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Adoption Resources for Discovering Your Birth Family

By Family Tree Editors
Mother and daughter embracing.
Keep these resources in mind as you continue in your adoption research.

Finding your birth family can be difficult, but genealogy websites and DNA resources have made it easier than ever to reconnect with your roots. This roundup of adoption tools may help you find your long-lost relatives.

Adoption Websites

  • National Council for Adoption: This site includes adoption-related news and legal notes, plus links to other adoption resources.
  • Origins Canada: Check out this Canadian adoptee site with categorized links that can help with your US or international search, too.
  • AdoptioNetwork: Info for everyone in the adoption “triad”— adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents.
  • AdoptionSearch: Adoption-focused search engine.
  • Bastard Nation: Activist site for adoptees to learn about legal issues. The site’s Action Alert has the latest on adoption-related news and court decisions.
  • Reunion Registry: Free online registry affiliated with International Locator.
  • Shea’s Search Series: Detailed and well-organized guide to looking for birth families, from deciding to search through petitioning the court.

Organizations and Registries

  • Adoptees can create profiles in this site’s registry, helping them reunite with long-lost family members. Users can search for birth parents or adoptees by name, birth date, adoption date, adoption place and more.
  • A full-service adoption resource site and registry. Users can create a profile and search the registry by place and date of birth, among other options.
  • Adoptees’ Liberty Movement Association: The ALMA’s site offers a national registry for adoptees and birth parents. Registrants place in a databank the sex, date of birth and place of birth for the child, which is the extent of common information known by the adoptee and natural parents.
  • American Adoption Congress: An international organization, the AAC is devoted to all aspects of the adoption and birth family search process.
  • Donaldson Adoption Institute: Although no longer an active organization, an archive of the DAI’s work remains online and accessible.
  • Easy to search registry, organized by birth date.

Adoption Books

  • The Adoptee’s Guide to DNA Testing by Tamar Weinberg (Family Tree Books)
  • The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools by Lynn Grubb (self-published)
  • Adoption, Identity and Kinship: The Debate Over Sealed Birth Records by Katarina Wegar (Yale University Press)
  • Adoption in America: Historical Perspectives edited by E. Wayne Carp (University of Michigan Press)
  • Everything You Need To Know About Being Adopted by Laura Kaminker (Rosen Publishing Group)
  • The Family of Adoption by Joyce Maguire Pavao (Beacon Press)
  • Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption by E. Wayne Carp (Harvard University Press)
  • The Foundling, the True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me by Paul Joseph Fronczak (Howard Books)
  • The Legal Adoption Guide: Safely Navigating the System by Colleen Alexander-Roberts (Taylor Publishing)
  • Swabbed & Found: An Adopted Man’s DNA Journey to Discover His Family Tree by Frank Billingsley (Bright Sky Publishing)
  • The Ultimate Search Book: U.S. Adoption, Genealogy & Other Search Secrets by Lori Carangelo (Genealogical Publishing Company)
  • Where Are My Birth Parents: A Guide For Teenage Adoptees by Karen Gravelle (Walker and Co.)

Last updated: November 2019

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