I used to think the term “search angel” was used because the person was helping with a search free of charge. Since I enlisted the help of a search angel for my own search a year and a half ago, I’ve realized a more marvelous meaning: They are actually performing miracles for families hoping for reunion. I absolutely recommend using a search angel. Most have been through a similar search for their own family and are paying it forward with the knowledge and tips they learned along the way.

All the search angels I have spoken with are expert researchers. They whip up public records, background searches, and family connections seemingly from thin air. Sometimes one angel will be really good with archived files and another will be great with DNA. If you choose to enlist help, make sure you are specific about the type of assistance you need. Be willing to aid in your search. Adoptees should obtain their identifying information beforehand and be ready to accept tasks from their angel. Sometimes you can help with simple searches while they work on the more difficult parts of your case.

At age 34 I tested with AncestryDNA. I had only a vague physical description and age of my birth parents when I started my search. My results showed 310 matches that were third cousin or closer. With that information my angel found my biological family in less than 24 hours. I have friends who have searched without using an angel. Based on their searches and the information I had, I can say that my search would have taken me about a year on my own. By enlisting the help of a search angel, I was able to spend that year with my birth family.

Visit Adoption.com to learn more about finding your birth family. 

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and a mother of two, currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees’ rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life.

Looking for more stories of search and reunion? Check out, “My Adoption Story: Reunited, 15 Years Later”