Search Basics

Steps in the Search


Step 1: Contact the government department responsible for adoption in the state where the adoption occurred. Make application for a) identifying information and b) non-identifying information. In Queensland, as part of the Department's information package you will receive an Authority Form that is needed for other steps in the process of the search.


Adoption Services Qld (AdS)

(07) 3097 5100 or 1800 647 983


For further info you may want to contact:

Right to Information 

(07) 3097 5605 or 1800 809 078

(RTI search fees apply)

Step 2: Adoptees can apply for a full Original Birth Certificate from the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. Birth parents can apply to receive an Amended Birth Certificate that contains adopted persons identifying information.


Births Deaths & Marriages

137 468

(Authority Form required)



Step 3: Apply for change of name by marriage details for female adoptees and birth mothers. Ths may need to be done in other states.


Births Deaths & Marriages

137 468

(Authority Form required)



Step 4: Electoral Rolls are public records and available for viewing (A-Z for the whole of Australia at your nearest office). Check under birth mother's surname or adoptee's name at the time of their adoption.


Australian Electoral Commission

13 23 26 (local costs within Australia)




Step 5: Check other resources for clues in social and medical information; past electoral rolls, telephone books, marriages in other states and internet search under known names.


State Library of Queensland, White Pages, Family History websites and Births Deaths & Marriages.

Step 6: Apply for other certificates (such as Death Certificate information) if no record of change of name by marriage can be located or you cannot find the person on the electoral roll under their maiden name. This information may enable you to search for other family members.


Births Deaths & Marriages

137 468

(Authority Form required)



Step 7: If an address is located consider how to make contact, Jigsaw recommends writing a 'first contact' letter (we offer 'first contact' support and will write and send letters on your behalf to an addressee you have found plus the option to use the Jigsaw post box. 


Jigsaw Queensland

(07) 3358 6666





Step 8: If you have an indigenous heritage Link-Up Queensland has specific help available. 


Link-Up Queensland

(07) 3638 0411 or 1800 200 855


Step 9: For international family and post-adoption tracing and reunification that includes confidential contact facilitation and support, we recommend International Social Service (ISS).


International Social Service

1300 657 843



For more information on what to expect as you undertake your search and reunion journey, become a member of Jigsaw Queensland to receive the free Putting The Pieces Together Guide booklet (available for sale to non-members via email). The guide will equip you for the journey of search and also seeks to raise awareness about the other parts of the search and reunion process.


Those affected by adoption can contact our Forced Adoption Support Service on 1800 21 03 13. 

While you wait, don't neglect the inner journey. Make contact with Jigsaw Queensland for support, knowledge and guidance.

Call Jigsaw today on (07) 3358 6666

Call Forced Adoption Support Services on 1800 21 03 13

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