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Adult Adoptee, Birth Parent & DNA Discoveries Resources

Adoption Network Cleveland Programs


Birth Mother Support Group provides a safe and supportive environment to help with the complexities that are often part of the adoption experience. The meetings are open to birth mothers connected by the lifelong journey of adoption.

DNA Discovery Support Group If you have either found family using commercial DNA testing or been found by family who used commercial DNA testing (examples of commercial DNA testing are Ancestry.com, Family Tree DNA, 23&Me, My Heritage, etc.) then this is the group for you. Finding family, or being found - whether you are looking or not - is a major life event. It can upend long-held beliefs about ourselves and challenge the very things that make us feel like, well..., ourselves.

General Discussion Meetings are support and discussion opportunities for all adult adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, siblings, and anyone interested in the lifelong journey of adoption.

Search & DNA Assistance Program Adoption Network Cleveland successfully helps adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings, and extended families find one another. We have over 31 years of experience providing individualized support and guidance during the search and beyond.

Online Resources

Birth Parent Resources

  • Concerned United Birthparents (CUB): Only national organization focused on birth parents; their experiences, healing, and wisdom. CUB serves all those touched by adoption and all who are concerned about adoption issues, with a focus on birth parents. 

  • On Your Feet Foundation: recognized as a leader in comprehensive post-placement support for birthparents, a demographic that has historically been under-served within the adoption community.

  • Out of the Shadows: Every adoption begins with one woman, her child, and a decision. That woman is redefined in this film. Her misunderstood grief and bravery are brought Out of the Shadows. The women in this film embody a new story of the birth mom. One that outshines the past with its beauty, freedom, and dignity.

  • Pact Informational Resources for Birth Parents: Provides links to blogs, book recommendations, and information on navigating open adoption.

Adult Adoptee Resources

  • The Adoptee Film ChannelA selection of short films by Jean Strauss focusing on the adoptees which help many understand the issues adoptees face. 

  • DNA Information and Resources for Misattributed Parentage, Assisted Reproduction: The International Society of Genetic Genealogy discussion of using DNA to search for birth family. Using DNA to break through adoption roadblocks.

  • Donor Sibling Registry:  Assists individuals conceived as a result of sperm, egg, or embryo donation who are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties.

  • The Genetic Genealogist (Blaine Bettinger): “The Genetic Genealogist examines the intersection of traditional genealogical techniques and modern genetic research. The blog also explores the latest news and developments in the related field of personal genomics.”

  • Late Discovery: Adoption information and resources for adoptees who learned of their adoption later in life.

  • Lost Daughters: An independent collaborative writing project edited and authored exclusively by adult women who were adopted as children.

  • NPE Fellowship: A non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness by providing community and education to those affected by an NPE discovery.

  • Watershed DNA: Watershed DNA provides genetic counseling consultation on ancestry testing, genetic genealogy, and health.

International Adoption

  • Adoptee Rights Campaign A diverse group of intercountry adoptees and allies striving to educate, organize and advocate for adoptee rights. These include access to critical adoption, immigration, and other vital identity documentation.  

  • Fraud and Corruption in International Adoption: A collection of the Schuster Institute’s releases on intercountry adoption, as well as many of the source documents, independent research, government materials, and other resources. 

  • Korean American Adoptee Network: KAAN is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to improve the lives of Korean-born adoptees by connecting the community and providing opportunities for dialogue, education, and support.  

Adoption Competent Therapists for Members of the Constellation


  • International Soundex Reunion RegistryThe International Soundex Reunion Registry is a non-profit, tax-exempt, charitable organization founded in 1975 by Emma May Vilardi. ISRR is a mutual consent reunion registry for persons desiring a reunion with next-of-kin.


  • An Adoptee Lexicon: Karen Pickell, 2018: A glossary of adoption terminology from the viewpoint of an adult adoptee which intersperses personal commentary and snippets from her own experience with history and statistics pertaining to child development and the adoption industry.

  • The Adoption Mystique: A Hard-Hitting Exposé of The Powerful Negative Social Stigma That Permeates Child Adoption In The United States: Joanne Wolf Small, 2007: “The Adoption Mystique exposes, documents and confronts the effects of negative social stigma on adoption institutions, practices, adopted persons, adoptive and birth parents. It is a timely counterpoint to the misinformation and prejudices that created and maintain the myths of adoption.

  • The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools 1st Edition: Lynn Grubb, 2015: “Thirty adoptee authors provide support, encouragement, and understanding to other adoptees in facing the complexities of being adopted, embarking on search and reunion, fighting for equal access to identifying information, navigating complex family relationships with the latest technology, and surviving it with a sense of humor.”

