Find My Dad—How to Locate Your Biological Father with DNA Testing

According to the US Census Bureau, nearly a quarter of children grow up without a father figure in the home. Millions of others grow up with a father figure who is not their biological father. Some are the product of closed adoptions, raised by parents they thought were biologically related to them, only to learn that their biological parents are out there, somewhere. Others are raised in single-mother households, their father having left the family early on.

Whatever the cause, millions of adults are looking for—or thinking about looking for—their biological father. Thoughts such as the following tend to be recurring themes for such individuals.

  • I just want to know where I came from.
  • Why was I put up for adoption?
  • Why did my father leave?
  • Is there anyone out there that looks, or acts like me?
  • I want answers about my medical history.
  • Do I have unknown biological siblings out there?

These and many other unanswered questions can motivate people to search for their biological dad.

While there may be thousands of reasons a separation between child and father occurred, the urge to reconnect is universal. There is hope for reconciliation and reconnection with DNA testing and professional genealogical help. Read on to learn how find your dad and what tools can make that search easier. 

Find My Dad Quicklinks

Why Find a Biological Father?

Whether you were given-up for adoption, you are estranged from your father, or some other scenario entirely, according to Adoption.com, there are five key reasons that children desire to find a biological father. These reasons aren’t the only factors that drive the search but are the most common. They are:

Jenny Wallentine located her biological father
Jenny Wallentine, Origins Cofounder, always wondered why she loved football. After meeting her birth father, she learned he had been signed to play professional football. Now its something they can share together.
  • Pure curiosity
  • To better understand their birth roots
  • To uncover vital health information from a birth father
  • To establish a missing bond between them and a birth father
  • To fill an emotional hole
 

Taking the first step to find your birth father takes courage. Fear of the unknown can be unsettling. But making the effort to get the answers you seek can offer healing, peace, and connections you never knew you had.

Why Do Fathers Leave Families?

Many grow up never knowing their birth dad due to estrangement. Fathers leave families for numerous reasons, but usually, they feel they are doing their child/children a service by leaving. They carry an errant perspective of trying to protect a child from themselves and from deep-rooted fears that make them feel inadequate. 

Some fathers struggle with past abuse or trauma, an unhealthy relationship with a spouse, or other immobilizing triggers. Other fathers may suffer from mental illness, or a dangerous addiction that feeds their feelings of inadequacy.Hand writing "i miss u dad" —finding my biological father

And, yes, some fathers struggle with selfishness and are unable to put their child before their own needs. 

Uncover the Missing Details

Discovering the story behind what disconnected you from your own father is worth the search. These unanswered questions can breed anger, distrust, sadness, and inner cacophony that can limit true growth and actualization of potential.

When you learn the true reason for your father’s departure, chances are you will feel relief, maybe even empathy. Even if you don’t agree with his choice, you’ll be able to see his reasons, and connect with him as a human being.

If you and your biological father have been separated, the power to reconnect is yours. Living in this tremendous information age, former impossibilities are now likely possibilities. 

Separation from a Biological Father Due to Adoption

Children are put up for adoption for a multitude of reasons. Today, 60-70 percent of these domestic adoptions are open adoptions allowing for a certain level of information disclosure to adoptees about their birth parents.

Jenny Wallentine as a baby - Find My Dad
Origins co-founder Jenny Wallentine just a few months after she was placed for adoption

Find My Dad: Patrick’s Story 

Patrick Warburton had been searching for his biological parents for 19 years. Like many searching for their dad, Patrick’s search was fueled by a strong desire to answer five key questions:

  • Who he was
  • Where he came from
  • What his full medical history was
  • Who he looked like
  • Why he acted the way he did.

He wanted to know himself better by connecting his present self to his past. 

Adopted at birth, Patrick spent 19 years searching for his biological father. In the end, he was able to find him…with a little help from Origins Genealogy.

Patrick spent years scouring online resources such as Adoption.com and Facebook, and by hiring private investigators. He didn’t get anywhere. Discouraged, he eventually gave up. 

Renewing the Search for His Biological Father

Some time passed and with one final attempt, he turned to the internet once more and found Origins Genealogy. This is where the dream of finding his lost father became reality.

