Today, adoptees can find birth families through inexpensive DNA tests. This is true even if the birth records are sealed and you have zero information.
With over 25 million people in these genetic genealogy databases, success rates are soaring. Even when it's too late to meet the parents, adoptees are finding siblings, aunts and uncles, and other biological relatives.
The chance of getting an initial match to a half first cousin or closer is now about 50%. With some additional research, even more distant matches can often be traced to immediate relatives.
The critical step is to get into all four of the databases that compare your DNA to that of every other tester and give you a list of genetic relatives sorted by how closely related you are. Those tests are AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Family Finder, and MyHeritage. Click the links to learn more about each test and see prices.
Experts agree that you need to “fish in all the ponds” to find birth families. That’s because you need to exhaust every possibility of getting the closest possible match. There may be a parent or sibling already tested and waiting to be discovered.
Even if you’re not that lucky, working from a first cousin match is many times easier than working from a bunch of third cousin matches.
Each test has different strengths. Plus, you can download the raw data from your first test to a free site called GEDmatch for even more great tools.
If you can't immediately figure out the identity of close relatives from your genetic matches, there are many Facebook groups and other resources that provide free tips and personalized advice.
A bonus with each test is an estimated breakdown of your overall ethnicity. You can also use the raw data from any of these tests to see what genetic health issues you may have inherited through inexpensive sites like Promethease.
Any adult adoptee looking to find birth families or get answers about his or her genetic history should definitely do these DNA tests. Be sure to explore the rest of this website for additional tips and information.
DISCLOSURE: Virtually all of the DNA testing companies in this field have affiliate programs. Like most DNA bloggers, I participate in such programs only for those tests that I use and recommend anyway. Using one of my affiliate links will not cost you any extra, but the commissions help me provide news and advice for free.