How to Find Siblings After Adoption
Searching for a relative can be fraught with emotion and heartache. You'll need a good deal of patience, time, and support to navigate the search process, as well as the results. The following article gives you tips and advice about finding your sibling, as well as how to prepare yourself emotionally before a reunion.
Talk to relatives
Contact any and all relatives that you have a connection to, and ask if they know or remember anything about your adoption. Here are some questions that might provide you with the clues you need to continue your search:
1. Do you remember where Mom and Dad had to go to sign the papers? What city was the courthouse in?
If you can locate the city, you can always try to get a court order to have them open the adoption records and locate your biological parent's name. This may start the paper trail to finding your sibling.
2. Do you remember Mom and Dad's search for a baby? Did they go through any particular adoption agency? How long did they wait for me?
Having an agency name will most certainly help. While they may not be able to tell you about your parents (due to privacy laws), you can get a feel for what kind of clients they worked with. Do they specialize in mothers who are single and still in school, or perhaps mothers with financial hardship or domestic abuse? Any clue about your biological parents, even if it seems insignificant, should be noted.
3. How were Mom and Dad's emotions about the adoption? Were they worried the birth mom might change her mind? Did they see her in the hospital or was I in a foster home?
If you were in a foster home prior to your adoption, locating the foster parents might be the most important piece of the puzzle. They would certainly know if you had any siblings as most agencies want to keep siblings together whenever possible. The foster parents would have been asked to keep both of you if they could.
If you have the name of your sibling, start with Google. This first step takes less than a second and might take you right to the end of your search. Google is the best search engine to use and far superior to other engines like Yahoo or Bing. Type in your sibling's name and hit the Google search button. If you do not know their name, try typing in one of your biological parents' names. While normally people do not search past the first or second page of Google, go ahead and look through as many pages as you can stand. If you find anything of note, write it down or copy the link address. Try to get as much identifying information as you can.
Use social media
One of the fastest ways to locate a person is through Facebook. If your Google search did not turn up a page, try searching directly within Facebook. You may stumble upon thousands of people with that name, but look through the pages and pay careful attention to location, college, and the friends they have. Some profiles will not allow you to view their content, so if you are thinking that someone might be a lead, send a private message and ask them if they would be willing to talk to you. As with all adoption searches, you will have to tread lightly. Some people are not interested in finding out their heritage. Here is an idea of what can you write in a Facebook private message:
An example of a private Facebook message
To Miss Smith,
My name is Julie DeNeen and I am the daughter of Judy and Henry Smith. I am currently looking for any sisters or brothers with one or two of the same parents. My goal in looking is to understand more fully my heritage and medical history. I also hope to make a connection to my biological kin, but I realize that many adoptees are not interested in forming relationships with their relatives and I can understand and respect that decision.
If you don't mind, I would love to know if you were adopted and if so, do you know anything about your biological parents? I contacted you simply because your name matched the surname I was looking for. If you know you are not related to them, it would be great to let me know so I can continue my search elsewhere.
Thanks so much for your time.
Where are you in the process?
If You Have...
Where to Begin
No idea if you have a sibling
Talk to relatives
The knowledge of a sibling but no name
Talk with relatives or Google your parent's surname
A full name
Google or Facebook
A name, address, and location
Attempt a handwritten letter or Facebook message
Hire a private investigator
A private investigator might be necessary if the above ideas do not result in any success. If your adoption was closed, it will take an expert to help you. They are professionals and are equipped with the tools and resources needed to track down a relative. The more preliminary information you have, the less expensive it will be. He will already have part of the research done.
The Adoption Authority
- Adoption, International, Domestic, Waiting Child, Baby, Infant, Open
Adoption.com is the authority for all things adoption. Check out our resources about pregnancy, domestic & international adoption, parenting, adoptees, foster parenting and more
One of the largest adoption forums is found at www.adoption.com. You can join this forum for free and find all kinds of tips and tricks for locating a sibling. Searching for family can be an exhausting and daunting task, so having the support of people who are going through the same thing, is priceless.
Learn from others who have gone before you, and you will avoid wasting time, energy, and money on the paths that are fruitless.
Important Emotional Preparations
- Adoption Reunion Preparation Advice- Knowledge You Must Know Once You Search and Find Birth Parents,
For the adoptee, underlying the anticipation of a reunion is the fear of possibly being rejected again. Rejection can happen again. Many of those who plan a reunion have thought about that and prepare mentally for further abandonment. However, most d
Adjust your expectations
Before you begin searching, try to prepare yourself emotionally. Reunions are incredibly complex and a counselor may be able to help you with feelings that you are currently unaware of. Forums are another great place to air and vent your frustrations, hopes, and fears.
Are you ready to find him or her?
Related to this topic is a relatively unknown but common phenomenon that happens in sibling reunions. It is called genetic sexual attraction or GSA. While preparing yourself for rejection is good, most people do not prepare for the opposite to happen. In up to 50% of sibling reunions, the feelings of euphoria and a desire to bond trick the brain into feeling feelings of sexual attraction. People who have helped others with GSA note that educating yourself beforehand can increase the likelihood that this will not happen. To understand this phenomenon, check out www.geneticsexualattraction.com.
As with any adventure, you are never quite sure what you will find. Be prepared for everything and try to enjoy the process. You might just find you learn some importants things about yourself along the way.
About the author
Julie DeNeen is a freelance writer who specializes in the area of psychology, relationships, and adoption. She also co-owns the GSA website for adults who are in complicated reunions. She has appeared on ABC and Dr. Drew regarding her personal adoption reunion story.
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