Researchers at Origins were not only able to find Patrick’s father, but also revealed to Patrick that he had a brother and sister that he didn’t know about as well. (Patrick’s biological mother had already passed.)

The Missing Puzzle Piece

Patrick’s sister would later say that he was the missing puzzle piece she had always been unknowingly searching for.

Patrick’s first meeting was filled with immediate recognition. “When meeting him for the first time, I was nervous, but I had a lot of excitement and joy being able to say Origins helped me find him,” Patrick later said.

Once Patrick’s father recovered from the shock of discovering his long-lost son, he expressed his elation at being reconnected: “The first time I got to see him it was just like holding your baby for the first time.”

Advice for Those Seeking a Birth Parent

The advice of Patrick and his newfound family to someone in a similar situation? When you figure out there is someone related to you this close, go find them. “You would be missing out on a lot if you didn’t.”

Patrick’s new-found brother spoke to others that are out there searching or trying to decide if they want to take-up the search. He said, “Even if it is a risk, it is a risk worth taking.”

The Impacts of Reuniting with Family

“One of the biggest impacts from this experience has been to put a face with a name,” Patrick said. “Working with a company like Origins to find your family is worth it because everyone needs a place where they belong, where they fit, and to know where they come from.”

That’s what the search is all about, really. It is about knowing oneself and knowing how you fit into the lives of others. We play roles in this world that are not insignificant. Any sacrifice it takes to find ourselves—our connections—is worth it.

Patrick Warburton on motorcycle—I found my biological father
Patrick and his birth father share a love of the outdoors and motorcyles. Both are excellent mechanics.

Why the “Find My Dad” Search is Worth It

Not all stories may have a happy ending like Patrick’s. Some may find that a biological father has passed away or doesn’t desire to reconnect. But you still get real answers about your origins. You will gain more than just information about your birth father in your genealogical journey. You will also connect to other family members you didn’t even know existed that can enhance your life in unforeseen ways. 

It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Biological Father

It’s never too late to reconnect with a loved one. Whether through accessing records or taking DNA test, finding your biological father IS a possibility when you take the steps forward it requires to make it happen.

You may have missed a lot of connection in the past, but there is still time for a future of connection to your dad and other biological family members. 

(See our explanation of unexpected DNA matches.)

Some may want answers but aren’t interested in building relationships with their birth dad and other family members. That’s okay too. The important thing is to get the answers to the questions you need and to then take each step, each day, one at a time. 

Being realistic about your expectations is healthy. But having true knowledge about your family, instead of many unknowns and imaginings, puts you, your present family, and your future family on stronger, healthier ground. 

Accessing Your Original Birth Certificate and Other Records

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Access to Adoption Records (AAR),” state adoption records are protected to varying degrees on a state-by-state basis, but “in nearly all States…all files related to the adoption process [are] confidential and withheld from public access.”

What this means is that you may have a difficult time accessing your original birth certificate (OBC) and other records, depending on your state.

Non-Identifying Information Vs Identifying Info

When you begin researching access to state adoption records, you’ll encounter different rules for identifying as opposed to non-identifying information. It’s important to know the difference between the two. It’s also important to note that both informational categories can sometimes be included in public records.

Non-identifying Information

Non-identifying information includes demographic info and “the health, behavioral health, developmental, educational, and social histories of the child and the child’s parents and other birth relatives” (“Access to Adoption Records”). Such information can include the following:

  • The adopted child’s birthdate and birthplace
  • The ages of the birth father and mother
  • Physical characteristics of the birth father and mother, such as eye color or hair color
  • The birth parents’ medical history, religion, or ethnicity
  • The birth parents’ occupations and educational backgrounds
  • The reason the birth parents placed the child for adoption (extenuating financial circumstances, pressure from family members, etc)
  • Biological siblings from the either or both birth parents
Identifying Information

Identifying info is—surprise!—information that could help identify the “birth parents, the adult adoptee, or other birth relatives” (AAR).

