The journey to learning how to find biological parents can be an emotional and difficult task for adoptees. It’s natural to develop a curiosity for the people you’re related to and in some cases, your search may be driven by a need for practical answers. If you’re ready or are considering finding your birth parents, read on for some useful tips to guide you in your search.
Ensure You Are Ready
Searching for your birth parents can be a delicate task, so you have to prepare yourself for it. You want to think about what your goal is in finding your parents and consider all possible outcomes.
You may be driven by a desire to learn about your heritage and the people you came from. You may want to know more about your medical history. It’s helpful to have a goal in mind so you can keep this in mind during what might be a difficult journey.
To best prepare yourself, you want to consider the outcomes you might be faced with in learning about your biological parents. You may learn your birth mother or father has passed away. Your birth parents may not be interested in having a relationship. Either of your parents could have a concerning behavior or habit.
On the flip side, meeting your parents could be a happy occasion for everyone. It’s possible you may not find any information about them at all. Knowing each angle of what could happen will help you best prepare as you start your search.
Steps You Can Take To Find Your Birth Parents
You’ve decided you are ready for this journey and need to learn how to find your birth parents. The process will take some research but there are several places you can start.
1. Discuss With Your Parents
If you have a relationship with your adoptive parents and feel comfortable doing so, consider talking with them first. They may have some information that can be useful in your search, such as the adoption agency they used or any known relatives.
Your adoptive parents would also know what type of adoption you were involved in. This information can be useful in knowing how to look and preparing yourself for whether you’ll find information or not. An open adoption or semi-open adoption will likely yield more useful information while a closed adoption could make the process more difficult. There’s also the possibility of a foster care adoption, which could help you find a different place to start.
Before you speak with your parents, know that they may have some feelings of rejection. The conversation could be a hard one to have, so prepare yourself for a discussion about your intentions.
2. Check Adoption Reunion Registries
Adoption reunion registries, which are also known as mutual consent registries, are a great place to start your search for your biological parents. State and national registries or databases are set up to connect people with family members. Adoptees and biological parents can sign up for these registries on their own with the intention of being found. This means you are more likely to connect with a birth parent who is looking for you.
It’s also possible you may get a match with a family member. This could be useful in your overall search so it’s a good idea to register for one of these databases. Even if your search stops here, as there is a possibility you may be denied access to adoption records, your information would be available if one of your birth parents registers in the future.
3. Request Adoption Records
Adoption records are accessible when adoptees reach the age of 18–21 years old, depending on the state. Once you access this information, you may receive identifying information that could lead you to the identity of your biological parents. Of course, this information can only be given if the birth parents have consented to have their information released, which would have been elected during the adoption.
If they have not consented, you can obtain a court order that establishes cause for releasing this information. The cause could vary by state but may include medical history. You also have the option of obtaining your original birth certificate, which was issued before the official adoption. Depending on your state’s laws, an original birth certificate usually must be obtained through a court order.
4. Contact The Adoption Facilitator
If your adoptive parents used an adoption agency or you were adopted through foster care, you can contact that adoption facilitator. This group or individual may have access to identifying information about your birth parents that they could provide to you. Depending on the type of adoption, this information may not be available. However, if you are unable to access information from the state, you may have better luck going through the original adoption agency.
5. Use a DNA Testing Service
With the advancement of technology, there are many DNA testing services and databases you can use that may help in the search for your birth parents. When you submit your DNA, it is placed in a database where you may find matches to your birth family. You may match your birth father or mother or another family member. Either way, this could be valuable information in your search efforts.
Searching for your birth parents can bring forth lots of emotions, especially when the outcome isn’t how you envisioned it. There are plenty of groups for adoptees you can become a part of to get some support not only in your search but in general living as an adoptee. Lean on those close to you for support as well as this could take a toll on your mental health.
This article was written exclusively for Love What Matters by Kate Fann. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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