Reuniting with birth family: how to search for your biological relatives

words Alexa Wang

Most adoptees dream about finding their birth parents one day. And they spend their youth mulling over questions such as:

Who are they? Why did they give me up? What are they like? What are they doing now? Do they ever think about me? What’s my birth family’s medical history? Some may want to seek out facts, while others want to fulfill curiosity. It’s an emotional process. And it takes some work for adoptees to find their birth family. 

Side note: most states only allow adoptees to access records once they turn 18 (or 21 in some states).  

In the past, adoptees had to sift through piles of documents. It took a long time, but now it’s much easier to reunite In the past, adoptees had to sift through piles of documents. It took a long time, but now it’s much easier to reunite with your family, thanks to social media and free online people search sites. For the most part, all you need to know is your birth mother or father’s name. 

In this article, you will learn how to search for your biological relatives online! Everyone deserves to know about their birth family. But it’s important to be cautious, too. Why? Let’s get into it. 

search for your biological relatives

Think about your birth mother, too

The prospect of reuniting with your birth mother may propel a clutter of emotions: fear, anxiety, excitement, curiosity, rage, to name a few. Rebecca Tillou, an adoptee, detailed her story in a blog post. She highlights that “When you find out who your birth family member(s) are, let yourself realize that you contacting them is going to be an absolute shock to them in more ways than one.” 

Give your birth family the control

Once you find a phone number or address, Rebecca suggests letting the information sit for at least 24 hours before making a phone call. She advises giving your birth family control over when to contact you. For example, when she approached her birth mom’s brother, she told him that she was a “relative wanting to make contact.” Her approach helped to ease the shock of bluntly stating, “I’m your long-lost niece!”

But before you get to this point, you need to find your biological relatives! Read on to discover how to get in contact with your birth family.

1. Find out as much information as possible

First things first: find out as much as you can from your adoptive parents and the surrounding community! Why? If you want to narrow your online search, it’s beneficial to know as much as possible. 

You need to know their names, and it helps to know which state or city they came from! If your adopted parents don’t remember much, you can always look at other options. 

For example, you can ask the adoption agency (your adopted parents should remember this) for more information or meet with someone from your birth hospital to go over old records. If you don’t know where you were born, you can always meet with your pediatrician. 

Once you know as much as possible, you can begin your online search. How to find people online? Continue reading for more information! 

2. Search people online via social media

Thankfully, it’s super easy to find people online these days. Once you know your birth mother’s (or father’s) name, you can type their name into Facebook. Who pops up? If a bunch of names show up, you can use Facebook’s direct messaging system to send a message to possible matches. Remember to keep Rebecca’s narrative in mind! 

Don’t be afraid to try out LinkedIn as well! Plus, LinkedIn may give you more information than Facebook. You can see where your mother or father work, which can help to narrow your search. 

Some people may think that social media destroys our wellbeing, but it can be a super useful tool when it comes to finding information about someone! 

Reuniting with birth family

3.  Use free online people search sites

If you aren’t having any luck with social media, you can always check out free online people search sites like All you need to do is type in your birth mother or father’s name, and Nuwber will list all Americans with that name.

When you click each name, addresses, phone numbers, and social media profiles will show up. If you have no clue which name relates to you, you can always send a letter to each address or call each number. It’s totally up to you. 

4. Send out your DNA

A lot of adoptees resort to sending out their DNA to learn about their family tree. But sometimes the results can be iffy. Thankfully, DNA Detectives, founded by CeCe Moore, can help. Dr. Henry Louis Gates from the PBS series “Finding Your Roots” perfectly sums up this organization:

“Countless adoptees have spent their lives without ever discovering the identities of their birth parents. Fortunately, we have an ally, CeCe Moore. She’s a detective with skills that would put Sherlock Holmes to shame.”

Adoptees can discuss the process via the DNA Detectives Facebook group

In conclusion

It’s common to want to know more about your birth family. You want to understand your identity, your roots. Thankfully, it’s much easier to search people online nowadays, making the process of finding your birth family quicker than ever. 


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