Finding Adopted Siblings

Finding adopted siblings with Joanna North Associates

Finding your adopted siblings is something that many people affected by adoption consider. It is natural to be curious about your close birth relatives and more than that follow a deep desire to connect or reconnect with your own kin folk.

Are you considering finding adopted siblings?

Taking this step can be a chance to find out more about your identity and build meaningful relationships with people who matter to you. Usually, finding adopted siblings is a positive experience but there are challenges to consider and actions you can take that mean you stand the best possible chance of finding the people who are important to you. You can further protect yourself by considering and preparing for what the possible various outcomes of the experience could be and how you can deal with a more challenging and less than ideal completion to your search.

Many of our adopted sibling searches do result in a contact and a happy connection, but since we think it’s so important to look at the various outcomes, we will bring these to your attention later in this article.

Starting point for finding adopted siblings

Your starting point for finding your adopted sibling is to take notes on what information you have already about them as well as in addition any anecdotal material. Sometimes you will be looking for an unknown sibling and know almost nothing about them other than the fact that they exist. Others will have their adopted name and perhaps even an old address. It is important to write down all that you do know as it will ensure you are fully prepared. These facts will influence how you can proceed with your search and helps us to help you.

In any adoption tracing the finding of the birth relative is usually the simplest piece of the whole process. The more complex aspects are,

  1. Ensuring you are prepared for any possible outcome.
  2. Sourcing key information to make finding the person possible.
  3. Checking for veto’s and other nuances of the particular adoption
  4. Whether or not you will seek the help of a professional agency,
  5. The method you will use to contact your sibling.
  6. The support you and your adopted sibling may need throughout this demanding journey.

As you can see there is much to consider.

The contact part of a search in finding an adopted sibling is governed by adoption law. This adds an extra layer of complexity but here at Joanna North Associates we can help you with both the tracing and finding as well as the contacting. This is referred to as an ‘Adoption Intermediary’ service. More importantly with our experience and experts, we can complete this work in a legal and ethical way to a high standard that keeps you safe.

How to find a sibling given up for adoption

Finding adopted siblings with Joanna North Associates

The information you know about your sibling will inform our approach to the search. If you do not know their adopted name, then we would start by ordering the relevant paperwork (usually the adoption records) to provide us with the official information we need. This information is made available to us as we are an Ofsted Registered Adoption Support Agency. We are rated by Ofsted as offering an Outstanding service to our clients. (see our Trust Pilot feedback).

Once we have the key facts for finding your adopted sibling and have completed all the legal formalities, which would include the name change, we will use those key facts and our years of experience in searching for relatives to trace your sibling to their current location. This is the most straightforward part of the service we offer. Once the address has been found, that is when our work really begins. However, you do need to know that we do not divulge any of the contact information to anyone until it is stated that the subject of a search wishes to go ahead.

How to contact an adopted sibling once you have found them

Once the research has been completed, we must really think about how we make that all important first contact with your birth relative. How that contact is made and by whom can impact on how well a relationship can move forward. It is vital that this is done in a mindful and sensitive manner. We are here to support you and your sibling and have many experts in place to provide the right level of customer care.

We will send out an intermediary letter to your birth brother or sister that allows them time for reflection. A letter might seem to be an old-fashioned way to communicate but it gives the subject the best chance to come to terms with the surprise, digest the information and make an informed decision. We also direct them to the helpful leaflets on our website and to contact us if they have questions or need support. The first contact letter is written to be personal enough to encourage a response but does not bombard the subject with too much information. We must consider that you may have chosen to look for a sibling and you have made this decision at a time in your life when you feel ready and able to deal with any outcome (more on that later) but we have to remember that for the subject of the search they have not had time to prepare. Now many siblings do want contact, but this soft and mindful yet professional approach is always appreciated in both the short and the long term.

Outcomes of an adopted sibling search

No one can control the outcomes of a search. Sometimes it is just not the right time for the relative you are trying to find and so it is important that you understand the various scenarios that can occur, that you have considered these, and feel as if you are strong and ready to manage them. You may need some support and our service package is all ready to provide this with our expert counselling team on hand. Here are some of the highs and lows of a search that you might experience.

1. The relative does want contact.
This is usually the outcome that is sought after. People come to us to help them achieve contact or at least answers or closure. Everyone who comes to us to find an adopted sibling has their own reasons to do such a search and we would always treat each case on its individual and unique set of circumstances. Most searches do result in this constructive outcome and although it is not without complexity it is what we aim for.

2. The birth relative does not want contact or does not respond to our letters. 
This can be harder to deal with but with our support you can still get to a point of closure. We encourage our clients to remember that they have done their absolute best and that we will have done everything in our power to get a good outcome. We will provide you with a report to show the actions we have taken for you. When you know you cannot do more, you then know that your work is complete. The work can help with closure and bring peace of mind. We will place information on your file in case the birth relative changes their mind in the future so that we can contact you.

3. The subject of the search is deceased. 
This can be very distressing, but of course, if you have never met someone or not seen them for many years you will not know the circumstances of their life and sadly, we do have cases where this does happen. 

We cannot control the trajectory of a person’s life, but we can help to support you through any event like this. It is going to be easier if you are prepared to consider this possibility beforehand and make sure you feel strong enough to face this. But you will not be alone. 

Our role is to support you and we have often been able to help our clients feel a sense of closure even when the subject of their search is deceased – they feel that at least they knew about that sibling’s life.

Some helpful questions to ask yourself when finding an adopted sibling

  1. What is my best outcome, what am I looking to achieve?
  2. If I do not get the best outcome do I have the personal support around me to deal with anything that the search may bring about for me.
  3. Which agency should I use to carry out this work in a legal and ethical way?

If you would like more information about our service and finding adopted siblings, then please do get in touch.

Further information and support

Finding adopted relatives: Related Leaflets

What to do once you are in contact (Leaflet 1)

What to do once you are in contact (Leaflet 1)

This leaflet has been written from our experience and expertise and also with help from external research*. In this leaflet we discuss contact with your relative and what that may look like, things to consider and different responses you may experience. If you have difficulties with language or reading, please let us know and we will read this information over…

Helping your reunion be the best it can be (Leaflet 2)

Helping your reunion be the best it can be (Leaflet 2)

This leaflet has been written from our experience and expertise and also with help from external research*. In this leaflet we discuss your reunion and how you can help it to be the best it can be. If you have difficulties with language or reading, please let us know and we will read this information over the phone or to…

Finding adopted relatives: Related Videos
Joanna North Associates Youtube Channel

For more videos related to finding an adopted sibling and other adoption support videos visit our youtube channel:

Finder Monkey Facebook page
Check out Joanna North Associates on TrustPilot


Are you considering finding adopted siblings?