Birth Family Search & Reunion Stories and Advice


Adult adoptees, adoptive parents, and experts on the emotional process of birth parent search and reunion in adoption.

author Shelly Gill Murray with her husband and daughter on their trip to Colombia to meet their daughter's birth mother

“Back to Bucaramanga” – Meeting My Daughter’s Birth Mother in Colombia

“Back to Bucaramanga” – Meeting My Daughter’s Birth Mother in Colombia

We set off on the 3,400-mile journey to meet my daughter’s birth mother in silence, our questions too big to put into words. In Colombia, communicating through an interpreter, but also through smiles, tears, embraces, and shared sensory experiences, all of us began to find answers.

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the author's preteen children pictured with their birth mother during a visit

“Meeting Jennifer” – Opening a Foster Adoption

After adopting my children from foster care, we eased into contact with their birth mother. She and I—a conservative, suburban mom—couldn’t be more different, and I’m glad that’s the case. The kids have a special relationship with her that they can’t have with me.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: How to Share Sad News About a Birth Parent?

“When my daughter was in her teens, we sent a letter to her birth mother via our adoption agency, but never heard back. Yesterday, I got a social media message from her birth mother’s sister, which shared sad news. How do I break this news to my daughter?”

a woman looks through an album, holding a photo of her biological brother from one of his visits

“Sister—a Role I Wasn’t Ready to Play”

"My biological brother was adopted as an infant. When he found us, he was eager to claim us as family. But is that really what we were?" A woman shares the story of meeting her birth sibling and offers advice for others contemplating search or faced with a reunion.

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opening the envelope, what woud the paternity test results say about this man who might be our child's birth father?

The Paternity Test, Part 2: “The Results”

After meeting a man who thought he might be our daughter’s birth father, we were all invested in the idea of an open adoption relationship—but how would the test come back?

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birth family meeting at a restaurant

The Paternity Test, Part 1: “I Hope It’s Them”

When our daughter was born, her birth mom listed the birth father as “unknown.” Ten years later, he found us on social media and reached out.

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Visiting My Daughter's Birth Country: Honduras

“Amanda’s Journey Home to Her Birth Country”

"You belong to two heritages-Jewish and Latin American-and at this special time in your life, when many Jewish families travel to the Mideast, we're heading south." More than a few heads turned when I announced this in my speech to my thirteen-year-old daughter, Amanda, on the occasion of her bat mitzvah.

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Our Birth Mother Search in Guatemala

“Looking for Answers in Guatemala”

When it came to locating our daughter's birth mother in Guatemala, we didn't know where to begin. But we knew that we had to try.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Just Found Out That My Child Is Friends with His Birth Mother on Facebook

“I recently found out that my teen is friends with his birth mother on Facebook. I feel badly that I found this out by ‘snooping,’ but I am also shocked and upset that she didn’t try to contact us or the adoption agency first. What should we do?”

A teen who wants to start a birth parent search

When Teens Want to Search for Birth Parents

Part of how teens form identity is by finding ways they are alike and different from their family. They may want to search for their genetic relatives to figuring out who they are and how to emotionally put pieces in place.

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An adoptee and her mother discussing her birth father reunion

“For the Love of My Child”

When Elizabeth was young, closed adoption was comfortable. But my outlook changed the day my teenage daughter said, "I want to find them."

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And Then I Found You

[Book Review] And Then I Found You

With her sister’s permission, the novelist wrote a fictionalized account of her experiences leading up to the adoption plan.

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Here's how to cope when your child starts searching for birth family online.

When Teens Find Birth Family Online

Got a Web-savvy teen on your hands? Here's how to set safety guidelines for online birth family contact.

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chinese birth parent search and reunions

Letting Her Go: Chinese Birth Parent Search and Reunions

The first study on this topic provides fascinating insights about adoptees’ and parents’ motivations to search, search methods used, the initial reunion, and ongoing contact.

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