There are numerous reasons why a parent may decide to give their child up for adoption and each reason is understandable. The parent may have had the child when they were a young adult, when they felt they did not have the psychological or financial resources to properly take care of a child. Sometimes, the parent may not have been given the choice to keep their child due to additional circumstances. Regardless of the motivations which led up to giving a child up for adoption, entrusting your child to be raised by a different family is never easy.

There’s a natural bond between birth parent and child, the separation of which can leave lasting emotional turmoil. Birth parents that wish to overcome this often feel compelled to search for the child given up for adoption.

Most commonly birth parents who struggled with the decision to give their child up for adoption are the ones who embark on this journey to find their child. Some related reasons include:

  • they may feel the need to explain their decisions
  • they may be wondering what kind of person their child has grown up into
  • they may seek to reconnect and build a relationship with their child
  • they may want a second chance at being a part of their lives

If it happens that the adoption was an open one, searching for a birth child is easier. Biological parents in this instance have more legal permissions and are encouraged to access information about their birth children. However, if there was a closed adoption, getting information or locating adopted children is more challenging.

Nevertheless, there is still hope in these situations. With modern technology and persistence, a birth parent can often successfully find information about their birth child and have the opportunity to reconnect.

If you are a birth parent hoping to reunite with your child, there are many adoption reunion resources and online tools available to support you. Even if you have little information on your child’s new identity or whereabouts, there are systems to support you that may surprise you.

The following are some ways you can go about finding your child given up for adoption:

1. Talk to the adoption facilitators

Seek information from where it all began. Even if the adoption took place many years ago, try to remember everyone who was involved in it – the adoption facilitators. They may have pieces of information that will help you refine your search for your biological child. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Did you use specialized adoption services from an agency?
  • Were there lawyers involved in the adoption process?
  • Can you remember their names or the companies that they worked for?
  • Was your child institutionalized or in foster care before being adopted?
  • Did anyone play a part in placing your birth child with their new parents?
  • Did you know the adoptive family directly?
  • Were you introduced to the adoptive family by someone else?

If an adoption agency was used, this may facilitate and easier process. They are likely to keep records of a child when they have been adopted out of a group or foster home. You likely do not need to track down others who have information on your child. As long as one person you speak with can share with you the child’s new name or estimated location, your probability of an adoption reunion is increased.

2. Make use of information you can legally access

Where individuals and private entities may fail to help you, state institutions might succeed. It is a good idea to check your state regulations regarding adoptions and identify what information you’re legally allowed to request regarding your adopted child. Some states can offer full identifying information about your biological child’s new identity and the location of their adoptive family.

With other states you may have to go through many legal processes with a lawyer to obtain any adoption data from them. This may still be a viable option, because in the best-case scenario the information you locate might bring you closer to being reunited with your birth child. Begin by contacting the county court clerk from the state where the adoption was finalized and petition them for any information they can legally provide.

3. Let your shared DNA help bring you back together

Even if you weren’t the one to raise your child, you will always share a unique genetic bond. Anyone comparing your DNA will be able to quickly tell that they are your biological relative. Companies like MyHeritage, Ancestry, or 23andMe make it easy for you to find others with a similar DNA sequence. The process is simple:

  • they send you a home genetic sample kit
  • you mail in the sample
  • they analyze it and provide you with your genetic profile
  • you can then make the decision to upload it to their website or to an adoption registry

Millions of participants have already uploaded their genetic profiles online to learn more about themselves. By uploading your genetic profile, you open up the opportunity for you to match with your relatives – including your birth child. Adopted.com also offers an easy-to-use DNA comparison tool and they partner with MyHeritage, Ancestry, 23andMe, and more to maximize your probability of an adoption reunion.

Another option offered by Adopted.com is to upload your DNA data to their site directly, where they standardize it to compare against the DNA data of other members who often tested at different testing sites. This is a significant breakthrough in cross-service comparison.

4. Hire an adoption detective

Since there are many people out there searching for their biological relatives, some private investigators specialize in offering services specific to adoption reunions. They are called adoption detectives or investigative genealogists. They’re experienced in gathering information from local archives, genealogy databases, individuals, and entities who were involved in the adoption process. This option can be expensive, but is worth it if you have limited time or emotional resources. They have strategies and access to the right resources to expedite the process towards finding information about your birth child. This can alleviate the stress that one may experience when embarking on this journey alone.

Be patient and find others who can provide support

Whichever option you select for reconnecting with your birth child, it’s important that you arm yourself with patience. It is wise to give time a chance to work its magic and to not lose hope for your adoption reunion. Even if you’re not immediately able to locate your child or you learn they’re not interested in being reunited with you - there is no telling how the future may play out. Make sure to take care of yourself and receive the support you need throughout this emotional and arduous process. If you start feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to ask for support from your friends and family or a therapist or spiritual advisor.

We also recommend looking into joining some adoption reunion support groups. These are communities of other mothers and fathers who have given their child up for adoption and are currently searching for them. Having a community of people who have been through or are currently going through a similar experience can be extremely helpful and can offer insight and hope in times of need. You don’t need to be in the process alone, there are tools and people who are happy to help you along the way.

5. Join an online adoption reunion registry

One of the quickest and easiest ways to search your biological child is through an online adoption reunion registry. These are websites where you can create a free profile and list any information you may have regarding the child you gave up for adoption. Some information you can share include:

  • date of birth
  • location of birth
  • adopted child’s gender
  • whether you have been in contact since the adoption

The algorithm that has been refined for more than 17 years will then automatically search for the profiles of existing members that are the closest to your definition. If a match is found, you can contact them directly via private message and discuss a potential reunion. The main advantages of using an adoption registry are that it is simple and inexpensive to use. When choosing an adoption reunion registry, sign up for one that already has a vast database. This increases your chances of an adoption reunion with your birth child. Adopted.com has over 1 million members who have created a profile because they are also looking for their birth relatives. Who knows, maybe your birth child is looking for you too!