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Adoption Angels: How to Find Living Family Members

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Surnames/tags: Adoption_Angels Adoption
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Adoption Angels Project

This help page is for finding living family members such as children, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and siblings who were adopted away from the family. The process is different from finding birth parents.



  • Take a DNA test and then upload that test everywhere. See DNA Basics for Adoptees for more information on what tests to take. If a family member is looking for their family, they are likely to take a DNA test.
    • Check Regularly for new DNA matches.
    • Send messages to your DNA matches, especially your closest ones and ask if they might have information on your family member.
  • Join adoption registries in your area or country. Do a Google search to locate registries for family members, siblings, etc. ALMA is one such registry.
  • If you have their current name, search in:
    • Newspapers
    • School yearbooks
    • City directories
    • Obituaries
    • Social media
    • Google search
  • Post a message on your WikiTree profile about who you are looking for and your goal in finding them. It is WikiTree policy not to post private information about living family, so please don't add their birth date or other private information.
  • Build your family tree on WikiTree for at least the first few generations. If a family member is looking for their family, they are likely to Google names.
  • If the person has a known or suspected talent, like music, art, theater, working with electronics, computers, etc, look for local clubs or organizations that they may have joined. Traits often run in families, so if you have musical talent it's possible a sibling or child will also.
  • If the person is old enough to appear in the 1940 US Census, look at who lived on the same street. Sometimes you can find people who are still in a neighboring house and they can have information and might even have current addresses where they send things like Christmas cards.
  • Consider calling a local neighborhood paper and see if they would run a short article about your quest to find your lost relative.
  • If the adoptee may live in the same town as you, consider putting a small personal ad in the local paper asking the person to contact you. Also try tacking up flyers on community bulletin boards. Be careful about posting your personal information. Consider getting a P.O. Box or setting up an email address specifically for your search.
  • Check with local alumni offices. While they may not give you contact info, they may agree to pass on your contact info.
  • Repeat these steps at least every 3 months or more frequently as it applies.

Parents Searching for Children

  • Follow the Checklist
  • If available, request information from the state your child was adopted in. This webpage has information on which states give adoption paperwork to birth parents.

Privacy Considerations

To protect the privacy of the person you are searching for, please consider the information you post publicly about them such as on social media. By posting their name, birth date and birth location, you are potentially giving information to identity thieves and may be publicizing information your family member wants to keep private.

Contacting Living Family

Family members who were adopted away may not wish to have contact with their biological family. Proceed with caution when reaching out. If they say the don't wish for contact, please respect their wishes. However, sometimes the shock of hearing from you may be too much at first causing an immediate rejection. You might give them a few months and try again.

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  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Emma MacBeath and Adoption Angels WikiTree. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
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