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How to Find Siblings After Adoption

Updated on August 1, 2012

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.


Use Google

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.

Join forums

One of the largest adoption forums is found at 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.

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

Good luck!
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.

Are you interested in writing for Hubpages? You can sign up for free today!


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    • Chris Warren profile image

      Chris Warren 

      6 years ago

      Hello, i was placed for adoption 30 years ago. I was separated from my siblings, one sister and one brother. I have always wanted to find them, i have great news! I found my birth family and i found more brothers and sisters and a lot of cousins. I met my birth father for the first time that i remember last year, he took my wife, step-son and i out to eat. Finding your birth family can come with great results but it can also come with heart breaking results. I have three sisters that do not want anything to do with me for various reasons and it breaks my heart but i know God will find a way for them to receive me. I really hope this helps others and gives them hope that with a little work and dedication they too can find their birth family. I found all of them (with the exception of a few) on facebook, use social sites. I have also gone into the business of helping those that are searching for their loved ones that have been lost in adoptions, you can reach me at Best Wishes!

    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hi Julie,

      A very interesting hub which I have linked to FB and TW. It sounds like a very emotional journey. You have provided solid tool and guideline to people find their biological parents or kin. I know a few couples that have adopted children, mostly from Asia and Eastern Europe so I have an inkling of the roller coaster process to get a child, so i assume that it must be as equally hard to find lost kin. Great hub.

    • annerivendell profile image


      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Another great Hub, Julie. I'm on the other side so to speak in that I am the birth mother of my son who came looking for me when he was 18 years old. The day he got in touch was one of the happiest of my life and put an almost instant end to the deeper and deeper depression I was falling into. That was ten years ago and we have become close friends since then. He has since married and last week he became a dad. I am so privileged that he has allowed me to be a part of his life. I cried when I cuddled my tiny grandson for the first time, but unlike the first and last time I cuddled him as a tiny baby, this time they were tears of joy.

    • profile image


      6 years ago


      This article is very powerful and very informative. Thanks to today's technological advantages, there are many ways for children of adoption to discover the truth of their family and of their siblings. This hub is well informed, well laid out, and delivers the message and lessons clearly. It has also kept my attention greatly throughout the whole article. Well done!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Might I also suggest that if you are adopted and your parents have openly discussed the fact that they adopted you then you might ask them if they have any information. Usually there is at least the legal adoption decree, which will state your birth name and what your new name will be.

      My daughter has known from the get go that she is adopted. I made her a quilt with her name I gave her, her birth date, her gotcha date and her adoption date on it. She knows she grew in somebody else's tummy while my heart grew for her until we found each other.

      What she does not yet know because she is too young, is I have a 3" thick file on her background which accidentally included her birthmother's name and social security number.

      Adoptees please do not presume your parents do not want you to know about blood kin that gave birth to you or are siblings. There is a time and place for this discussion -- you have to be mature enough to handle the information. Not all of it is rosy and some of it can be downright UGLY. Yes, it is a very sensitive issue for all parties.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. My "fake" brother tried for me. That's how/why I joined the masons

    • greatstuff profile image


      6 years ago from Malaysia

      An excellent guide for many adoptees may want to find their real parent and siblings. Sometime it is difficult to discuss this matter openly with your adopted parent or relatives and many find it easier to find the 'truth' quietly. Your guide will help them. Voted useful and Shared

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Julie, this was an amazing hub, and so clear for anybody to read and understand, I like the way you told who you were at the bottom and the history of it too, amazing, fantastic and shared across the board! wonderful!

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 

      6 years ago from Scandinavia

      Most of us have the need to know where we came from, who we're biologically closely connected to and your hub could be the foundation and stepping stones to begin the search. Extremely useful hub. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • dinkan53 profile image


      6 years ago from India

      Nice instuctions to locate missing siblings. I like your way of presentation of this hub, good work. Voted up and useful.

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @josh- your welcome :P I didn't notice any mocking...phew! LOL

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania


      Fabulous hub with tons of great information! I do not know much when it comes to this kind of thing, so it was very interesting for me. Thanks for sharing Julie!

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @susie- I am glad you enjoyed it...

    • susiebrown48 profile image


      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Great article, on a topic close to my heart. I'm adopted, but I've never had a burning desire to go searching (personal preference only), very interesting though nonetheless.

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @carol-- thank you so much!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Congrats on your first hub with the program. It is very well written but mostly helpful to someone who really wants to find a family member.

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @jools- thank you. I made the banner myself (with picmonkey :)

      @billy- who knows..maybe they will find you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maybe some day I'll do all of this....or not! I'm not sure if I'm motivated enough to find my birth family. However, you did a great job of giving useful suggestions for those who are curious and need direction in the search.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Julie, very interesting article and also beautifully formatted - the banner at the top is very effective in highlighting your initial paragraph. The tables look great too - full of useful links and sound advice. Well Done!

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @sunshine- LOL, thank you!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Julie, This article is very useful to someone trying to find a sibling. I would like to find a sibling, but my chances are slim to none :) Excellent hub!


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