Searching for Your Birth Parents

If you are adopted, there may come a time when you decide that you would like to search for your birth parents. Whether your motivation in conducting your search is to learn about your family’s cultural or health history, to locate one or both birth parents in hopes of reuniting with them, or another reason entirely, the search for your birth parents is an emotional journey that may take some time. Since the search for your birth parents is likely to be filled with a variety of emotions, be sure to surround yourself with people that can provide the emotional support to you during this very important event in your life.

Before you begin searching for your birth parents, it is important to think about whether you are ready to do so. Many adoptees have formed ideas about who their birth parents are, or expectations about how they will feel when they meet them. If you are willing to set aside your ideas of who your birth parents are, and any expectations that you may have formed about how you will feel when you meet them, this is one sign that you may be ready to move forward with your search. Another sign that you may be ready is that you have come to terms with your adoption, and have talked with your adoptive family about your search. Many adoptees fear that their birth parents will be hurt if they search for their birth parents but this is often not the case at all. Many adoptive parents are supportive of their adopted child’s search for his or her birth parents and can be a great source of emotional support during that search.

When you are ready to begin searching, start by writing down everything you know about your adoption such as where it took place, what hospital you were born in, what agency handled your adoption, and so on. Your adoptive parents are likely to have a great deal of information about your adoption, so you may want to ask them what they know. As you gather information, gather any documents that you can find as well.

Next, contact the state or the agency that handled your adoption. They can provide you with some information about your birth parents, although they cannot provide any information that would help you identify them. Let the state or agency know that you would like to be contacted by your birth parents if they search for you, and provide your contact information. After that, go online and register at as many adoption reunion registries as you can to increase your chances of finding your birth parents. Be sure to search the sites to see of they have been looking for you.

The agency that handled your adoption may be able to help you get in contact with your birth parents. Contact the agency and let them know that you want to find them, and see what they can do to help. Adoption agencies sometimes also provide counseling and support around birth parent searches. If your search ends up with you finding your birth parents quickly, that’s great. If not, do not despair. Sometimes birth parent searches take years, especially if people have changed their names or have otherwise made it more difficult to locate them.