While this page is called Adoptee Resources, it is also for donor conceived individuals, others with unknown parents, and anyone interested in adoption.
As an adoptee in search for more than 25 years—and a pioneer in the use of DNA testing to find birth parents—I have discovered many useful resources that I am sharing here.
Genetic genealogy DNA tests have helped me—and thousands of others—get around sealed records, lies, and coverups to identify and reunite with biological family members.
See my Finding Lost Family page for details on how this is done.
Five home DNA tests are certainly among the most important adoptee resources. To learn more about each one and see current pricing, click the links.
Most people will not be lucky enough to immediately match a close relative on any of these DNA tests. If that's you, success is still possible. But you need to dive deeply into both genetic genealogy and conventional genealogy.
See my DNA Education page.
Identifying the common ancestors you share with distant DNA matches and then tracing many families forward in time to identify your birth parent can easily require 100 hours or more.
That's typical for an experienced researcher who already knows what to do.
Learning how to do it yourself will take a lot longer.
If you don’t have that much time—or you’re concerned about birth parents passing away before you find them—you should consider outsourcing your search.
“Hole in My Heart” by Lorraine Dusky feels like two different but complementary books beautifully stitched together by a gifted author. The first is a heartfelt memoir of a young woman forced by circumstances to give up her child for adoption. The second, backed by copious footnotes, is an overview of adoption in America, including the long-term impact on adoptees, and efforts to reform adoption through open records.
As an adoptee myself, I have read many books on the subject. While Dusky only occupies one corner of the adoption triangle, the long, emotionally exhausting reunion with her daughter yielded deep insights into the perspectives of adoptees and their adoptive parents. This book helps readers understand the challenges and trauma of adoption from all sides.
The book also provides an important glimpse of American society as it used to be. Today, with nearly 50% of babies born to single mothers, it can be hard for younger readers to imagine the overwhelming shame felt by unwed mothers and the enormous pressure they faced to give up their babies.
My biological mother knew the couple that adopted me. Yet she died in an accident just 13 months after my birth. Had she lived, would she have reached out to me someday? I will never know. As Dusky makes clear, life is full of What-Ifs that can hold us like a vice and never let go.
While Dusky’s path is not the one she wanted, the world is a much better place for her being the one to take it. First, she had the courage to become a revered spokesperson for open records and that movement has progressed much farther than it would have without her. Secondly, as a seasoned journalist, she was the perfect writer to research and write this amazing book.
My Facebook Groups page includes many groups focused on genetic genealogy. Since DNA testing is such a powerful tool for finding birth families, these are important adoptee resources.
In addition, there are dozens of Facebook groups that focus specifically on adoptees, adoption, or similar topics.
I list the more active adoptee groups below in four categories.
Be aware that some groups fit more than one category. Within each category these adoptee resources are listed in alphabetical order.
Note that NPE stands for Not the Parent Expected and MPE stands for Misattributed Parentage Experience.
Connecting Roots (for adoptees from Chile)
More books at Adoptee Reading