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It isn’t easy when you lose touch with a family member because they’ve been adopted. You may feel like a piece of you is missing, especially if it was a brother or sister who you were close to. Even if it wasn’t a sibling, you could still wonder what happened to them and how you can reach out to them again.

There are several strategies to consider that can help you find your adopted relative. Follow the tips in this guide for a better shot at locating them.

Gathering Information on Your Adopted Relative

You don’t want to remember new pieces of information after you’ve already been searching for hours, and that’s why you should get everything written down or typed up before you begin. Be thorough and think back on everything you know regarding this person, such as:

  • Their name
  • Their date of birth
  • Any previous locations they lived, such as their hometown (exact addresses or just cities will do)

You may not have much on them beside a name, and even that could be something you don’t have if they were adopted as a child. Fortunately, you could possibly get more information through the court. You’ll need to file a petition with the state court that handled the adoption. In this petition, you’ll request that they let you see the case files, which would have more information that may help you find an adopted relative. It will be up to the judge whether you’re granted access to the case files.

Online Resources that Can Help

You may have the best luck taking your search online, considering the massive amount of information that’s available there. Here are three options to try:

1. Find My Family Adoption Registry

The Find My Family Adoption Registry lets both adoptees and members of their birth family set up accounts to reconnect with each other. You’ll start by registering with the service, and when you do that, you can include info on your adopted relative. You may want to find out if the adoption records are public.

After registration, you’re able to search everyone else who has registered with the service to see if any of them match. If you believe one does, a Search Angel can research the case to confirm or deny this.

2. FreeBackgroundCheck.org

Another effective method to find a family member that’s been adopted is a people search site, and FreeBackgroundCheck.org ranks at the top here. The simplest search option will be by name, and you can also add a city and state if you have that information.

If you find someone who you think is a match, you can check out a detailed report on them. These reports often include current contact information, such as the person’s phone number and email address.

3. Social Media

With all the people that use social media, there’s a good chance that your adopted family member set up an account on at least one of the major social networks. The two you should start with are Facebook and Instagram, as these are the most popular options. Facebook has more users, but Instagram has a large younger audience, which means it may help more if you’re looking for someone in their teens or twenties.

Twitter and LinkedIn are worth a look, as well. The best-case scenario is that you find an active account on at least one network and can contact your relative that way. Even if you find an account that the person doesn’t appear to check anymore, it could still have info that helps you in your search.

Working with a Professional

You don’t need to search for your adopted relative alone. You could also work with someone who can help. One such option is a confidential intermediary, which you can find through the court or adoption agency that handled the adoption. This intermediary gets the approval of the court to reach out to your adopted family member. There’s usually a fee for this that you pay whether the intermediary is successful or not.

Another option is an independent search consultant. These consultants are skilled at tracking down adoptees, and with legitimate consultants, you won’t need to pay unless they locate the adoptee for you. There are also private investigators, who will typically cost you less, but also don’t specialize in adoptees, meaning results can be hit or miss.

Final Thoughts

There’s no guarantee that you can track down your adopted relative, but if you’re persistent, you’ll have a good chance of doing so. Unless you’re on a time crunch, it’s best to start with the online resources to save money.

If those resources don’t work or you want to get the search done as quickly as possible, then you could go to the court for the case files and a confidential intermediary, or hire someone yourself. It may cost some time and money, but if you really want to see this relative, it will be a small price to pay.