Birth parents, specifically those who placed their child through a closed adoption process, may yearn to find information on their child. It may be only a few months, a few years, or as long as many decades before you decide to begin your search. Many birth families have a difficult time knowing where to begin looking for their birth child.  

A simple search on the web can bring back many different resources to help you start. Articles and individuals may suggest Facebook searches, private investigators, ancestry sites, and agency support. Each person is different. Sometimes the easiest way to jump-start a search is by using a professional who is highly trained, licensed, and vetted. Licensed private investigators, ancestry sites, ancestry professionals, and adoption agency staff are easy ways to jump-start the process by taking what little (or maybe a great deal) information you have and getting you on the right path with any or all of the answers you need. Many of these professionals can also facilitate a search and reunion, which can make the entire process seamless.

Where Do I Start?

Once you decide whether you want to utilize a digital resource, professional, website, or agency to help with the search or to do it on your own, you may find yourself thinking, “What next?” Your next step will be easily facilitated by an adoption search professional. If you want to start the process at your own pace, you may want to begin gathering all the information you have regarding the placement. Remembering even mundane facts can be incredibly helpful.

Research what resources are available to you. You may be surprised by the plethora of resources you can utilize to jump-start your own search.

The following resources offer a good place to start when searching on your own for your birth child:

  • has one of the most comprehensive adoption reunion registries on the web. By registering and viewing the compiled data, you can make your information available to potential members of your biological family who are also registered and viewing the registry. The adoption forums on are open and offer incredibly useful information for you as you begin your search.
  • Get a copy of the state law on adoption records from the state in which you placed your child. This information can be found online, at your local library, or from your member of Congress or local state representatives.
  • Contact the agency, adoption attorney, or mothers home that handled the adoption to see if they have any additional resources regarding your specific adoption or search.
  • Utilize social media and social networking platforms to see if you are able to find your birth child with the information you compiled. Use caution on the internet; double-check your findings with a private detective on an hourly basis to ensure the person you located is actually who he or she says.

Wherever you are in the search, remember that you are not alone. Remember that oftentimes your birth child is just as curious about you as you are about him or her. There are wonderful resources and support communities available to you throughout the search-and-reunion process.  

Check out a real reunion story here.

For a comprehensive adoption guide to search and reunion, visit

Jennifer Mellon has worked in the child welfare field for more than a decade, serving in varying capacities as the Executive Director and Chief Development Officer of Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) and the Corporate Communications Program Manager for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Jennifer has served on the Board of the Campagna Center, which provides critical educational services to children and families in the DC Metro Area and on the Development Committee for the National Council for Adoption. She is the mom of three children and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.