Searching for Your Adopted Child

If you would like to search for your child after they have been adopted, please be aware that it can be both a very rewarding and a very frustrating process depending upon how your search goes and whether your child would like to reconnect with you. You will want to plan and organize your search ahead of time, and surround yourself with the emotional supports that you will need during this potentially challenging and very emotional time. Even the most organized search can turn up many dead ends and closed doors, so be prepared for it to take some time.

To organize your search for your adopted child, begin by gathering as much information as you can about the adoption itself. Any information that you can find will help you in your search. If you are having trouble finding some information, ask family members whether they remember anything and check with the state where the adoption took place as well as the adoption agency to see what information you can find in their records.

Once you know which state the adoption was finalized in, you can write a letter to the state or county that finalized the adoption to let them know how to contact you if your child searches for you, and that you would like to be contacted if your child does search for you. You can also obtain non-identifying information about your child from the state, so be sure to ask for that in the letter too. Next, go online and register with adoption reunion sites like and Adding your name to as many sites as you can will increase the chances that your child will find you if he or she searches for you.

It is a good idea to join one or more adoption search support groups or mailing lists. The people in these groups are a wonderful source of support, and can provide useful advice on the search itself as well as the emotions that you are experiencing along the way. You are not alone. There are many birth parents searching for their adopted children, and it is always comforting to seek the company of others that are traveling this often long and twisted path towards reuniting with their adopted child.

If the state in which your child’s adoption occurred has a Confidential Intermediary System, you can petition the court to appoint a Confidential Intermediary to contact your child and ask them whether they would like to have contact with you. This can cost some money, but if the state uses that system and you have the resources to use it, it is very helpful. You could also enlist the services of a private investigator, but they can be quite costly and there is no guarantee that they will find your child. When you encounter what seems like a dead end in your search, do not despair. It is likely that in time, you will find your adopted child – or he or she may even find you first.