Should You Use an Adoption Reunion Registry?
An adoption reunion registry allows adoptees and birth parents over the age of 18 (or in some states, 21), to add their names to show that they’re willing to be contacted by any biological family members who might be looking for them now or in the future.
These registries may work in two different ways:
- A passive registry, where each party can publicly post the information they have, and anyone can search through the registry to see if they recognize any of that information as a possible match.
- An active registry, where a staff member will notify you if someone submits information that matches the information that you submit.
Most registries are passive, but either way, they give adoptees and birth family members the option to announce that they’re willing to be contacted. This is especially beneficial for those who are worried about intruding on the other person’s life by contacting them directly. Registries can act as a mutual invitation for contact.
Remember that not everyone knows about adoption reunion registries, and birth family members may not have signed up with the same registry as you. So, if you don’t think you see your birth family listed on the registry, don’t be discouraged. They may still be open to contact, and there are also other ways to search for birth family members outside of an adoptee search registry.
State Adoption Reunion Registries
Currently, there is no national adoption reunion registry, because state laws separately regulate everything to do with adoption. However, there are individual state adoption reunion registry sites. We recommend registering with the reunion registry in the state where you were born as well as the state where your adoption was finalized (if those were two different states) in case your birth family checks both.
Not every state has an adoption reunion registry. If there is no reunion registry for a particular state, the link below will take you to whatever information the state’s department offers that may help you in your search, such as information about obtaining your original birth certificate, information on adoption records, or whatever contact information to the state’s adoption department is available. There, someone may be able to point you in the right direction.
Find your state’s adoption reunion registry or more information about searching in your state below:
- National Foster Care & Adoption Directory Search
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Private Adoption Reunion Registries
A “private adoption reunion registry” does not refer to a registry specifically for private adoptions, but rather that it is privately owned rather than state-run. These registries are run by a company, organization, non-profit, person, or group of people. Sometimes a registry will cost money or require a membership, and sometimes it’s a free adoption reunion registry. The primary drawback of these registries is that they don’t always have as wide a reach as state-run registries. Additionally, because there are many private registries, it can make it harder to know which registry to sign up with. However, covering more bases may not hurt, depending on your situation.
The primary benefit of these registries? For states that don’t have reunion registries or that offer little to no information to adoptees regarding original birth certificates, these third parties may be able to help.
Some privately owned adoption reunion registries include:
- Alma Society Reunion Registry
- com Reunion Registry
- com Reunion Registry
- Arizona Adoption Locator
- Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry (FARR)
- Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry
- Kentucky Adoption Reunion Registry
- Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition New York
- South Carolina Adoption Reunion Registry
- Washington Adoption Reunion Movement (WARM)
International Adoption Reunion Registries
If you were adopted internationally, this process may look a little different. Your best bet to register for a reunion is through your birth country, and that country may not have any local registries. The agency or department that completed your adoption may be able to connect you to helpful information, so reach out to them, as well.
There are some privately owned registries that have extended their services to some select countries outside of the U.S. and may be able to help you locate your birth family. These include:
Other Adoption Reunion Resources for Adoptees
An adoptee search registry doesn’t always yield results, but combined with some of these resources, you may increase your chances of finding information on your birth family:
- State Putative Father Registries
- Search Angels
- Search and Reunion in Domestic and International Adoption – Center for Adoption Support & Education