While the boundary between identifying and non-identifying information blurs a bit—occupation, physical characteristics, birth date and birth place could be used to help identify birth parents—identifying info includes the following:

  • Names of the birth parents
  • The birth name of the adopted child (which may be different from the name your adopted parents subsequently assigned you)
  • Addresses where either birth parent has lived
  • Companies where either birth parent has worked
  • Social security numbers of the birth parents
  • Contact information of the birth parents, such as email addresses or phone numbers
  • Certain types of medical information
  • Etc

Accessing Adoption Records and OBC By State

Some states are much more tightfisted than others when it comes to releasing an adoptee’s OBC and records of the adoption.

Easy States

If you’re lucky enough to have been born in Nebraska, Oregon, Kansas, Vermont, or Missouri, for example, you can demand a copy of your OBC along with other documentation related to your adoption.

Difficult States

Louisiana, Kentucky, Florida, and the District of Columbia, among others, will only release the OBC upon order of the court.

Easy-Difficult States

Then there are states that allow for the adult adoptee to request their OBC and identifying info about their birth family…with conditions.

For example, Delaware will release the OBC “unless the birth parent has filed an affidavit denying release of identifying information.”

Arkansas, in turn, allows adoptees to request their OBC and birth family identifying info, but also allows a birth parent to have his or her name redacted from said documentation.

Stay Tuned for a State-By-State Report

Origins Genealogy is working on a comprehensive report: whether you can (and how to) obtain your original birth certificate and your birth family’s identifying info by state. Coming soon!

Find My Dad: Birth Parents Finding Service from Origins Genealogy

The area of genetic genealogy is a thriving, dynamic world that is continually changing and expanding. While not all family mapping will necessitate the services of a professional genetic genealogy company to fill in the gaps, most people experience tremendous benefits by doing so. 

Origins Genealogy’s service for finding birth parents has a 100% success rate to date on all cases we have accepted. Our professional genealogists are skilled in both genetic genealogy as well as traditional forms of genealogical research that can break through the brick walls of your own research efforts and get results faster than you ever imagined.

As one customer said in an Origins Genealogy Google review,

“Finding my biological father was something I’ve longed for since my teens…I truly felt nobody could discover who my biological father was, but they said they were confident they could find him…I can’t believe they found out and especially so fast…I had a hole in my heart the size of my father that is now filled!”

How to Find Your Dad With Origins Genealogy

Father and son laughing—how to find my biological dad

Origins Genealogy’s birth parent finding service unfolds as per the following sequence of events: 

  1. Ancestry©️ DNA test results are collected from the client.
  2. DNA test results are uploaded to several genealogical databases and the results analyzed.
  3. Client receives a detailed email with the following information about:
    • Biological relatives.
    • Your closed adoption.
    • Surnames of parents.
    • Birth dates/locations.
    • Family relationships.
    • Other relevant information.
  4. Client receives a personal phone call to discuss findings from DNA matching.
  5. Client then chooses a genealogy service package for further research. 
  6. Origins continues research gathering, DNA charting to detail the authenticity of results, and confirms a parent match with online records (birth certificate/death certificate, adoption records), and contact information. 
  7. Origins offers optional liaison service for meeting your biological family. 

Origins Genealogy’s liaison service can remove much of the discomfort and strain between you and your biological father, and can help make a stressful reunion into a smooth, happy one. 

Why Partner with Origins Genealogy for “Find My Dad” Services?

Our services for locating biological fathers, as well as finding birth mothers, are second-to-none and provide you with the confidence you need in the results we uncover. Having genetic genealogy confirmed, matched, and authenticated by a professional genetic genealogist paves the way for a smooth reunion between all family members involved. 

Origins Genealogy is so confident in our ability to find birth parents that we promise our clients that if we don’t find yours, you pay NOTHING. Our high success rate and a money-back guarantee give you peace of mind that your investment with us is solid. 

With our researchers around the world, let us help you find your origins. Contact one of our friendly, expert genetic genealogists at Origins Genealogy today at (801) 500-0900 to get started. Your birth parents could be just a few weeks away!

 DNA doesn’t match father? Read our most recent article that discusses the turmoil—and discovery—that can ensue when you learn that your dad…isn’t your dad.s

Find My Dad FAQ

Two of the most well-known genealogical DNA testing firms in the world, 23andMe and Ancestry.com, can assist you in locating your birth father. Furthermore, if you require additional assistance in interpreting the data and determining your biological father’s actual location, you might call a genealogy company such as Origins Genealogy.

