The Genealogy of Adoptees
I am the only biological child in my family, but my parents adopted five children once I was in college. Whenever I think about genealogy, I think about them. Of course, they are an indisputable part of our family tree, but their genetic genealogy charts are unknown.
For many adopted people, genealogy does not seem like a possibility. It must feel a bit sad, looking at your family tree and always thinking to yourself that you have a second, unknown lineage based on genes.
There is also the issue of genetically-based diseases. People who have been adopted through closed adoptions or whose parents aren’t known, as in abandonment cases, may not have any idea about their biological family’s health issues. When filling out paperwork at the doctor’s office, they would not be able to answer any of the family history questions. Today, there are many diseases, such as breast cancer, for which a person’s genetic predisposition can be tested. However, this is generally done when there is a family history of that illness to suggest it. A person wouldn’t simply be tested for every condition for which genetic testing is available.
Luckily, there are more and more ways for adoptees to find out about their backgrounds, work on their biological genealogy charts, and find out what they need to know about their genetic backgrounds.
How Do I Go About Finding My Biological Family?
Start by finding out as much as you can about your adoption and the people involved. There will be varying degrees of information available in each case. Your adoptive parents are the best place to start: they will know the most about your circumstances before and surrounding your adoption.
You may be able to use the information your parents give you to search records at your place of birth (the hospital and the county) to find out more. The adoption agency that was used may also be able to give you certain information, depending on the terms of your adoption.
Many people are turning to social media to help them find biological family members. There are Facebook groups devoted to bring adoptees together with their biological families. You can even post on your personal social media channels: give as much information about the circumstances of your adoption as you have or are willing to share. Ask your friends to share your post. People have been reunited this way.
DNA testing is becoming a more useful way to find out about your genetic genealogy. Many companies offer varying types of DNA tests. Use a company that allows you to take your results and submit them in multiple places. Each of these companies has databases of their clients’ DNA results, and yours can be compared with others, connecting you with people who may be related to you. You can then try and contact those people to talk with them, and find out as much as you can about their circumstances and how you may be related to them.
Set Your Own Personal Goals
Not everyone who is adopted wishes to actually meet their biological family. Sometimes they only wish to know more about them, or about their health history. Research and use the channels that will help you accomplish the goals that you have for exploring your genetic genealogy.