Every canton operates an information service that can help adopted children to find out more about their history.
Contact the information service of your canton of residence or, as a next step, the canton where the adoption took place (addresses at the bottom of the page; web page available in German, French and Italian).
If you were adopted, you can request records from the cantonal information service about your biological parents and their direct descendants. You have the right to access your adoption records. However, you cannot request this information until you have reached the age of 18, except in cases of legitimate interest (e.g. when a hereditary disease is suspected).
The cantonal service will contact your biological parents and inform them of your request, provided they can be traced successfully (i.e. their identity appears in your adoption files). If this information is not available – for example, if you are a foundling – then they cannot be contacted.
If necessary, the cantonal service will also help you to arrange or facilitate a meeting with your biological parents, but they will not be obliged to meet you if they do not wish to do so, nor will they be obliged to provide you with further information.
If you were adopted and want to find other children of your biological parents, or if one of your siblings was adopted and you want to find them, all three of the following conditions must be met:
The birth siblings you are looking for are traceable. This is the case when the birth parents were Swiss citizens and their children were registered in the Swiss civil register.
The siblings are aged 18 or over.
They have agreed to disclose their identities.
You can request information from the cantonal service at any time regarding children you have given up for adoption. However, you only have the right to obtain this information if the adopted child agrees to disclose it to you. If the child is a minor, they must be capable of judgement and their adoptive parents must agree to disclose their identity.
Researching your origins involves administrative fees. These vary from canton to canton but generally amount to several hundred francs. The amount also depends on the type of request: simple file access, sending information, support from a member of the youth welfare office, etc.
You can contact the relevant cantonal offices (web page available in German, French and Italian) directly for information about the fees involved.