How to Find Your Birth Parents for Free
Published May 24th, 2021
One of the most common struggles for adoptees is not knowing their birth parents. Many describe it as like a void or a hole in their life that makes them feel incomplete. As such, we can’t blame them if they’re exerting every effort in the search for their birth parent.
If you’re an adoptee, finding your birth parent will probably unlock a Pandora’s box. It will give you the answers to your lifelong questions like where you came from or why you were given up for adoption.
Searching for your birth parents can be easy and straightforward or long and confusing depending on the information you have. If you don’t have much to start with, you’ll probably have to enlist the help of a professional. In most cases, this won’t come cheap.
But before you shell out thousands of dollars, here are some tips on how to find your birth parents for free.
1. Ask Your Adoptive Parents
In most cases, the best source of information about your biological parents are your adoptive parents.
If they’re not around anymore, you can ask adoptive relatives or people close to your family. They may not be able to provide you with complete information but they should know something at least. Any information, after all, is better than nothing.
2. Records Search
Adoption laws can vary per state. In nearly all states, adoption records are sealed to protect the privacy of everyone involved.
But in general, adult adoptees can request non-identifying information about their birth relatives. This includes:
- the date of birth of the adoptee
- race, ethnicity, medical history, and religion of birth parents
- age of the birth parents
- general physical description of the birth parents like the eye and hair color
- the birth parent’s educational level and occupation at the time of the adoptee’s birth
- existence of siblings (if any)
- reason for placing the child for adoption
Some states, however, are more restrictive in releasing adoption records. Most of the time, you need to register with the State adoption registry. In Pennsylvania and Guam, you may need a court order for the records to be released.
If you’re adopted legally, there’s a good chance that your adoptive parents used an attorney or an adoption agency. Reaching out to them may also help your case.
3. Social Media
Social media is named such for a reason. It lets you connect with people around the world for free. This makes it a very good platform to search for your birth relatives.
If you know your biological parent’s name, there’s a good chance you’ll find them on Facebook or Linkedin. Some clans also have facebook groups of their own. Search for your biological parent’s surname to see if a facebook group will come up. You can try asking people from there. Or if you know where your birth family is from, you can also join facebook groups of people from that area. There’s a good chance that someone may recognize or remember them.
4. Sign up for Free Adoption Registry Sites
Adoption registry sites match adoptees searching for their biological parents with parents searching for a child they’ve given up for adoption.
There are a lot of adoption registry sites (also known as adoption reunion sites) on the internet. But they work best if you have information about your birth parents. If you have access to your adoption records, you can start from there.
Some adoption registry sites are free but others may require you to pay a certain fee. Certain sites like Ancestry.com or 23&me.com even lets you send DNA samples. They will then cross-reference it with the DNA of all the other people in their database. Because of their extensive database, chances are high that you’ll find a blood relative at some point. These DNA sites, however, do not come cheap.
5. Reach Out to Media Outlets
If scouring the web for your birth parents doesn’t work, you can try reaching out to media outlets. There are reality shows and even documentaries geared towards reuniting families separated by adoption. TV shows like TLC’s Long Lost Family and ABC’s Find My Family are probably the most popular ones.
The most important thing about searching for your birth family is managing your expectations. TV shows always manage to make it seem like a fairy-tale come true. But it’s usually more of a different-stroke-for-different-folks kind of thing.
There’s a good chance you’ll have that tearful reunion you often saw on screen. But there’s also a high possibility that your birth parents won’t want anything to do with you. Still, you wouldn’t know if you wouldn’t try. And it’s better to face any rejections head on than spending the rest of your life wondering, “what if?”.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is the lead writer for the Instant Vital Records blog and several other renowned publications. She is committed to delivering accurate facts by cross checking reputable sources for all of her articles.