Common Reasons Why an Adopted Person, Birth Parent, or Adoptive Parent Searches for Birth Relatives

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General Family Information

Searchers may want to know the names of their birth relatives, where they live, whether they have birth siblings, and what they are like. Birth parents may want to know whether their birth children are alive and have been happy and well treated.

Family Traits and Personalities

Many adopted people and birth parents want to know how their birth relatives look and act and whether they share similar traits.

Medical History Information

Information on genetic diseases and conditions can be crucial for safeguarding an adopted person’s own health and the health of his or her biological children.

Circumstances of the Adoption

Often, adopted people feel a need to know why they were placed for adoption or why the rights of the birth parent were terminated and how that decision was made. Birth parents may want the opportunity to explain the circumstances to their child.

Establish Connections for Adopted Children

Some adoptive parents wish to find and reunite with their child’s birth family to preserve these connections for their children until they are old enough to maintain a relationship on their own, if desired. Adoptive parents may also contact birth relatives to help their children with specific issues of grief and loss and to reassure birth relatives that their child is doing well.

Child Welfare Information Gateway, Searching for Birth Relatives, 2018.


Please note: The Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) does not promote or endorse any websites, organizations or individuals that may be linked from this site. The AAP does not guarantee the accuracy of the information or the appropriateness of advice for a particular situation. It is our intent to assist users in their search for reliable and useful sources of information pertaining to adoption, legal guardianship, and parenting.