot Measure 58—opening records

Search Triad, Inc.: Search Triad, Inc. was founded in 1976 and has assisted with more than 1000 reunions. They are an independent, all volunteer, non-profit, search and support group. As a member of the American Adoption Congress their aim is to promote openess, honesty and sound practices in adoption.

Sheila Ganz film project web site: The 56 minute documentary Unlocking the Heart of Adoption bridges the gap between birth and adoptive families through diverse personal stories of adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoptions interwoven with the filmmaker's story as a birthmother revealing the enormous complexities in their lives with fascinating historical background.

Adoptive Parent Groups

Adoptive Parents Committee

Colorado Coalition of Adoptive Families

Families Like Ours

North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)

Wednesday's Child: Special Needs Adoptive Parent Services Boise.

Birth Parent Support Groups

Adoptionopen.com: A meeting place for birth families and prospective adoptive families.

"birth"- Mothers Exploited By Adoption: An on-line resource for mothers who lost babies to the adoption industry in both closed and open adoptions.

The Birthmother Tree: A place of reflection, contemplation, and healing for birthmothers.

The Birth Parent Project: Mothers who surrendered their children can participate in a survey regarding confidentiality and other issues.

Canadian Council of Natural Mothers: An on-line support forum which provides a united voice for Canadian mothers who have lost their children to adoption.

Concerned United Birthparents: A national organization serving those touched by adoption and others who are concerned about adoption issues.

Empty Arms Support Group: An on-line support group for women who surrendered their Only children to adoption and had no others, and have now all reunited with their grown children, and are in different stages of reunion.

First Mothers Reunited: Discussion and support list for first mothers who relinquished children during the closed adoption era (1945-1980).

mamabears.org: An open adoption meeting place for birth families and adoptive families.

Sunflower Birthmom Support Group: An on-line support group and forum for birthmothers where topics such as search efforts, reunion issues, and the feelings that arise from giving up children are discussed.

Advocacy and Adoption Law

Adoptees' Liberty Movement Association (The ALMA Society): ALMA is a membership organization that advocates for the right of adopted persons to know the truth of their origin and is also an adoption reunion registry.

American Adoption Congress: Advocates for humanity in adoption.

Bastard Nation: Advocates for the civil and human rights of adult citizens who were adopted as children. Millions of North Americans are prohibited by law from accessing personal records that pertain to their historical, genetic and legal identities. Such records are held by their governments in secret and without accountability, due solely to the fact that they were adopted.

Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute: Their mission is to provide leadership that improves adoption laws, policies and practices—through sound research, education and advocacy—in order to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption.

The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy: A Free Service of The National Center for Adoption Law.

DNA and Ancestry

African Ancestry: Those of African descent can trace ancestors.

DNA Ancestry: DNA Ancestry is a new Ancestry.com tool for family historians in the field of genetic genealogy.

Family History Records on the Web: The Generations Network of products and services provides the tools that enable people to discover who they are and where they come from.

Kings County Clerk's Office Index To Naturalization Records 1907-1924, Jewish Genealogical Society:

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation: Use DNA to find relatives born before 1900.

Touched By Adoption: Free DNA testing for members of the adoption triad.


Adoptees' Liberty Movement Association (ALMA)

American Association of Open Adoption Agencies

International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISSR): Seeks and promotes, through the reunion registry, the interests of adults desiring and seeking a reunion with next-of-kin by birth. The Registry serves the needs of birth family members who have been separated by adoption, divorce, foster care, institutional care or abandonment.

Metro Reunion Registry: The Metro Reunion Registry serves as a repository of information pertaining to adoption searches by all members of the triad that have been affected by adoption. Registrations include nearly every State, Canada, and over 20 foreign countries.

