Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tips for Families Searching for Adoptees

Tips for Families Searching for Adoptees
[Update 4/2018]

It's always wonderful to see parents and siblings signing up and involved in searching for their lost children.  It gives adoptees hope and courage to persevere knowing their original families might be searching for them, too, and are open to contact and would be happy to hear from them.
  I'll tell you what I tell all birth families -- that is, the only things you can do are:
1.    Get your DNA in the major databases - at least Ancestry and GEDMatch
2.   Find out what your rights are and sign up at the State registry, if there is one. To find the laws, go to State Statutes Search, choose the state, then click "Access To Adoption Records."
3.     Contact the agency that handled the adoption and ask to put an updated medical/family history report in the file. Also ask if they have a policy about contacting the adoptee or else if they will give you any information about the family who adopted your loved one.
4.     Sign up at International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR) (download the form from
5.     Register with G's Adoption Registry.    
6.     IMPORTANT:  In the on-line registries, don’t put every bit of information you have; hold some items back to use for verifying that a respondent is legitimate, some things only your true son/daughter would know.
7.     Purchase a list of all MALES/FEMALES born on that day from Ameridex  IMPORTANT:  Watch the cutoff date -- lists are not available for birthdays from late 1980s-forward.  Also, these are not “birth indexes”; these are lists of people born on that day with their CURRENT names, which have been culled from public documents – drivers’ licenses, credit applications, voting registrations, etc.
8.     Assuming he or she stayed in the area where they were adopted, you can look for people still living there.  Take the names to FREE sites such as (People Search),,,, and Google to learn more about them and perhaps find a picture if they are signed up on Facebook and other social network sites. Also check Classmates and E-Yearbook to see if they are signed up (both have a small membership fee).
9.     If you don't want to purchase the list from Kadima, you can get a membership at David Gray's ( (about $25/yr) and search for everyone within a certain zip code born on that day.  Repeat the follow-up steps at veromi, intelius, pipl, Google and classmates.
10.  You can also do the search yourself for free at however, it will not filter male or female like the Kadima list does and will give you many duplications.  The advantage to this site is that you will see places lived and associated persons (spouse, children and other family members).  Since most adoptees were adopted by older couples, look particularly at the ages of those family members associated.
11.  When you search Google, put the name inside quotation marks in the search bar (i.e., “John Q. Public” or “Public, John Q.”) to get the best results.
12.  If you are in the area where you believe they were raised, go to the public library or school library and peruse the high school yearbooks for the years they would have been 14-18.  Many of these yearbooks are now on-line at Classmates, E-Yearbook, and Ancestry membership fee).
13.  Place a "Happy Birthday" ad in the local paper around the time of their birthday.  "I think about you every day,” “Would love to see you again," etc.  
14.  Contact the local newspaper and television station and ask if they are interested in doing a story about families searching for people “lost to adoption.”  This might be more appropriate for siblings searching for an older brother or sister, since the media is usually hesitant to help mothers.  On the other hand, the more mothers who contact the media gets the message out there that we are here and open to contact and longing to know about our son/daughter, which in turn might encourage more adoptees to begin a search.
15.  Set up a special "search page" at Facebook with your name as it was when you gave birth and put in your interests or profile "searching for child born on [date] in [city]".  If you have other children, be sure to add them as friends and post pictures.  Believe me when I tell you how exciting it is for an adoptee to search the internet and find pictures of his or her bio family!
16.  Finally, be sure to have a special email address specifically for your search to field responses.