Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tips for Families Searching for Adoptees

Tips for Families Searching for Adoptees
[Update 8/2021]

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.
  It is very difficult, if not impossible, to find an adoptee who is not also actively searching.  Here are some things that have proven successful:
1.    Get your DNA in the major databases - at least Ancestry23andMe 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.  UPDATE. 10/2018:  Apparently Ameridex (Kadima) is now member-only access.
8.    Another option is to get a membership at David Gray's ( (about $25/yr).
9.  Take the names to other sites such as Intelius, Google, etc. and search for other bits of information about them.  Purchase a membership at Classmates to see if there are yearbook pictures.  Other sites for yearbook pictures and public information are AncestryE-Yearbook, and MyHeritage (all subscriptions from $30-$100/yr).
10.  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.
11.  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 (all subscriptions).
12.  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.  
13.  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.
14.  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!
15.  Finally, be sure to have a special email address specifically for your search to field responses. 


  1. Absolutely hands down the most helpful post I have ever seen in the last 2 years of searching!

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.