Siblings who are separated by adoption often search for each other once they become adults. While the reasons for conducting such a search vary, many adoptees are simply curious about their biological families. State laws regarding adoptions vary, although some states allow more access to adoption records than others.
Write down any information your adopted parents have shared with you -- the name of one or both birth parents, your place of birth or the name of the agency that handled your adoption. Any medical history information about your parents can be helpful in your search as well.
Ask your adoptive parents for the originals or copies of documents, such as your amended birth certificate, final decree of adoption and any other court records they have to aid in your search. Some states allow adopted adults access to their original birth certificate. If you know the names of any biological relatives, look up information such as birth, marriage, divorce, property deed transfers and other records that are a matter of public record.
Use the Internet to search online public records and databases. Look up names using Google and other search engines. Visit county record offices and libraries to search through old newspapers and school yearbooks. Some libraries also keep back issues of telephone directories. Local genealogical societies are another resource where you may be able to find information helpful in your search.
Contact the agency or attorney that handled your adoption. What information the agency can release will depend on your state’s laws and the terms of your adoption. Often, an agency can only release information that is considered to be non-identifying. But even knowing a biological parent’s educational background, religion or ethnic origin might provide clues. If you and your siblings were in the state’s foster care system prior to adoption, contact your state’s Department of Human Services for information about public and private adoptions.
Sign up for adoption reunion registries that some states and various private organizations offer. The purpose of these registries is to help people find birth relatives -- including siblings. Find out if registries are available for your state or the state you were adopted from. Most of these registries are passive registries, which means the registry does not actively search for your family members. But if both you and your siblings register, the registry will often share mutual information.
Utilize social media channels. Search for family members using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks. You can search by name if you have the names of biological family members, or post requests for help in finding your siblings. Many of these sites allow you to join for free. Social networks can expand your search by giving you access to other people’s networks of friends.
Enlist the help of search angels -- volunteers who help individuals find family members. Although they are not professionals, you can often contact search angels through support groups and forums for individuals who were adopted or people with missing family members. Their time is free but you must pay any expenses related to the search.
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images