DNA testing for adoptees
From ISOGG Wiki
- 1 Websites
- 2 Projects
- 3 Blogs
- 4 Recommended blog posts and articles
- 5 Success stories
- 6 News articles
- 7 Methodology
- 8 Videos
- 9 Mailing lists
- 10 General Facebook groups
- 11 Books
- 12 Further reading
- 13 See also
This page provides information and resources on DNA testing for adoptees.
ISOGG highly recommends that adoptees, orphans, donor conceived individuals and others with sensitive matters work with experienced search organizations prior to making contact with biological families.
- DNA Detectives Facebook group The largest gathering of individuals of unknown parentage using DNA results to identify biological family
- DNA Adoption
- Dick Hill's DNA Testing Advisor website
- DNA success & surprise stories A searchable compilation provided by Louise Coakley which includes many adoption stories
- Child Migrants Trust A specialist service for all Britain's former child migrants and their families in Canada, New Zealand, the former Rhodesia and Australia
- GI Trace An organisation set up to help people in Germany, Austria, the UK and elsewhere trace their American GI fathers
- Adoption Database Registry An international database listing "adoptees, birth mothers, birth fathers, birth siblings, other birth family and adoptive family members in the process of searching for a family member".
- The Global Adoptee Genealogy Project (GAGP)
- Australian Adoption Project at Family Tree DNA
- British Home Children in Canada
- Canadian Roots An organisation helping Canadian War Children born in the UK trace their roots in Canada.
- ICSA China Advice on DNA testing for adoptees with Chinese roots
- DNA Connect is a not for profit organisation which is providing low-cost DNA testing in China to help reunite children who have been sent to America for adoption with their birth parents in China. See this success story.
- Plan Angel A voluntary organisation which helps to bring families together.
- GI Babies Germany (Facebook page)
India and Sri Lanka
- Despite mixed results, South Asian adoptees turn to DNA tests by Bhavya Dore, Undark 19 October 2020.
- Adoption research by John Grenham. Irish Roots blog, 29 August 2017.
- Solving adoption mysteries in your family tree by Maurice Gleeson, Genetic Genealogy Ireland blog, September 2014. A comprehensive guide to adoption research in Ireland.
- Clann A project gathering data on Ireland's homes for unmarried mothers and their children.
- Ireland's Lost Babies A documentary about Irish babies who were sent to America by the Catholic Church.
- The ISOGG Ireland commentary on the proposed Adoption Bill 2016 5 March 2108.
- 325Kamra A non-profit group helping Korean adoptees reunite with their birth families in Korea.
- Adopted Koreans, Stymied in Search of Birth Parents, Find Hope in a Cotton Swab by Marie Tae McDermott, New York TImes, 27 August 2016.
- DNA test reunites adoptee with birth mother by Claire Lee, The Korea Herald, 15 August 2016.
- Facebook group for DNA tested Korean adoptees
- Free DNA tests for Korean orphans (Facebook group)
- Find lost Russian and Ukrainian Family A blog by Vera Miller which includes stories of adoptee searches and advice on DNA testing for people searching for family in Russia and the Ukraine.
- Adoption records UK Government website including Contact Registry
- Overview of adoption in Northern Ireland
- Adoption records in Scotland
- Adoption Search Reunion website
- Adoption Services for Adults With effect from 14th July Adoption Services will be the keeper of the Norcap Contact Register. They will be able to check for registrations from the 65,000 + names already on the list, but will not be taking new registrations. Contact
- Birthlink - Adults Affected by Adoption (Scotland). Birthlink also hosts the Adoption Contact Register for Scotland
- The UK Birth Adoption Register
- The Barnardos Making Connections service
- History of formal adoption and the law. Family Tree Forum reference library article.
- PAC-UK The agency for adoption and permanency support
- LookupUK.com A resource centre for finding lost friends and relatives in the UK
- A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England 1918-1945 A book by Jenny Keating from the Institute of Historical Research reviewed by Daniel Grey, September 2009.
- Adoption in England and Wales - the twentieth century A useful collection of slides from Jenny Keating,
- Adoption articles from The Guardian newspaper
- Genealogy if you are adopted A brief talk from Penny Walters on her experience of tracing her birth family
- Mother and Baby Homes
- Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons Group (DAP) The group also has an associated Facebook group
- Tips for finding adoption or orphanage records Ancestry.com Support Center article.