  • Adoption Nation: Adam Pertman, 2000: "With compassion for adopted individuals and adoptive and birth parents alike, Adam Pertman explores the history and human impact of adoption, explodes the corrosive myths surrounding it, and tells compelling stories about its participants as they grapple with issues relating to race, identity, equality, discrimination, personal history, and connections with all their families.”

  • The Adoption Reunion Survival Guide: Julie Jarrell Bailey and Lynn N. Giddens, M.A., 2001: A manual for preparing for search, reunion and beyond. Manual for searching is dated, but the discussion surrounding adoption reunion is timeless.

  • American Baby: Gabrielle Glaser, 2021: The shocking truth about postwar adoption in America, told through the bittersweet story of one teenager, the son she was forced to relinquish, and their search to find each other.

  • Birthbond: Reunions Between Birthparents and Adoptees, What Happens After: Judith S. Gediman and Linda P. Brown, 1991: Essential reading for anyone involved in an adoption reunion. Helps the reader understand the emotions involved in the post-reunion experience.

  • Birth Fathers and Their Adoption Experiences: Gary Clapton, 2002: “Discussing different notions of fatherhood, such as biological paternity, social fatherhood, sperm donorship, and the `father figure’, this informative book – the first on birth fathers in adoption – brings new light to issues such as the decision to give up a child for adoption, the child’s desire to find his or her birth parents, and the facilitation of contact in later life.”

  • Birthright: the Guide to Search and Reunion: Jean Strauss, 1994: Acclaimed documentary filmmaker shares her own search story along with dozens of others. Also packed with important reference sources.

  • Black Anthology: Adult Adoptees Claim Their Space (The AN-YA Project): Susan Harris O’Connor MSW (Editor), Diane Rene Christian (Editor), Mei-Mei Akwai Ellerman PhD (Editor), 2016: “This anthology allows for the opportunity to see the rich diversity of a people; the uniqueness within the individual stories. Inside this book, you will read the depth of struggle, and the pure grace, dignity, and accomplishments achieved, sometimes connected to the privileges afforded us while in the midst of insurmountable odds.”

  • The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption: Kathryn Joyce, 2013: Examines how “adoption has become entangled in the conservative Christian agenda as a reflection of pro-life initiatives, explaining how child and family well-being has become a lesser priority in a market increasingly driven by profit and religious ideology.”

  • The Girls Who Went Away: Ann Fessler, 2006: Birthmothers share their stories in their own words. A searing and important glimpse of a long-overlooked social history, bringing to the page the lifelong emotions common to many birthmothers.

  • In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories: Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Roorda, 2000: A collection of interviews with black and biracial young adults who were adopted by white parents.

  • It’s Not About You: Understanding Adoptee Search, Reunion and Open Adoption: Brooke Randolph LMHC, 2016: It’s Not About You is an adoptee-focused anthology project intended to comfort those who fear the desire for information and connection is any kind of judgment on themselves. Our purpose is also to confront those who try to make it about themselves, missing the opportunity to support and connect with the adoptee who needs this information.

  • Journeys After Adoption: Understanding Lifelong Issues: Jayne Schooler and Betsie Norris, Founder of Adoption Network Cleveland, 2002: Drawing on the experiences of dozens of triad members, the authors offer insight into the concerns, issues, joys, and pain experienced by those whose lives are framed by adoption.

  • Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience: Betty Jean Lifton, 1979: An excellent book about the issues of growing up in a closed adoption.

  • Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption Paperback: Jane Jeong Trenka (Editor), Julia Chinyere Oparah (Editor), Sun Yung Shin (Editor), 2006: “Moving beyond personal narrative, these transracially adopted writers from around the world tackle difficult questions about how to survive the racist and ethnocentric worlds they inhabit, what connects the countries relinquishing their children to the countries importing them, why poor families of color have their children removed rather than supported—about who, ultimately, they are. In their inquiry, they unseat conventional understandings of adoption politics, ultimately reframing the controversy as a debate that encompasses human rights, peace, and reproductive justice.”

  • The Primal Wound: Nancy Newton Verrier, 1993: A revolutionary book that examines the effect of early separation on the adoptee.

  • Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency: Sharon Kaplan Roszia & Allison Davis Maxon, 2019: A comprehensive guide to promoting understanding and healing in adoption, foster care, kinship families and third-party reproduction.

  • Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare: Dorothy Roberts, 2003: Illustrates the disproportionate representation of black children in the U.S. foster care system and its effects on black communities and the country.


  • Finding Fish: Antwone Fisher, 2001: The true story of a man who, as a child, endured near-constant verbal and physical abuse in foster care, yet, becomes a sought-after poet and screenwriter in Hollywood.

  • Growing Up Black in White: Kevin D. Hofmann, 2010: A memoir of how a biracial adoptee grew to create his own identity after being adopted by a white minister and his family during the tumultuous 1960s in Detroit.

