There was a time when the only resources available to adoption reunion searchers were other community members and the church. Eventually government agencies were set up to help but today, with the rise of the Internet, there are a vast number of public and private resources available. The biggest challenge now is sorting through all that’s out there and discovering what is truly helpful. That’s why we have created this article: we’ve done the preliminary research work to provide a list of support resources and materials that are truly helpful for anyone seeking to reunite with birth family. The resources we include in this article can be placed in the following categories:
- Adoption Reunion Registry
- Community Support
- DNA Resources
It’s also important we mention a few things to remember before we start listing resources. Firstly, it’s bound to be an emotional journey when you start looking for your birth family members, and therefore it’s completely acceptable to ask for help from friends, loved ones, support groups and professionals. You are not in this alone. Many others have been in a similar position as you and are eager to help. The key is knowing where to look for that help.
I) An Adoption Reunion Registry
The most valuable resource tool for anyone searching to reconnect with their birth family is an adoption reunion registry. We go into great detail explaining what a registry is in our article What Is An Adoption Reunion Registry but in short, it is a database that contains information useful to people who are looking to reunite with their biological relatives, whom they have been separated from through the adoption process. Registries of this kind used to be maintained by public authorities but with the advent of the web, there is an easy-to-use mutual consent option available to everyone on the planet: Adopted.com. Those who have conducted an adoption reunion search will tell you it can be a very emotional experience. Therefore it’s important to be prepared by reading articles, educating yourself about such resources as DNA matching, and, perhaps most importantly, finding a supportive community.
Adopted.com Support Articles
There are plenty of helpful articles on Adopted.com for those trying to reconnect with their birth family and they’re all free to access. Some relevant ones include:
Adopted.com Community Support
The Adopted.com adoption reunion registry also offers the largest supportive community on Earth and is free to register. Here are other benefits of the Adopted.com online community:
- You can read and share inspirational stories from successful searchers.
- The easy-to-use message board allows you to pose questions and provide answers.
- There are more than 1-million users in the database hailing from all over the globe. That’s a lot of people you can turn to for help!
Adopted.com Social Media Channels
Beyond the website, Adopted.com has various social media channels where you can also find support from 10,000+ followers. They include:
II) Other Community Support Groups
The global adoption reunion registry is an excellent place to start for those looking to reunite with their biological relatives because it contains a lot of different and valuable resources. For specific support, however, there are many relevant groups one can turn to, such as social media forums, groups, and associations with teams of helpful professionals. Here is a list:
- Adoption Reunion Search and Support Group
- Adult Adoptees Support Adopted People
- Adult Adoptee Network
- Adult Adoptees of Color
- Adoptees Support Group
- TAP 101 for Adult Transracial Adoptees
- Adopted Adults Support Group
- Adoption Search and Reunion Group
- Adopted Kids Looking For Their Birth Parents
- Adopted Parents Looking For Their Children
- Asian Adult Adoptees of Washington
- Filipino Adoptees Network
- Network of Family Service Professionals: Ethiopian Adult Adoptees Group
- Adult Korean Adoptees of Portland
- Korean Adoptees
- Korean American Adoptees
- Adoption Reunion Search and Support Group
- Colombian Adoptee Support
- Christian Adoptees Support Group
- Texas DNA and Adoptee Search Support
Other Social Media
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are sometimes useful tools that can help with your search, but for deeper support, consider the following forums:
American Support Groups
- American Adoption Congress Resources – a definitive list of over 100 support groups by state
- Search Angels – offers search and reunion information and assistance to adoptees
- Concerned United Birthparents – a national organization focused on supporting birth parents
- Washington Adoption Reunion Search – a non-profit organization dedicated to reuniting families separated by adoption
- Adoption Conferences – a list of American conferences that include workshops about adoption reunions
- Adoption Reunion Search Meetup – an online list of where searchers meet
Canadian Support Groups
- Adoption search and reunion support groups in Canada – a list of groups by province
- Parent Finders of Canada – a non-profit that has been reuniting families since 1976
- Origins Canada – provides confidential support and resources to those separated from their families by adoption
- Canadian Council of Natural Mothers – specialize in helping birth mothers
- We Are Adopted – offers peer support meetings, counselling and advocacy
- BraveLove – support for birth moms
- Forget Me Not Family Society – a BC-based adoption reunion support network
- Adoption Options – birth parent support groups in Alberta
- Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan – offers support and education services
International Support Groups in English-speaking Countries
- Adoption Jigsaw – provides counselling and intermediary services for Australians
- Family Lives – supports those looking for their birth parents in the UK
- PAC-UK – provides support for birth parents and relatives in the UK
- Find Families in Mexico – helps find parents and relatives in Mexico and Central America
- Families with Children from China – support groups located through the U.S., Canada and the U.K
III) Helpful Books Related To Adoption Reunions
There are thousands of books and periodicals dedicated to adoption reunions and the search for birth family members. They include everything from how-to manuals and scholarly research papers to memoirs and biographies. This is a short-list of some that are recommended. All of these titles are available on Amazon or other online book retailers.
- An Adoption Reunion Handbook, Howe, Trinder and Feast. This book describes the experiences people have had when tracing their birth parents, as well as offering practical advice on how to go about your own search.
- Adoption Reunion, McColm. A practical book that takes the adoptee and birth parent carefully through the process of adoption reunion.
- The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide, Jarrell. Using real-life examples, this compassionate guide helps adoptees and their birth mothers decide whether or not to try to locate each other, and prepare for a reunion.
- Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age, Dennis. This anthology examines the emotional, psychological, and logistical effects of adoption reunion.
- Adoption Reunion: Ecstasy or Agony?, This book helps increase the understanding of emotional dynamics of a reunion experience.
