How to Find Someone Who Was Given Up by Adoption

By Sharon Guy

Updated May 10, 2019

Baby image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

After a child is given up for adoption, the birth relatives usually lose contact with the child. Finding someone who was given up for adoption is challenging and sometimes impossible, but there are resources you can use to search. Whether you're a birth parent, a sibling or another relative, the search will be an emotional journey.

Gather All Information

Collect all the information you can regarding the person who was given up for adoption and his parents. If you're lucky enough to have adoption records, these may hold clues regarding the area of the country where the adoption took place and the name of the adoption agency. Look for any records that will lead to the person's adoptive name and current location. Another important resource for finding information about an adopted child is the hospital record of his birth.

Contact the Adoption Agency

Contact the adoption agency and offer to sign a waiver of confidentiality that gives the agency the right to release your contact information. If the adopted child is also searching for you or other birth relatives, the agency can release your contact information to him. The adoption agency might be able to connect you with the social worker who handled the child's case or direct you toward the court that ruled on it.

Try an Adoption Reunion Registry

Sign up with free adoption reunion registries that help match adoptive relatives who are searching for each other, such as International Soundex Reunion Registry and Some reunion registries will also help you search for your biological relative for a fee.

Use Reunion Forums

Post your search request on reunion forums such as the one offered by Provide any information you have about the adopted person and describe your family relationship with him, such as that you're his birth parent or sibling. Read the forums to see if he is also looking for you.

You'll also find support and advice from other people who have searched or are searching for relatives who have been lost through adoption. Some reunion forums have "search angels" who will help you search for free, although it's not uncommon to pay for any expenses they incur in the search. You can also join a support group in your area for emotional support and advice.

Don't Overlook Social Media

Search social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Send a private message if you think you've found the correct person.

When All Else Fails

Hire a private investigator who specializes in adoption searches if you haven't succeeded in finding your relative on your own.


If the adopted person does not want to meet you, she can't be forced into it. Don't assume that the other person has a strong desire to build a relationship with you.