There are various free methods for finding your dad. From free public databases, to various online search engines, to searching social media sites, you can do a lot on your own for free. Be prepared to put in a lot of work…with no guarantee of finding your biological father.

If you’d like to save yourself a lot of time and get faster results, a genetic genealogy company such as Origins Genealogy can help you have a much higher success rate in a fraction of the time. Origins uses the Ancestry DNA test, uploaded to several genealogical databases, in combination with skilled online and offline research.

To date, we have a 100% success rate in locating birth dads for cases we have accepted.

Yes, a DNA test helps you find your father. A DNA test from AncestryDNA is actually our first step in finding your biological father. Then, Origins Genealogy uploads your DNA results to Ancestry.com and several other popular genealogical databases to look for genetic matches. Sometimes, we might get lucky and find your dad as an obvious paternal match.

More commonly, we find other, more distant matches, and triangulate the genetic relationships to help zero in on your father. We combine the genetic genealogy research with other types of research and bring it all to bear for the purpose of conclusively identifying your birth dad. To date, of all the cases we have taken on, Origins Genealogy has a 100% success rate in finding biological parents.

The simplest solution to know if your dad is your real dad is to get a paternity test from a reputable firm such as 23andMe. You can only speculate so much, especially if you believe your father does not treat you as equally as your siblings or if your features and personalities do not match, but DNA tests will undoubtedly provide you with the most precise explanation.

If you find that your DNA does not match your dad, then you know that your biological father is a different person…and you have a chance to find him if you choose to do so.

Yes, for many people it’s important to know one’s biological father, no matter how old you are. In addition to your legal rights, finding your birth father helps you understand your personality, determine possible inherited health conditions, and just simply fill the missing void in your life.

Once you find your biological father, and you’re ready to communicate with him, it’s best to tell him your true intentions. Then you can share about yourself: your education, career, hobbies, interests, and just anything you’re willing to share.

You can also ask questions about him:

  • What has your life been like up until now?
  • Did you ever wonder if you had a son/daughter?
  • Were you surprised when you found out about me?
  • What is it like for you to have me in your life now?

Also, if you are nervous about contacting your dad for the first time, Origins Genealogy can act as a liaison service. We can reach out to him with proof that you are his biological offspring, thus alleviating any doubts he may have about your claims. And we can smooth the way to you meeting him.

Yes, 23andMe can potentially tell you who your father is…if he is in their database. Similarly, the Ancestry DNA test can match you with your father if you are in the Ancestry database.

If these databases don’t have your father as one of their customers (meaning that he took their DNA test at some point), they may still have other genetic matches that can help you close in on identifying who your dad is.

A professional genealogy service like Origins Genealogy can help make the entire process faster, easier, and more targeted.

A daughter gets 50% of her DNA from her father and 50% from her mother. Whether we are born male or female, we inherit DNA from both parents in the same 50/50 ratio.

The “halves” of DNA we get from each parent are made up of random DNA combinations, which are built up of random DNA combinations from their ancestors.

Origins Genealogy, a professional genealogy firm, can help you perform all of your genealogical research to find your birth father, including obtaining original materials, collating them, and even liaising with your father for your reunion if you like.

The fees charged by genetic genealogists differ from one genealogy firm to the next. At Origins Genealogy, you may find our packages and rates on the genealogical services page.

Begin Your Birth Father Discovery By Contacting Us Today!

Liaison For Adoptee and Birth Family

As an adoptee, it is not always easy to reach out to your birth parent. It can be quite a shock for those receiving the call. After Origins has identified who the birth parents/family are, we can make the initial contact for you. As a neutral party, we can smooth the way for the first contact by crafting introduction letters, gathering photos to send, providing the research, and answering questions to assure the information is accurate. This provides a comfortable and safe environment for all parties that generally leads to a much smoother transition to getting to know each other.

Origins Travel Tour

There’s no place like home. Now that you know your heritage, why not go home for a visit. Origins offers both personalized ancestral tours for those who want a more custom trip and heritage tours for those who enjoy a planned itinerary.