How to Know If You're Adopted

by Contributor

Many of us go through periods where we feel disconnected from our family and may wonder if they really are our biological family. Some families have chosen not to tell their child that he is adopted. There could be any number of reasons a family does not speak of the adoption, but most commonly it is because they do not want the adopted child to feel different.

Ask your parents if you have suspicions that you may have been adopted. Be careful how you approach the topic because it could be a sensitive issue. Assure them that your love for them won't change either way but that you feel it is important you know your heritage.

Evaluate common family traits to see if you share them. Pay attention to obvious things such as hair and eye color, height and body build. But do not overlook the less obvious things such as attached or unattached earlobes, flat feet, and common genetic medical conditions among family members. Understand that even if you do not share these traits, this is not proof that you are adopted, only cause for speculation.

Talk to older siblings. Ask them what their first memories of you are. Find out if they can remember your mother going into the hospital to give birth to you.

Speak with extended family members, such as aunts, uncles and grandparents. Keep in mind that your parents may have told them not to share the information with you. See if you can trick them by asking them a question such as, "how long did my parents have to wait before they could adopt me?" They may assume that your parents already told you and answer your question honestly.

Look at family photos. See if you can find pictures of yourself as a newborn baby. Also look for pictures of your mom when she was pregnant with you. If you can find pictures of your mother taken a couple of months before your birthday, you should be able to tell if she was pregnant in them.

Have DNA testing done to see if you are related to your family. You have to find a sibling or parent that agrees to also have the tests done so there is another set of DNA to compare yours to.

Hire a private investigator that specializes in adoptions and have him investigate birth records for you. If the private investigator determines that you were adopted, he also might be able to locate your biological family for you if you want him to.


  • Finding out that you are adopted, especially if your family did not share that information with you, can be very painful. You may need to seek counseling to deal with the feelings that can be brought up from your new found information.
  • Remember that the people who raised you and that you call "family" love you, even if it turns out that they are not your biological family.
  • If you do find out you are adopted and you decide to look for your biological family, understand that they may not want to be found. If you find them and they are not open to having a relationship with you, this can be a very painful experience.