- Adoption Searches Made Easier, Culligan. Written by a licensed private investigator, this step-by-step guide discusses where to start, laws and rights of the searcher, how to utilize various organizations including government agencies, libraries, and historical societies, as well as a listing of addresses, by region, of these various organizations.
- Birthright, Strauss. This book is filled with stories: direct quotes from birth parents, adopted adults, and adoptive parents who have experienced search and reunion. Guidelines for beginning a search are included.
- Courageous Blessing, DeMuth. Adoptive parents are not usually direct participants in search and reunion but may have strong fears about it. This book explains why adoptees search and how adoptive parents will feel, and offers support.
- Adoption Reunions, McColm. This book covers all phases of the reunion process.
- 20 Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need To Make, Eldridge. The author shares tips for finding online support as well as contacting family through social media.
- The Adoptee Survival Guide, Grubb. Adoptees share their wisdom and tools.
- Reunited, Slaton. An investigative genealogist Unlocks Some of Life’s Greatest Family Mysteries.
- Adoption Searches Made Easier, A step-by-step guide about where to start your search, and how to utilize various helpful tools.
Stories and Memoirs
- No Stone Unturned: A Remarkable Journey To Identity, Stone. This book follows debut-author Nadean Stone’s 44-year search for her birth mother.
- Birth Bond: Reunions Between Birthparents & Adoptees-What Happens After, Gediman and Brown. The authors reveal, through the words and experiences of adoptees, birthmothers, and birthfathers what reunion can accomplish.
- Adoption, Search & Reunion, Howe and Feast. The authors share long-term experiences of adopted adults.
- Synchronicity & Reunion: The Genetic Connection of Adoptees & Birthparents, Stiffler. An exploration of coincidences in adoption reunions.
- Searching for Healing After Reunion, Schaefer. Stories that offer guidance and hope for creating enriching relationships after reunion.
- Finding Dolores: An Adoptees Mid-life Search for the Beginning, Muldary. Written by a psychologist, this book shares his own search for his birth family.
- Worthy to be Found, Shrodes. A story of reunion, resilience, and restoration.
- Finding Family, Hill. A personal account of the author’s search for roots and secrets in his DNA.
- On the Other Side of Shame, Jowell. Lynette Langman’s extraordinary account of adoption and reunion.
- Friend Request, Henry. An Inspiring and true non-fiction tale by a New York Times bestselling author.
- Stories of Adoption: Loss and Reunion, Blau. The book offers a rare opportunity to share the inner feelings of adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents who experience reunions.
Periodicals and Articles
- Search and Reunion Etiquette, Byrne, American Adoption Congress
- International Search and Reunion, Cox, Adoption Advocate
- From Face-to-Face to Facebook: The Role of Technology and Social Media in Adoptive Family Relationships with Birth Family Members, Black, Moyer and Goldberg, Adoption Quarterly
- Synchronicity: The Sparks of Reunion, Stiffler, PACT
- Searching for Birth Relatives, US Child Welfare Information Agency
- Adopted Adults Who Search for Background Information and Contact with Birth Relatives, Feast and Howe, Children’s Society Post-Adoption and Care Counselling Research Project
IV) Videos and Talks About Adoption Reunions
One hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second of every day and so it stands to reason that some of those hours are dedicated to adoption reunions and searches. Simply type “adoption reunion search” into YouTube’s search field and the results are limitless, with many falling into the inspirational and heart-warming category. You’ll also come across educational videos such as “Can an adoption reunion relationship ever be more than just a reunion,” and “Adoption reunion regression” which were both filmed at a Concerned United Birthparents Conference. The resultant conversations among the panel members is very interesting. Another example that can be found on YouTube is “The Adoption Triad: The Complexities of Search and Reunion,” which is a discussion with New York social worker Marie Dolfi. There are also many TEDx Talks that deal with adoption but very few touch on the reunion and search process. Once exception is My story of love and loss as a transracial adoptee by Sara Jones.
V) Adoption Reunion Podcasts
As of February 2021, over 1,750,000 podcast shows are on the air. Hundreds are dedicated to adoption but there are only a handful that specifically concentrate on adoption reunion searches. All of these can be found on your favorite podcast streaming app.
- Adoptees On – A podcast where adoptees discuss the adoption experience including stories of search and reunion. It also curates recommended resources to encourage and educate the adoption community about adoptee issues.
- Who Am I Really? – Adoptees share their journeys of searching for and finding members of their biological family.
- Two Good Mums – Laura's baby was removed from her care and adopted by Peggy. Now the two women discuss their post-adoption contact.
- Adoption Now – Real stories about the joys and challenges of the adoption journey.
- Let’s Talk Adoption – This show covers a variety of topics on family and adoption. Past guests have included authors, attorneys, physicians, social workers, adoptive parents and birth parents.
- Twister Sisterhood – A podcast by birth mothers for birth mothers.
- The Reconnection Club – A show that offers weekly compassion, clarity and personal development tips for parents searching for their birth children.
- Global Family Adoption – Christian host Jack Hawkins discusses adoption and post-adoption topics with experts.
VI) DNA Resources
When discussing DNA resources we must come full circle and return to the topic of adoption reunion registries and their importance. This is because DNA testing and insight offerings are simply tools that can help you during your adoption reunion search, much like a hammer is a useful tool when building a house. The problem is, these companies don’t swing the hammer for you. Once you receive your DNA results, you’re left to your own devices to use them in your search. That’s where Adopted.com comes in: the global adoption reunion registry has partnered with the following DNA companies:
Once you’ve completed your DNA testing process, you can upload the data to your profile on Adopted.com and find possible matches with other members in the registry. We hope that the support resources found in this article will help you both practically and emotionally. One major takeaway is that we are a large community, and you are not alone. Best of luck to you during your search.