Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tips for Families Searching for Adoptees

Tips for Families Searching for Adoptees
[Update 4/2016]

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.     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."
2.     Join on-line search groups – The Registry at Yahoo Groups is a good one that will offer aggressive search angel (free) help in addition to a passive registry (
3.     Contact the agency that handled the adoption and ask to put an updated medical/family history report in the file.
4.     Sign up at International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR) (download the form from or visit them on Facebook (Reunion Registry – ISRR).
5.     Register with the ads for paid searchers; this is a free site to register).  Keep a list of every place you post and check back often; these are passive sites that will not notify you of a match. 
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 that 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 to see if they are signed up (Classmates is 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,, and (membership fee).
13.  Place a "Happy Birthday" ad in the local paper or Craig's list, around the time of their birthday.  "I think about you every day,” “Would love to see you again," etc.  (IMPORTANT:  Be cautious of responses from Craig's List -- there have been scammers known to populate that venue.)
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. 


  1. Thank you for sharing such wonderful information.!
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  2. Absolutely hands down the most helpful post I have ever seen in the last 2 years of searching!

  3. Thank you that's very interesting information I am a birth mother looking for a son I gave up for adoption in 1967 through the Louise wise agency in New York City he was 18 months at the time...

  4. I am looking for two Birth Mothers for my two youngest children. Both women are un-documented which is making things much more difficult. I am very grateful to have been directed to your blog.

  5. Love #6! In all the decades I've spent searching I have kept certain information a 'proofs'-because the information would be known only to immediate family or, perish the thought!-adoption agents or court officials.
    I have often thought of taking out an ad seeking my younger sister, but she was not even a year old when we were separated and has no memory of me, her brother of parents. So doing this would be an exercise in futility!
    For those of you seeking a birth certificate please remember that if you are not born in the state of the adoption, there is no birth certificate to be had. No one carries a birth certificate about on their travels and certainly not the parent(s) intending to offload a child or children to anyone that will take them as they drive out of town with impunity.
    36 states still uphold the closed adoption-sealed document mentality. Some will allow petitions to the court in which the final adoption order was made to access the birth information (see my caveat above on this) and to review the adoption file. However, every state has different protocols for submitting this petition, and submission does not guarantee that the court will grant your request.
    Above all, never give up hope and never let any agency (public, private, state, country, church or social service, etc.)tell you NO! Demand your rights to retrieve your own information. There are always ways to skin a snake!
    Make legislators hear your stories. Tell them over and over and over again until they get it. Break the adoption is wonderful myth and the other myth that highlights #AdopteesInSearch as ingrates. And if you have been abused, mistreated or traumatized in any other way, MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! As children we -or at least many of us-were victimized; but only children are victims-adults are not victims unless they choose to be.
    Share your knowledge with others in search and with the public who has no clue. Even if no one has helped you search please help those who are searching if only because you might lesson their burdens.
    good luck to all.
    And have your DNA analyzed! Finding full sibs and parents is rare, but there may be a cousin you don't know who has the key to who you are, or who can verify your early memories.