Reuniting with Birth Family: How to Search for Your Birth Relatives

Many, if not most, of us know and are connected with our biological families and relatives in some way or another. This isn’t always the case, however, especially for those who were adopted. Being adopted doesn’t mean that you didn’t have a warm, loving, and caring family growing up, to this day. Still, there’s this innate urge, for many, to get to know their biological relatives, especially in the case of biological parents and siblings.

Knowing the people you share genetics with is a gift not to be underestimated. Sparking a bond with someone you thought you would never see in your lifetime, even though they’ve given birth to you, for instance, can be both an exciting and scary adventure to go on. Or, you could be seeking out your birth relatives to find out more about who you are, biologically. It’s useful to know more about any genetic health problems that could be passed down to you, for example.

For many, looking for birth relatives and planning to make contact with them can turn out really well – a true happy ending, where new doors to a second family have opened up in your life. In other cases, biological relatives don’t want to be found. Unfortunately, this is a reality that you need to be prepared for. Rejection is a possibility, especially if we don’t know exactly why we were given up for adoption in the first place.

You’ve made up your mind and you want to take those first steps in finding out who your biological relatives are and muster up the courage to reach out and create that connection with them. Here’s how you can start.

Reflect on What You Might Already Know

Speak to your adoptive family first, especially your adoptive parents. Chances are, they’ll have some information about your biological parents and relatives – even if just a little. Any information is good to use and build from, so think hard about what basic details you might have overheard at some point in your life, especially when you were a child. You may have thought about it already, but if you haven’t, have a look at your original birth certificate and you’ll get some basic information with which to move forward.

Start with photos. These are good clues to jog the memory. Show them to your adoptive parents and they might know someone in those old photos. That could be someone significant in your biological family, or it could be someone who used to be a close friend of your biological parents. If this is unsuccessful, try a reverse image search and see what you Google turns up for you. There might be a link to a family tree website that could open up a world of information about your biological relatives for you.

Gain a Digital Age Perspective

Simply put, it’s not all that difficult to find someone online these days, particularly when they’re living in the same country as you are. We’re living in a time of the internet, where information is readily available, wherever you are, and you’ve got access to a host of tools online to make connections with people, starting with as little information as possible.

You don’t even have to worry about going to the adoption agency from which you were adopted, anymore! In the days before the ease of digital and the internet, going back to adoption agencies was the only way to get any lead on finding one’s biological parents. Sometimes the trail stopped abruptly if the agency didn’t exist any longer and you were left clutching at straws. The tools are readily available to aid you in your search – you’ve just got to take those first steps and check out online adoption registers and government records.

Use a People Finder Website

After you’ve tried Google and were not successful – after all, you wouldn’t be here if you were – the best tool to use to find out information about anybody would be a people finder website. Let’s say you’ve got the name of your birth mother and biological father and want to know more about them. At this point, you aren’t even sure if they’re still alive, let alone have a phone number or any contact details with which to trace them. Plug their names into Nuwber and see what you turn up. People finder websites have access to a large database of public records about citizens in the United States, so it’s very likely that you’ll find something regarding their marriage records, where in the country they’re currently staying, or even whether they’re alive or not.

Get to the Root with DNA Testing

Find out more than you’d expect with DNA testing, from services like MyHeritage or 23andme. It’s a fairly simple process to follow – you’ll receive a DNA testing kit by post and all you’ve got to do is take a swab or two and send it right back. Soon enough, you’ll have information about your ethnicity, ancestry, and possibly even your family tree. This is a particularly good tool if you know nothing about who your biological family is, so it could be a useful place to start in that case.

That being said, know that you’d be giving up some very intimate data (your DNA) when using services like these, and privacy is not guaranteed.

Social Media Impressions

By using people finder sites or adoption registers, you’ve probably found a name and even place of residence of your birth relatives. Before taking the plunge and reaching out, find out a little more about them by looking them up on social media. Sometimes pressing enter on the search bar could turn up your biological father or mother, but sometimes you might have to be more specific by filtering results. Have a look at their lifestyle through social media and find out if you feel good about making contact.

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