How to Find a Child I Gave Up for Adoption

by Janece Bass
Search for the child you gave up.

Search for the child you gave up.

Giving a child up for adoption typically leaves a lasting impact on everyone involved. As a person grows and matures or her situation changes, she may want to make contact with a child she gave up for adoption for a variety of reasons. She may sorely miss the child and wish to have a positive relationship with him, she may want to make peace with her decision and explain her reasoning to her child, or she simply may want to inform her child of medical or family history.

Step 1

Research the adoption laws of the state where the adoption took place. Laws regarding adoption records vary from state to state. Locating your child if the adoption records are sealed will likely be more challenging than an open adoption. To make your search easier, some websites, such as, lists all the state laws regarding adoption.

Step 2

Contact the adoption agency, attorney, judge, caseworker, hospital or county clerk to inquire about the adoption. In some cases, these people or agencies may no longer exist or records may have been destroyed. In other cases, the name and location of the adoptive parents may be on file, which could be valuable information.

Step 3

Write a letter to your child including your contact information and basic details to leave with the agency if it can't release any information to you. It's likely your child will go to the agency, as well, if she's searching for you.

Step 4

Register your details with the International Soundex Reunion Registry, or ISRR, a non-profit organization that matches birth parents and adopted children wishing to reunite. A quick search may turn up your child if he's already began searching for you.

Step 5

Join a support group, whether online or in person, to help you work through your feelings as you wait. Other birth parents, and perhaps adopted children, who are going through the same thing, may help you get through it.


  • Keep a journal of every detail you, your friends and family members remember from the adoption. Names, places, dates and other details can help you locate your child.


  • Some adopted children may not wish to be reunited, or may harbor feelings of rejection or anger. Consult a support group or therapist to help you if this happens.
  • It may take months or years to connect with your child. It may not happen at all. Don't give up hope, but accept the fact that you may not be able to have the reunion you dream of.

About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.

Photo Credits

  • the woman looking afar. image by Andrey Andreev from