You may be one of the many adopted individuals beginning the journey to search for your birth parents. With the advent of so much new technology, finding birth families online is easier than ever, but also, can cause some trepidation about the safety of this endeavor. In many states, you will have access to your adoption records at 21, so starting a search prior to that age may prove more difficult, but you still might have some identifying information that can guide you in a search earlier. The search process can seem overwhelming in the beginning, but there are many things you can do to safely search for your birth parents online.
Have a Conversation with your Adoptive Parents and Family
If you feel comfortable and if you are able, you should speak to your adoptive family about searching for your birth parents. They may have documentation or other information that hasn’t been previously shared with you–potentially out of respect for your birth family and their wishes or to protect you. Your parents may also have information that didn’t seem relevant at the time, but will assist you on your search to ensure that you are finding accurate information. It’s easy to get excited on a search and go down the wrong path. Regardless of what you find, you’ll also likely need support that your family can provide to you.
If you are an adoptive parent looking to start conversations with your child about their birth family, here is a guide to assist you with those discussions.
Search on Social Media
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for people to turn to social media first when searching for their birth parents. There are many safety issues to consider if you choose to start your search on the web. Though it might be tempting to let the world know you’re starting your search to get information, there are people out there searching for vulnerable individuals to take advantage of and you could fall prey to a hacker.
However, if you know the names of your birth family and if someone can help you identify them or if you’ve been in touch previously through an open adoption, sites like Facebook and Instagram may be a good place to start communication and reach out. Make sure that if you’re reaching out for the first time that you do so through direct messages so that the information is private. If you don’t get a response right away, be patient as not everyone uses social media with the same frequency and they might be processing this information in their own way before responding to you.
Though social media can be safe, remember that there are issues with with privacy, etc. to consider before jumping into a search.
For more information about searching for your birth family on social media, read this article.
Find Reliable Search and Reunion Sites and Reach out to Your Adoption Agency
If your parents worked with an adoption agency that is still active, you may want to reach out to them first. Should you have an open or semi-open adoption, there may still be records available to you to help with a safe online search.
However, many adoption agencies have their own search and reunion services and alternatively, may be able to direct you to some. There are professionals who can assist you with this and there are online reunification services that you might be able to use. These can be a much safer option than social media that may yield more reliable results.
For other search engines and reunification sites to begin your online search to find your birth family, click here. Search Angels is also a not for profit that can assist you on your journey to find your biological parents.
Send in your DNA
DNA kits to find your ancestry still remain popular and with that, many feel that they are safe. However, there are still many things to consider if you decide to go this route when searching for your birth parents. There are still some safety concerns and you’ll need to read the fine print about who now has access to your DNA, but also, you’ll need to consider the ramifications of matching in a more public space.
Should you connect with a biological cousin, etc. you may find out that your adoption isn’t known by all family members and it may be more difficult for you to connect with individuals. With that being said, there are still some beautiful stories about individuals who have connected from DNA sites. Overall, it’s important that you prepare yourself in the event that the outcome is not what you had hoped for.
Internet safety isn’t the only thing to consider when you start a search for your birth family. You will also want to work to safeguard yourself and your emotions. While you are eager and excited to meet your birth family, they may not be ready or comfortable with meeting you. If you can, seek a counselor, adoption professional, or find a trusted friend or family member to go on this journey with you to provide support. If you’re seeking counseling through this process, consider reaching out to an adoption agency or professional to recommend someone who can help you as you search for your birth family.