How to Find Someone Who Has Been Adopted or Is in Foster Care

Begin by making a list of all the things you know — or think you know — about the individual you’re looking for. For example, imagine that you are looking for your half-brother. Where was he born or where do you think he was born? How old is he now? In what areas has he lived? Where did he go to school? What’s his vocation, or likely vocation given his skills and interests? Dredge your memory and write everything down. These will be your guidelines as you begin your search.  

Google is always a good place to start a search. Type in the name of the person you’re looking for and put it in quotation marks. If he’s been mentioned in any newspaper or other publication, something might pop up, particularly if you add the region where you last knew the person to be living. Check out phone number search sites and run his name through social media sites as well. Some sites, such as Facebook, often include the person’s public profile picture — you don’t have to be “friends” with him to find out what he looks like and if he could possibly be your lost loved one. 

The Internet is crawling with people search engines. Zabasearch lets you enter a name and narrow your search to a state or even a city if you have an idea where your loved one is or was living. You can also try Pipl, Intelius or PeekYou. If you’re looking for an adult who may be a professional, try LinkedIn. 

Unfortunately, there’s a possibility that the person you’re looking for is deceased. Check the Social Security Death Index and obituaries in newspapers in the area where you think he might have been living. Other public records searches can help regardless of whether your loved one is still alive or deceased. VitalRec will link you to state records for birth certificates, death certificates and marriage records.  

Use the Internet to find a search angel to take care of the digging for you. Search angels work free of charge to locate family members who have entered foster care or who have been adopted. They may charge for expenses they incur in the search. After sharing a bit of information regarding the adoption or foster placement, the volunteer will do his best to find your loved one.  
More »

The Child Welfare Information Gateway offers birth family and adoptee search support groups, as well as kinship, foster care and adoption support groups. You might find other similar groups on the Internet, filled with people like you who are searching and may have learned a tip or trick of their own they can share with you.