If you are searching for a sibling who was adopted or placed in foster care, you have a lot of company. Adoption.com reports in an online essay, "The Sibling Bond," that 75 percent of sibling groups who enter foster care end up living apart, because they are adopted or fostered by different families. You may have to seek help from a lawyer, a private investigator and an adoptee support group before your sibling search is successful.
Collect all of the information that you have about your adopted sibling in a folder, notebook or computer file. Make copies of all documents and keep one set in a place other than your home as a back-up copy. If you have no documents or pictures, write down in a notebook or a computer file everything that you and your biological and adoptive relatives know about your sibling.
Determine if your state's adoption records laws will allow you to see your sibling's adoption records. The federal Child Welfare Information Gateway, in an online pamphlet, "Access to Adoption Records," warns that only 15 states allow birth siblings such as yourself to file requests for basic information on an adopted sibling without having the previous written consent of your sibling on file. Because the complex laws governing the release of information to birth siblings differ from one state to the next, you may need to call a lawyer who specializes in adoption law to get expert help.
Contact adoptee online support groups, such as Adoption.com's "Adult Adoptees" forum, if you are not able to obtain information about your adopted sibling from your state's adoption records. Many members of these groups have participated in birth relative searches and will have much useful advice for you. You also can join the reunion registries listed on the "Missing Birth Sibling" page of the Genealogical Journeys In Time website.
Hire a private investigator if you are unsuccessful in your quest to find your adopted sibling. A private investigator who specializes in finding birth family members may charge you $200 to $1,000. Interview the investigator just as you would any consultant you were hiring, including asking for references and inquiring about the investigator's state license and business permit. In "How To Select A Qualified And Credible Private Investigator," posted on ExpertLaw.com, private investigator Jeffrey L. Starnes describes how to choose a private investigator.
Use social media in your search, if more conventional methods have failed. Look for your adopted sibling on Facebook and MySpace. Ask your Twitter followers for help. Create a YouTube video. Start a blog about your search, and periodically update it. Write an article for an adoption website about what you have learned during your search. Get help from other adult adoptees who are searching for birth siblings by joining groups such as the Facebook page "Adoption Find your Siblings!!!!!!!"