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Find Birth Parents — California Non-Identifying Information

Find Birth Parents In California By Obtaining Non-Identifying Information 

We just received a comment to one of our posts from Lynn.  She asked us for help to find her birth parents.  Here’s what she wrote: 

“Hi, I was born on 10/24/1964 in Torrance,CA Los Angeles County. The hospital was Torrance Memorial Hospital. The agency was Los Angeles County Bureau of Adoptions. The Decree was finalized on 9/24/1965 in the Superior court of Torrance, CA LA County. The Judge was Alen Miller. My State file # on BC: 64-310109 Local #7089 056263. I was told my mother was a highschool student and 14 years of age. My Birthname was Baby girl O’Rourketo complete.”

Lynn, when searching for birth parents, in many instances, having a last name is not enough to complete a successful search, particularly when the name is common like “O’Rourke.”  Even having both the first and last name of your birth mother may not be enough.

The most important step you need to take is obtain your non-identifying information.  Non-identifying information is background information about your adoption.  When it is prepared, the preparer typically (but often not too successfully) attempts to remove all the identifying information.  Non-identifying information might disclose…

  • Age information on your birth mother
  • Education background of your birth mother
  • Her religious affiliations
  • Her physical description
  • Medical history of your birth mother
  • Your birth family nationality
  • Professions of the birth mother and her birth parents
  • If the birth mother and father were single or married
  • Hobbies
  • Why you were put up for adoption
  • Ages of the birth grand parents
  • First names of grand parents
  • Additional historical information 

Here’s what you need to do to obtain your non-identifying information:

Send a letter to:

California Department of Social Services Adoption
Support Unit 744
P. Street, MS 3-31
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-8088  

Here’s what you should write: 

“Dear CDSS:

I find myself in urgent need of a copy of the non-identifying information on my birth parents.  The following is information you will need.  Please note that I am not requesting any identifying information or an amended birth certificate.

Present Name:
Current Address:
Date of Birth:
Adoptive Mother’s Maiden Name:
Adoptive Father’s Name (when it is available):

Any efforts you can provide will be appreciated more than you could ever know.  Thank you very much.


Lynn, please have your letter notarized before mailing to CDSS. 

We have to warn you here, it may take a few weeks or more before you receive a response from CDSS.  Then after following their directions, it may take you several more months before receiving your non-identifying information.

Once you obtain your non-identifing information, please write us back and refer to the date and title of this post.  We’ll then assist you in finding your birth mother.  Our treat!

Please write back if you have any questions. 

Find Your Birth Family

There are 8 Comments

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  1. Eva Maxson says:

    I am searching for non-identifying information as well I just learned of this technique, will it work in the state of ohio? or new york my adoption was finalized in ohio, but i was born in new york.??? please help me…too??

  2. admin says:

    Hi Eva. Because you were born in one state and adopted in another, it will be more difficult for you to obtain your non-identifying information. New York will not have anything for you. You’ll likely need the name of the adoption agency that handled your adoption in Ohio.

    If there was no agency and your adoption was private, there’s an outside chance you can obtain your non-id via the court of jurisdiction. Contact them and ask if they have an adoption unit or division that handles adoptions.

  3. Shellie says:

    I am in the same situation born in NY. I was taken home 3 days later to Atlanta, GA not sure where the adoption finalized. Do not have any information on any agency or specifics on to the adoption. Who wold I contact in GA, I am not familer with court of jurisdiction.

  4. Cathy says:

    ok I need or want to find out about my heritage. I was 14 mos when adopted and had been in foster care. thinking maybe a newspaper w/birth announcements may have truth?? San Mateo county soc. serv. adoption. 1956 I was born 5/15/54 . they kept my given first name: Cathy . Now, can I walk into the state records office? I live right here in Sacramento…

  5. carolinda says:

    I am a female, I was born 3/12/1970 at Mt Zion Hospital in San Francisco CA. It was an arranged adoption. I started looking a few years back but didn’t pursue it. I got some info re: my parents last names may be Quevedo and Barbosa. I may also have a brother. I would like to reach out to them at this point in my life. I would appreciate any information/contacts. Thank you

    • Dana says:

      Hi Carolinda. Can you please call us to discuss this search? Our toll free number is 1-888-965-6696. Thanks!

  6. Cyndi says:

    I am searching for my birth sister. She was born in September 1975, but I do not have the exact date, in Memphis, TN. I believe she was adopted through Catholic Charities. My mother’s name was Rita Marie Robinson. Any information is appreciated. Thank you.