Deciding to open a closed or limited-information adoption is a big decision! Once an adoptee has decided to find out more about his first family, there are so many different ways and channels to take, and many of them vary from state to state. If you were born in Texas, here are some tips about finding your biological parents.

1. If you don’t have any information at all, a good step is to petition the court to unseal your adoption. You can do this by filing a request at the court.

2. One of the most important documents you will need in this process is a copy of your original birth certificate. The Texas Vital Statistics office will be your best friend during this process. You will need to show your court order of an unsealed adoption (see above) and then the state will release your original information.

3. Check out the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website for their Central Adoption Registry. Basically, it works as a third-party voluntary information exchange—adult adoptees, birth parents, and siblings of adult adoptees enter their information, and if both parties consent to be found, the registry will release the information. This service also includes a one-hour counseling session to help prepare for the reunion and possible biographical information exchanged. It’s really a great first step into reunification and costs very little. Unfortunately, if your parent(s) or sibling(s) don’t also submit their information, you may be left in the wind.

4. Once you’ve gone through the official channels, check out the forums online—but be prepared because there are mountains of them to search. Start small and choose a few of the bigger ones and input your information, make a post, get the word out. If you feel comfortable asking your adoptive parents for help, get as much information as you can about your birth—where, when, the hospital, any identifying information that they have. The more information you can use to help identify yourself will help cut through the thousands of other searchers.

5. Consider using DNA technology. A pay-to-identify service will painlessly help you collect and analyze your DNA, and if another family member has also shared their DNA, you can choose to be connected directly. This could be another long shot, but at the very least, you will learn about your ancestral heritage!

6. Be patient—this is a huge process and can be emotional for all involved. Remember that having more pieces to the puzzle of your identity is great. But know that you are amazing even without knowing your full history. Good luck!

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

Jennifer Galan mothers four kids (one adopted, three biological) all while living the nomadic life of a military wife. She is a strong advocate for open adoptions, education reform, feminism, kindness, and naps. Mostly naps. Her favorite Doctor is number ten, and she is a proud Ravenclaw.