Many adopted children feel a desire to find their biological families at one time or another, but it can be an extremely difficult process even in the best of circumstances. In closed adoptions where the records are sealed, it can be even harder to find enough information to start your search. Fortunately, there are more tools than ever available both online and off to help you reconnect with your family. If you're wondering where to start, read on for five steps you can take to find your biological family.
1. Try a search with the information you have.
Anyone who has some basic information to work with should consider using a people-search website. You can search people free online and find out a lot using services like a public records search engine. You may be able to use what you have to find additional details like their phone number, current address, or other contact information. It can be tough to narrow down the results enough to know for sure whether or not you've found the right person, so it may be worthwhile to do some research before you start your search.
2. Talk to your adoptive parents.
The best place to start when researching your birth parents is to talk to your adoptive parents. No one is going to know more about your adoption. However, the amount of information your adoptive parents have about your birth family can vary significantly based on what process was used in your adoption. Open adoptions typically involve the adoptive parents knowing the identity of the birth parents, and in many cases, they remain in contact to some degree. In closed adoptions, records are often sealed, and it can be impossible to find anything other than non-identifying information.
3. Reach out to your adoption agency if you have one.
Even in closed adoptions, your adoption agency may have some personal items left to you by your biological family. Though they're often prohibited from providing personal details or information, you can still find out a lot about your birth parents. Many agencies will be able to tell you, for example, whether or not you have any biological siblings. This can be extremely useful information to have if you're trying to find your biological family.
4. Use social media.
The internet is an incredible tool for anyone looking to find or reconnect with long-lost friends and family. Facebook is the most widely used platform, so it's usually the best place to start looking. Still, don't neglect other platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Even if you can't find the profile of the person you're looking for, you may find people connected to them or who may be able to provide you with additional clues as to your family's whereabouts.
5. Think carefully before contacting them.
It's important to remember that getting in touch with your biological family can be emotionally fraught. Just because you're ready to reconnect doesn't mean that they are, and you may be in different stages of your emotional journey with regard to processing the adoption. It's always a good idea to leave a message or mail a letter rather than showing up on someone's doorstep. That way, they can get in touch when they're ready to.
There's nothing easy about finding your biological family, even on an emotional level. Take advantage of free people search services and the ability to find public records; you may be surprised by how much you can learn even without all of your family's personal details. Your adoptive family and adoption agency may also be able to point you in the right direction, though adoptees with sealed records may struggle to find identifying information. Many people have also shared stories about finding biological relatives using social media. No matter what your approach is, you should always make sure you're respectful in the way you approach your family so you can avoid having a negative experience.