The world is becoming much more connected, which is good news for people who are searching for their birth families. Although finding one’s birth family has grown much less difficult, it can still be a time consuming process, and people often need to explore many different search methods before they find what they are looking for. Whether they are hoping to create a relationship with their family now that they have grown up, whether they need closure or understanding about what happened, or whether it be for a million other reasons, there are many different methods to try when searching for birth parents.
Request adoption records
Nowadays, many adoptions are open in some way, meaning people who were adopted may be able to easily access information about their birth parents once they come of age. This is the first place to look for those who were adopted, as it is the easiest and most direct method of gaining access to that information. All of this information will be in a database, usually through the government, and can be requested. The actual personal information that will be available will depend on what the birth parents’ wishes were. They may have indicated that they did not wish to be contacted, and they may or may not have wished for their identity to be disclosed.
Ask adoptive parents
Adoptive parents – whether that means legally and officially, or unofficially if the separation was due to other circumstances – often have some information regarding the parents of the child they adopted or took care of. They may have a name or location, for example, that they could share with their child. They may even have photos, old addresses and phone numbers, or any other kind of identifying information, that could be useful. Even if it is out of date, or even if it ultimately doesn’t actually find the birth parents, these clues can help move the search forward, and help find other clues.
Ask other family and friends
For those who don’t have adoptive parents or whose adoptive parents have passed on, the best place to look is with any other family or friends who have had any part in that person’s life since they were young. Basically anybody who might have heard any information about the child’s past, when they were separated from their birth parents, who and where their parents may be, or who may have access to documents, clues, or other information that could lead the person to their biological family. This could also include asking around at any institutions the person may have been in as a child, as documents may exist there as well.
If any clues are available, such as the family name of the father, maiden name of the mother, or any other identifying information about them – where they went to school, what year they graduated, what city, town, or neighbourhood they grew up in – social media can be very helpful in narrowing down a search. It can also be used to spread the word about the person’s search for their parents. Many people have been able to locate long-lost family members through the use of social media and through word-of-mouth via social media.
There are many different companies who offer genealogical DNA testing, and one of the features available is to complete a search for relatives by comparing the DNA. This may or may not provide a match to the actual parents, but it could match other relatives, which could help the person locate their biological family, and possibly track down their parents from there. Even if this option does not turn up any leads, the DNA is then kept in the database, so if any biological relative of that person were to do the same thing in the future, they would come up as a match, and would be able to contact each other.
Use an adoption connection service
There are also websites which offer services that are designed to help people locate their biological parents and families. Using one of these services may increase one’s chances of getting a lead on a biological connection, whether it be directly to their parents, or to another relative. While these websites are labelled towards helping people who were adopted find their biological families, they also often help people who were separated from their biological families for other reasons, such as in refugee and foster care situations.
Hire a private investigator
Although this option will cost more out of pocket than most other options, a private investigator is often a very effective way for someone to locate their birth parents. Private investigators are very knowledgeable in how to find hard-to-access information, and will often be able to find answers for those who are looking into their past.