7 Adoption Resources That Have Helped Me Find My Roots

As an adoptee it's natural to wonder where we come from.

Tom Andriola June 15, 2015

It’s not easy to uncover the information that you know is available, but just not to you. As an adoptee, I am denied the right to my original birth certificate, to the identities of my biological parents, and, as a result, to the story of my very existence and my roots.

But we adoptees are resourceful. We are passionate about our cause. We are so motivated that there is nothing that will prevent us from finding out what it is our right to know. Here are some of the resources that I and other adoptees have used to uncover the truth.

My Family
1. My Family

Thankfully, my parents have always been very open with me about my adoption. When I became curious about finding my birth mother in my twenties, they were happy to provide me with the little information they had. It wasn’t much, but I came to understand that every clue, no matter how small, is one that might ultimately help you solve the puzzle.

My Foster Home
2. My Foster Home

While my adoption was being finalized, I stayed in a foster home for three and a half months. My mom had always stayed in touch with the woman whose home I was in. When I was conducting my search, my mom reached out to her, and was able to obtain a piece of paper that had my given name recorded on it. That was huge!

The Internet Circa 1997
3. The Internet Circa 1997

When I began the search for my birth mother, the Internet was new. It was 1997, and I didn’t know much about using it. Nonetheless it had all I needed, because when I did a search for my given last name, there was only one hit in the New York City metro area, which is where I was born. All the rest were at least 100 miles from there. Eventually, I sent a letter to that address, and I ended up being right on.

Facebook and Modern Internet
4. Facebook and Modern Internet

The Internet was much more advanced when I went to search for my birth father in 2010. While the name my biological mother had given me was fairly common, a few other clues that she had given me helped me to hone in on the answers I was looking for. The university he had attended, for example, indicated that he lived in the State of Connecticut. Then with some of the websites that listed household members and approximate ages, I was able to feel fairly certain I had found him. Through Facebook, I was also able to solidify information I had obtained to verify the identities of three half siblings on my father’s side.

DNA
5. DNA

Another key detail that my birth mother had given me was that my birth father was Jewish. When I took my DNA test to help me establish information that I was looking for on my paternal side, I was confident that I was solidifying my story when all of the results on my paternal side came back showing Jewish ancestry.

My Birth Certificate and the New York Public Library
6. My Birth Certificate and the New York Public Library

Many adoptees are unaware that the New York Public Library has an index of birth records, by year that contain the given names of everyone born in New York City. In it, I was able to find my own birth record, which contained my date of birth and a 5-digit record number that matches the one on my birth certificate. Had I not already known my given name, I would have been able to find it that way! Still, I was happy to be able to verify that element of my own personal story.

Ancestry.com
7. Ancestry.com

While I have only tinkered with plugging my DNA results into an Ancestry.com family tree, I know some adoptees who have been able to uncover their entire story by using these two resources in combination with each other. It is painstaking work, but it has yielded the ultimate reward for those who have stayed the course. It may be the only viable option for adoptees with little to no information, but it is a reliable one.

author image

Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.


Need help from a search & reunion professional?

Love this? Want more?

Host: ws2.elevati.net