How to Research Your Biological Family if You’re Adopted

Author: PeopleFinders on May 21st, 2020
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Adoption is a surprisingly common experience. In fact, 2.5% of all United States children were adopted, and about 60% of people know someone who has personal experience with adoption. In the past, adoption was a fairly taboo subject, often because of the stigma attached to having a child outside of marriage. Because of this, many adult adoptees were adopted under a closed adoption, meaning that they did not receive information about their birth parents growing up. If you want to get to know a little bit more about your biological family, there are plenty of things you can do. Here is a quick guide to finding information on your biological family.

Get non-identifying information

Non-identifying information is the most easily accessible information when it comes to your biological parents. It generally includes information such as a general physical description, any important medical information, race, and occasionally religion, but does not include details such as names, addresses, or telephone numbers. Because of this, it can be a great starting point, but it’s not a useful way to find your biological parents. But if all you’re looking for is a general description of your birth parents, or you’re only interested in the basics, this can be an easy way to get that information without having to jump through hoops.

Ask your parents

Sometimes, even through a closed adoption, your adoptive parents might have some information on your birth parents. Your birth parents might even have given them specific contact information to give you when you turn a certain age. Even if your parents don’t have any information that can specifically help you find your biological parents, they might be able to help you in your endeavor to find them.

Find your state’s laws on requesting original birth certificates

Even if your parents adopted you through a closed adoption, your birth parents’ names will be on your unaltered birth certificate. An original birth certificate, which the hospital filed when you were born and had your birth parents’ names on it, is generally sealed away. There are no federal laws regarding original birth certificates. So, the extent to which it is sealed varies from state to state. Many states allow every adult adoptee to request a copy of their original birth certificate with no restrictions, while some might require a court order, generally only given because of emergencies. To find out more, you will need to look up your birth state specific regulations.

If available, file a request for your original birth certificate

If you do live in a state where your original birth certificate is available upon request, it’s a good idea to file a request to get the most reliable information. If you have a medical emergency, you should still file a request. So you can explain that to the judge and, hopefully, get a court order to access the birth certificate. The original birth certificate should have your birth parents’ full names and the hospital where you were born. This is the best way to make sure you have your birth parents’ actual information, and it’s also the best way information to use to track them down.

Find contact information for your parents

Though the birth certificate will have your parents’ full names, it won’t have any contact information, especially not current contact information. For that, you’ll have to turn to other sources. PeopleFinders is the best way to get contact information for your birth parents so that you can call them, email them, or even send them a letter in the mail. By using the people search feature, you can get their contact information. You can also use their background check to make sure that it’s safe to go meet up with with your birth parents in person if you do get a reply. With PeopleFinders, the information contained in your birth certificate will help you get in contact with your birth family, even though the certificate doesn’t have any contact information listed!


Finding your birth parents’ information after not knowing anything about them for a very long time can be a daunting task. Whether you want to get to know them a little bit or you have important questions to ask them, it’s often a good way for adoptees to get closure, especially if no one ever told you why your parents placed you for adoption or if you’re trying to trace your lineage. If you want to get in contact with your birth parents easily, PeopleFinders is the way to go.

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