- Adoption.com Registry
- International Soundex Reunion Registry
- G’s Registry
- The ALMA Society's Adoption Registry
- Concerned United Birthparents (CUB)
- American Adoption Congress
- Adoptee Rights Coalition
- Adoptee Rights Law Includes information on which states restrict or don't restrict access to an adoptee's original birth certificate
- Adoptees United A not-for-profit organisation founded in 2019 which provides support for adoptees and campaigns for equal rights for adoptees. They also have a DNA donation program to provide DNA kits for those in need.
- An organisation called Amerasians Without Borders uses DNA testing to identify Amerasians still in Vietnam, advocates for them to immigrate to the U.S., and supports them once they are resettled. The testing is done in partnership with Family Tree DNA. For details see the article One man's mission to bring home 'Amerasian' born during the Vietnam War.
Perspectives and opinions
- Lifelong issues in adoption by Deborah N. Silverstein and Sharon Kaplan, American Adoption Congress.
- Silent voices heard: impact of the birth mother experience: then and now byDonna Portuesi, American Adoption Congress.
- The idea of adoption: An Inquiry into the History of Adult Adoptee Access to Birth Records. Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 53, p. 367, 2001.
- Birth Records of Illegitimates and of Adopted Children
- The Donaldson Adoption Institute – research and publications on many adoption related topics including access to records.
- National Council for Adoption – mainstream opposition to unrestricted access to adoption records and original birth certificates.
- Secret Sons and Daughters Adoptee tales from the sealed records era
- Why isn’t my mother looking for me Priscilla Stone Sharp – Search Angel, 22 July 2011.
- Birth Mother First Mother Forum. This website has many articles that address the various birth mothers' perspectives. Here is a selection:
- A letter to (birth) mothers who reject reunion by Lorraine Dusky [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum, 10 November 2011. A letter written for adoptees by a mother who gave her own child up for adoption.
- Why did my mother keep me a secret? by Jane Edwards, [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum, 29 August 2012. A birth mother's perspective.
- A relationship with my daughter goes awry. Reason unknown by Lorraine Dusky. [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum, 6 August 2013. A reunion that goes bad.
- Time to end the myth of first mother's right to privacy by Jane Edwards, [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum, 17 July 2014.
- Respect and rights. Deb's Delvings in Genealogy, 27 September 2016.
- Adoption and abduction: legal differences, emotional similarities by Mirah Riben. Huffington Post, 28 January 2017.
- An open letter to Long Lost Family by How to Be Adopted, an adoptee living in London, England.
- Adoption and DNA by CeCe Moore
- Three Branch Tree by Laurie Pratt. A blog documented the story of a misattributed paternity and the quest to identify the biological father
- Adoption Reunion Search Resources Blog by Diane Harman-Hoog
- Women’s Voices Magazine - Search Angels by Priscilla Stone Sharp
Recommended blog posts and articles
- Understanding your DNA genealogy test results Family Tree Magazine (UK). Information on using GEDmatch and DNAGedcom
- The history of genetic genealogy and unknown parentage search by CeCe Moore. Journal of Genetic Genealogy 2016: 8 (1): 35-37.
- How to come in contact with the father you never met WikiHow article.
- Not always a happy ending by Kitty Cooper, Kitty Cooper's blog, 8 November 2018.
- Solving unknown parentage cases with DNA by Kitty Cooper, Kitty Cooper's blog, 26 September 2017. Explains how to use Gworks at DNAGedcom
- Letter to a birth parent by Leah Larkin. The DNA Geek, 19 July 2017. Includes a template letter fo send to putative birth parents.
- DNA testing: seven guidelines for adoptees A guest blog post by Richard Hill on the MyHeritage blog, 28 February 2017.
- The dark side of fairy tales by Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, 28 January 2017. Cautionary advice on the realities of unknown parentage searches.
- DNA testing for adoptees: 2017 by Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, 8 January 2017.
- Adoptee testing: a study by Blaine Bettinger. The Genetic Genealogist, 8 January 2017.
- Can DNA help you find your birth parents? Part I by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Jake Byrnes, Ancestry blog, 13 November 2014.
- Can DNA help you find your birth parents? Part II by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Jake Byrnes, Ancestry blog, 19 November 2014.
- Four tips for adoptees using AncestryDNA to find their family by Anna Swayne. Ancestry blog, 21 October 2014.
- DNA Testing for Adoptees—AncestryDNA Has the Power to Unlock the Answers in Your Story by Anna Swayne, Ancestry blog, 13 February 2014.
