As an adoptee, the family tree of adoption can be a little more complex than the family trees of others — especially if you were adopted before open and semi-open adoptions became the norm. You may have some gaps in your adoption genealogy that you’ve always wondered about.
Whether you’re in the early stages of searching for birth parents in a closed adoption, or you’re simply trying to learn more about your roots, genetic testing for adopted adults can be a revealing look into the past.
How DNA Testing for Adoptees Works:
In your DNA, you have chromosomal markers that can be identified and measured to determine possible genetic links between DNA samples. So genetic testing services will run your DNA sample and cross-reference it against other samples to find any possible genetic links.
The tests results are able to tell how closely linked your DNA is to the DNA of others, which means they can determine how closely you’re related to someone. They’re able to identify whether you’re close relatives (siblings, grandchildren, cousins, parents, etc.) or more distantly related (second cousins, great-aunts/uncles, common ancestors, etc.) by your genetic linkage.
Here’s What Happens When You Receive Your DNA Test Results:
After you receive your results from the genetic testing for adoptees, you’ll be able to upload the raw data into GedMatch and compare your results with other samples to find the ones that match.
If you have difficulty sorting out what your DNA test results mean (most of us do), you can ask for help from the volunteers of DNA Detectives or Search Squad for free. They specialize in helping adoptees use information gleaned from genetic testing to find birth family.
These Services are the Three Best Genetic Testing for Adoptees:
For $79–$566, you can customize your DNA adoption test to different levels of comprehensiveness and follow maternal or paternal lines of genealogy. This is a helpful option for adoptees who may know information about their birth mother’s side of their biological family, but who know little or nothing about their birth father’s side, or vice versa.
You can access group projects through FamilyTreeDNA and connect with both genetic experts as well as other adoptees who are searching for birth family or their adoption genealogy.
FamilyTreeDNA will provide you with email contact information whenever it is available for all your genetic matches. So if your results reveal connections to any DNA samples of birth family members, this service could put you in direct contact with those biological relatives.
Through a relatively new service provided by Ancestry.com, adopted children can now order a DNA testing kit online for $99 and have their results uploaded into the Ancestry.com database. This service can help link you to your biological family tree as you establish your adoption genealogy. Through Ancestry.com, you may be able to find information about your birth family and concretely visualize your genetic family tree.
AncestryDNA also provides adoptees with a breakdown of their ancestral ethnicities.
23andMe offers two different packages for genetic testing for adopted adults: Ancestry for $99 or Health + Ancestry for $199.
The greatest benefit of 23andMe’s Health + Ancestry service is its ability to provide adoptees who have closed adoptions with potentially life-saving information about their health history based on the findings of genetic markers within their DNA.
- 35+ Carrier Status reports (to determine if you’re a genetic carrier for inherited conditions like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, hereditary hearing loss, and more)
- 5+ Wellness reports (to analyze your genetic predispositions for factors including deep sleep, lactose intolerance, saturated fat and weight genetic analysis, and more)
- 19+ Traits reports (to analyze your genetic likelihood to inherit male pattern baldness, your preferences for sweet vs. salty, unibrow, and more)
The other two services for DNA testing for adoptees don’t offer such a detailed examination of your genetics’ role in your health and the health of your own descendants, but they may be more able to directly connect you with possible birth family members.
The Success of DNA in Birth Family Searches and Adoption Reunions
For adoptees who want to locate or learn more about their personal genealogy, genetic testing for adopted adults is one of the best ways to begin. You can use the information you gain to help you in your adoption search, if that’s what you wish to pursue.
Many adoptees like you have used DNA testing for adopted people to connect with birth family members or connect with their own biological history. It can be helpful to connect with these fellow adoptees for tips, support, and community as you start your adoption genealogy journey.