New York City Birth Index Search Service:

North American Adoption

California Open:



  • Adoption Resource Center of Connecticut: Adoption Resource Center of Connecticut (ARC-CT) is a not-for-profit, fully licensed agency, which provides adoption-related services all along the adoption continuum to all members of the adoption triad. From home studies to post-legal adoption services, from education to support and counseling, ARC-CT is committed to providing services with integrity, compassion and respect.


  • The Georgia Center for Adoption and Foster Care: A state wide project funded by the Georgia Department of Human Resources and presented by Families First and Bethany Christian Services. Its purpose is to increase resources and supportive services for adoptive and foster families and reduce the incidence of disruption in Georgia.


  • Iowa KidsNet: Iowa KidsNet is a statewide collaboration of six Iowa agencies dedicated to the safety and permanency of children and families. By working together with families and DHS, their goal is for all of Iowa's children to reach their potential for greatness.


  • Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange: The Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange is an information and referral service for prospective adoptive parents interested in adopting children with "special needs," and for adoption workers looking for homes for these children. The Exchange produces a monthly photolisting book of waiting Michigan children and of Michigan families interested in adopting children with special needs.


  • Minnesota Adoption Resource Network: Creates and supports lifelong nurturing families for children needing permanency and advocates for the interests of adoptees. Helps adoption agencies recruit and train prospective families, provides continuing education, advocacy and support to people whose lives are influenced by issues of adoption, and heightens the visibility of children in the foster care system who are in need of permanent families.
  • Minnesota Coalition For Adoption Reform


  • Full Circle Adoption-Triad Support Group of North Jersey: An adoption-triad based support group that offers a friendly and confidential environment within the adoption community where members can share their feelings and experiences with others who "get it".
  • New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education: A grass roots organization that supports honesty in adoption through educational outreach and legislative advocacy.


  • New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children: An advocacy organization of concerned citizens and nearly 140 volunteer adoptive and foster parent groups in every region of New York State. The Coalition is concerned primarily with system-change advocacy and individuals taking responsibility for influencing and changing the systems affecting their lives and the lives of their children.
  • New York Statewide Adoption Reform: An advocacy organization dedicated to freeing adoptees from the law which legalizes the falsification of permanent records.


  • Adoption Network Cleveland: Adoption Network Cleveland is a non-profit educational, support, and advocacy organization for all those touched by adoption -- adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents, foster parents, foster children and former foster children, and the professionals who serve them.


  • Texas Adoption Resource Network: The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) brings children with special needs and families who are willing to adopt them together faster than ever before. The children registered in TARE are in the managing conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
  • Texas Coalition for Adoption Resources and Education: A grass-roots organization of adult adoptees, adoptive families & biological families as well as adoption professionals, organizations & others concerned about adoption issues.


  • Adoption Resources of Wisconsin: Adoption Resources of Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that operates from the belief that all children, regardless of their needs, have the right to a permanent family. Since 1982, our mission has been to finding permanence for every child in Wisconsin and to supporting, nurturing and encouraging healthy families. To carry out this mission, Adoption Resources operates an extensive clearinghouse of adoption information and support. We also work directly with agencies and families to help secure homes for children.


  • North American Council on Adoptable Children: NACAC promotes and supports permanent families for children and youth in the U.S. and Canada who have been in care—especially those in foster care and those with special needs.

International Adoption


  • Korean Focus for Adoptive Families: Korean Focus is a support organization for families with children from Korea. Korean Focus provides families, adoptees, adoptive parents, and birthparents touched by Korean adoption with information and programs on Korean culture and the adoption experience. Korean Focus is nonprofit, parent-directed, and agency-independent.


  • Paraguay Adoption Resources: Information source for families adopting from or interested in Paraguay.


  • India Adoption Resources (ICHILD): ICHILD was founded in 1995, and is an internet-based, world-wide support group and source of information & resources for those interested in adoption from India and the Subcontinent. Information including U.S. & Indian agency listings, information on the process of adopting from India, child sponsorship, humanitarian assistance programs, ICHILD mailing lists, the ICHILD Families sections, etc.