  • The Language of Blood: Jane Jeong Trenka, 2003: “An adoptee’s search for identity takes her on a journey from Minnesota to Korea and back as she seeks to resolve the dualities that have long defined her life: Korean-born, American-raised, never fully belonging to either.”

  • Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, a Memoir: Paula McClain, 2003: This powerful and haunting memoir details the years Paula and her two sisters spent as foster children after being abandoned by both parents in California in the early 1970s.

  • Lost and Found: A Memoir of Mothers: Kate St. Vincent Vogl, 2009: Touching, true story of an adoptee who is found by her birth mother when she least expected it.

  • Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey: Karen Salyer McElmurray, 2004: “With unflinching honesty, McElmurray recounts both the painful surrendering and the surprise rediscovery of her son, juxtaposed with her portrayal of her own mother, who could not provide the love she needed. The dramatic result is a story of birthright lost and found and an exploration of the meaning of motherhood itself.”


  • The Family Guide to DNA and Genetic Genealogy: Blaine T. Bettinger, Revised 2019: A one-stop resource guide to better understand genetic genealogy. What DNA tests are available, with up-to-date pros and cons of the major testing companies and advice on choosing the right test to meet your needs. Understand ethnicity estimates & haplogroup designations, navigate suggested cousin matches, and use third-party tools to analyze data.

  • Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love: Dani Shapiro, 2019: Memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets, real-time exploration of the staggering discovery made through DNA about her father and that she was donor conceived, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.


  • Adoptee Next Door:  Angela Tucker is one of America’s most recognizable voices in transracial adoption (she's black, her parents are white), and the subject of the documentary "Closure." She goes beyond her experience, inviting adoptees from all backgrounds in an effort to uplift these rarely-heard perspectives and shift societal perceptions about adoption.
  • Adoptees On:  A gathering of incredible adopted people willing to share their intimately personal stories with you about the impact adoption has had on our lives. Listen in and you will discover that you are not alone on this journey.
  • Adoption: The Long View:  From babyhood to school age, through the teenage years and ultimately adulthood, Adoption: The Long View explores all aspects of the adoption journey with a variety of articulate and thought-provoking guests.
  • Birth Moms Real Talk: A podcast where D Yvonne Rivers, a Birth Mom, interviews other Birth Moms about their journey and “Hot Topics” of the realities of adoption, reunion, and healing.
  • Birth Mothers Amplified: Birth Mothers Amplified is co-hosted by friends and fellow birth mothers Muthoni and Emma. Most weeks they are joined by one or more birth mother guests to talk about adoption topics. Birth Mothers Amplified thrives on empowering the women who make adoptions possible and allowing birth parents to speak their truths and share their stories authentically.
  • Black to the Beginning: The Black Adoption Podcast: Friends Dr. Samantha Coleman and Sandria Washington both discovered as adults they were adopted. Each quickly learned that Black adoption is common but taboo to speak about in private or publicly. Black to the Beginning: The Black Adoption Podcast amplifies the adoption conversation by placing the stories of #BlackAndAdopted adults and #TheBlackFamily at the center.
  • Born In June, Raised In April:  Nationally recognized thought leader, April Dinwoodie, hosts a personal journey while exploring her adoption experience. We follow her as she examines her efforts to find love, identity, family, and connection. Each month April will candidly interview, discuss, and unravel, all matters surrounding adoption. 
  • Dimples & Adoption: It is not every day you get to hear an open adoption story from the perspective of a birth mother and her biological daughter. Dimples & Adoption tells a unique story through the eyes of two strong women who were determined to be in each other’s lives. Not only will they uncover their emotional stories, but create a platform to share a variety of adoption stories from guest speakers.
  • A Family in China:  More than 100,000 children have been adopted out of orphanages in China to Western countries. Most grow up not knowing who their birth parents were. This show explores the search for Chinese birth families by adoptees and adoptive families, featuring interviews with experienced guests and research on missing child services in China. Discontinued but archive of past episodes is available.
  • The Triad Podcast: Straight to the Heart of Adoption: On the most basic level, the “adoption triad” refers to the three parties directly involved in adoption: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. Some widen the meaning of the triad to include extended family, supporters, and the community-at-large. The Triad hosts are direct members of the triad, and their discussions tackle heavy subjects that go straight to the heart of adoption.
  • Twisted Sisterhood: A podcast for birth moms, by birth moms. Ashley Mitchell and Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard have a decade between their adoption placements. They address raw and real emotions and experiences, and have other birth mom guests on the show to join in on the conversation. (This podcast link is to Spotify, however, episodes from the Twisted Sister podcast are available on multiple platforms.)
  • Who Am I Really?: Stories of adoption and attempts at reunion as told by the adoptees themselves.


Download this complete list of resources.