The answer is definetly not an easy one nor is it the same for everyone. From personal experience and from working with fellow adoptees the decision can take days, months, or years. All of this is natural and normal...there is no timeline. The question I would have you ask yourself is what is the true purpose of searching? Is it to find out about your medical history, curiousity, to meet family that actually looks like you, or maybe to learn about where you came from (origin and roots) and/or a combination of all of the above. All are valid either way :)
Sometimes people ask and wonder if they are ready. I'm not sure if we can be 100% ready but I'd like to offer some thingw to consider before searching. What social supports to you have during the search; friends, therapist, partner, family or chosen family. A search can take a while or it can move quickly or both with possible surprises; therefore it will be important that you have 1-2 people that you can lean on regardless of the outcome. I like to say that if you are in a part of life that you know that no matters what the outcome or what happens that you will be ok afterwards at least 90% then I would say it is safe to move forward. What other life changes and/or events are happening right now in your life? If there is a lot of change occuring, maybe waiting a little until things settle down a bit could be helpful so that you have the emotional energy that is needed in the process. Having ways to stay grounded and good self care habits will come in handy as well.
Another piece of advice from my own experience and observation is regarding whether or not to share our intentions of a search with our adoptive parents. Some adoptees have supportive adoptive parents and are able to gain access to their adoption paperwork and do not have to worry about how a search may affect their relationship, which is always nice to hear. However, there are many of us that do not have this or find themselves in the middle somewhere between both ends. The most important thing to know is that you are not obligated ot share anything about your search with your adoptive parents unless you want to. Remember we don't owe them anything regardless of what society or our inner programming says. If it will cause you more stress by sharing with them, and if they have low emotional intelligence or self-awareness, you might want to reconsider how much you want to keep them in the loop. The search and aftewards can be overwhelming at times, I wouldn't want you to also be feeling the need to manage their feelings or putting their needs first because at the end of the day, it is not about them but about you. It's always ok to put you first in this process.
I must share that a search often times can trigger our AP in ways that they weren't expecting as supportive as they have been in the past. This can trickle out in passive agressive comments or in other ways. You know your Aparents the best and do what is best for you. You can lightly present the thought casually and see how they initially respond to help navigate how much you would like to include them or not during the search process if needed. This includes post search as well and especially if your first family is located.
I hope this was helpful and remember this is your process and journey that we were placed on before we had a choice, and now you can decide how it plays out :)
My best with hugs,