There is a dozen ways to approach the search for a birth relative or adoptee. State registries, private investigators, the Internal Revenue Service or via an agency. Adoptees and birth relatives can also surf through the World Wide Web for a plethora of reunion websites and search opportunities.
A reunion website is an online database through which adoptees and birth relatives can register and search for one another. The functionality of these websites is limited by the number of people who register to use the database, of course.
With any search, the more you know, the easier it will be to locate the person you're seeking. Often, the key to finding someone fastest requires knowledge of his or her social security number. Sometimes, if someone's name is unique enough and a general locale is known, looking through old phone books and listings can help start clearing a trail to reunion. Social security and death indexes, such as SSA.gov or ObitCentral.com, are online tools that adoptees can use with knowledge of a SSN and full name. Reunion websites function like a mutual consent registry and by registering, one is consenting to the limited release of his or her information in the event of a possible match.
A key to using reunion websites is to also find a reunion forum online. Forums and support groups can make the online search a little easier to handle with encouragement or advice from other who are going through the same list of page after page of possible search matches.