- No (DNA) bullying by Roberta Estes, DNAeXplained, 15 May 2013. Includes adoptee scenarios such as dealing with family members who do not want contact.
- Searching with 23andMe A compilation of adoptees' DNA success stories from 23andMe, 4 August 2015.
- Finding Foleys An adoption success story from Karen Corbeil
- DNA testing connects adoptees with birth parents. What happens next is complicated by Mary Jo Pitzi, AZ Central, 30 November 2017.
- How DNA testing has transformed adoption search by Richard Hill. Adoption Today, 20th Anniversary Special Edition 2017, pp22-23.
- Buried secrets, living children: secrecy, shame, and sealed adoption records by Lisa Munro. Nursing Clio, 10 October 2017.
- DNA’s new ‘miracle’: How adoptees are using online registries to find their blood relatives by Tara Bahrampour. Washington Post, 12 October 2016.
- When mum and dad are actually aunt and uncle by Athar Ahmad and Kirren Rathor. BBC News Magazine, 4 October 2016.
- Why did international adoption suddenly end? by Ben Christopher, Priceonomics, 29 July 2016.
- How to find and connect with family using a DNA test by Kaitlyn Short, Best Company, 18 February 2021.
- Solving adoption mysteries with DNA by Maurice Gleeson. DNA and Family Tree Research.
- Searching for biological relatives: from DNA test to reunion A guest blog post from Richard Weiss of DNA Adoption on the MyHeritage blog, 19 June 2018.
- Finding biological family A guide from Ancestry
- Five tips for discovering biological family with AncestryDNA
- Contacting your birth parent or siblings by Legacy Tree Genealogists
- Using DNA to solve unknown parentage cases by Maurice Gleeson, 21 June 2018.
- DNA testing for adoptees: searching for biological roots Diahan Southard interviews CeCe Moore, 17 June 2017.
- Finding family with DNA testing: a genetic detective story by Richard Hill. A presentation given at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in April 2016.
- 20/20 "Since the Day I was Born" DNA testing is used to solve the high profile case of three half-siblings abandoned by the same mother, March 2016.
- AncestryDNA: More tips for identifying biological family by Crista Cowan, AncestryDNA, 19 January 2016
- Finding Sue: the journey by Rob Warthen. A presentation given at Genetic Genealogy Ireland in Dublin in October 2015.
- Solving adoption mysteries in your family tree. A presentation given by Maurice Gleeson at Genetic Genealogy Ireland, Dublin, in October 2014.
- The search for biological family AncestryDNA, 19 June 2014.
- DNA Adoption A new Yahoo group started in May 2013 by a team of experienced search angels for adoptees and anyone else utilizing DNA to discover unknown heritage or search for close biological family. This is a very busy list.
- AdoptionDNA Yahoo group for adoptees, parents and siblings to talk about their DNA Results. This is no longer a very active list as many of the contributors and experts have moved to the DNAAdoption list (see above). It often has an emphasis on the politics of adoption in the US
- AdoptionDNA Tools Yahoo group focused on developing tools to extract useful data from the databases. If you are an adoptee looking for help, you should join the DNA Adoption group at the top of this list. The same experts in this group are also in the DNA Adoption group.
- Soaring Angels. An adoption search group.
- Unknown father DNA group A Yahoo group started by Cheryl Whittle. This group is for those searching for the identity of a biological father through DNA testing. Advice, specific testing plans, interpretation assistance and support are offered. (This group is no longer active.)
- Unknown fathers DNA A new Yahoo group started by CeCe Moore and Karin Corbeil. This group was created to offer DNA advice and support for people who are searching for unknown fathers.
General Facebook groups
- Genealogy Groups on Facebook - a comprehensive list
- DNA Detectives (for help with interpretation of DNA results). The group also offers a Kits of Kindness Program to help those who are searching for biological family but cannot afford to pay the costs of DNA testing
- DNA Detectives American Asian group
- Search Squad (for help with the genealogy)
- GI and Family International Search
- Aussie and UK Angels
- Karen Bali. Researching Adoption: An Essential Guide to Tracing Birth Relatives and Ancestors. Family History Partnership (UK), 2015.
- Paul Joseph Fronczak. The Foundling: The True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret and My Search for the Real Me. Howard Books, 2017.
- Richard Hill. Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA. Createspace, 2012.
- Georgina Stafford. Where to find adoption records: a guide for counsellors, adopted people and birth relatives. British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, 2001.
- United Nations. Child Adoption: Trends and Policies. New York: United Nations, 2009.