After adopting my daughter in 2003, I had this vague fantasy that in a couple of years I’d get a call from the orphanage telling me that her birth mom, M., had placed a second child for adoption and asking me if I was interested. In my fantasy, of course I said yes and my daughter grew up with a sibling who not only looked like her, but shared her genes and Guatemalan family.
I never got that call and, having maintained close ties to the orphanage, felt sure M. had never relinquished another child. So a couple of years into our relationship with M. I was shocked when during one of our meetings she mused about whatever became of the baby boy she had placed for adoption 2 years after Isabel was born. That conversation was the start of my journey to figure out exactly how do you find your adopted child’s birth sibling?
When I started my journey to find my daughter's birth brother, there were somewhat fewer resources available than there are today. Below I’ll run through an overview of the options of which I am aware. For those of you interested in specific information on each of these resources I've created a list of Birth Sibling Search Resources that you can access at this link.
Birth Sibling Registry – back in 2010 when I first started thinking about sibling searching a registry run by an adoptive mom was the best way to go about things. That registry has since been discontinued, but another adoptive mom has started a new registry. To join the registry you send an email with the birth mother’s first and middle names and the initials of her last name(s) to the registry owner. I would recommend starting here as this is an easy and obvious way to make direct contact. However, don’t be surprised if your listing does not turn up a match – this was the case for me.
Birth Families List Serv – the Guatemala BirthFamilies listserv is another place where you could try posting the birth mother’s first and middle names and last name initial(s) with any other information you have about the child you are searching for such as name and place of birth. This is another easy option but this one did not work for me either.
Facebook Groups – there are a couple of Facebook Groups which have been started with the purpose of connecting Guatemalan adoptees which were not around when I was searching but you may find useful.
Hire a Searcher – while a Guatemalan birth mother searcher cannot search directly for birth siblings and their adoptive parents, I know of at least one who has contacts which allow her to access information which can lead to finding the names of the adoptive parents. Once you have the adoptive parents’ names you can Google until you find people who you think may be the adoptive parents and then contact them to find out. If you are lucky you can find the people you are looking for and they will be open to contact with you and your family. This is how I was able to find Isabel’s birth brother.
I’ll write more in a future post about the relationship we have forged with Isabel’s brother’s family, or perhaps I can convince her brother’s mom or dad to write something from their perspective. Let me know if that is something you’d like to hear about.
I’d also love to hear from those of you who have tried to find birth siblings and what worked or didn’t work for you. Or let me know if you are aware of other resources. As always leave a comment or feel free to email me privately.