The Internet has become a tremendous tool in search and reunion. Often, people who are initiating an adoption search for their birth family or a child they placed can find them just by Googling or looking on social media. However, in many cases there is not enough information to make such a search possible or a search yields no results. In those circumstances, it is possible that a private investigator could be of use.

Finding birth family takes time and investigative skills that not everyone may have. A private investigator has access to databases, investigative techniques, and the time to use them. Hiring an investigator can allow you to focus on your day-to-day life rather than the stressful process of looking for someone else—someone on whom you may not have a lot of details or someone who might be difficult to find. Because a professional investigator does this kind of work every day, they know exactly where to look and what to do to locate the individual you’re looking for. If you have the means to hire an investigator, not only can they help your search be more successful, they can also help you ensure that you aren’t dedicating time to the search that should be dedicated to other responsibilities.

That being said, private investigators do still have limitations. If, for example, you are looking for a birth parent and your adoption was fully closed, the records are all sealed, and you don’t have any of the names of your birth family, they may not have enough information to be successful. A reputable private investigator should be upfront with you about what they feel your chances are for success. You should also prepare yourself for the real possibility that whomever you are looking for cannot be found, doesn’t want to be found, or is deceased. Understand that a private investigator will do whatever he or she can to help you get contact information for the person you are looking for but that it will be up to you to make contact and navigate the process of establishing a relationship. If you have questions on how best to do this, or you have found someone but he or she is resistant to establishing a relationship, consult with your adoption agency to see if they have a social worker or therapist who can help you work through these issues.

Your first step in your search and reunion journey is to register in’s Reunion Registry.


Julianna Mendelsohn lives in sunny South Florida where, odds are, it is hot enough right now that she’s sweating just a little, no matter what she’s doing. She is the brains, brawn, blood, sweat, and tears behind The Adoption Mentor and is thrilled to be able to help others build their families through adoption. She is a former elementary school teacher, current MS in school counseling student, Sephora junkie, and the momma via domestic adoption to one lovely daughter.