When you’re searching for Chinese birth family members, it’s important to do two different DNA tests – an autosomal DNA test through 23andMe and uploaded to GEDmatch and a CODIS DNA test through MyTaproot. If you wish to anonymize your information, you can create any name and birth date you wish and use a separate/special email.
Download a pdf of this information here.
Autosomal DNA Test
This is a test of the autosomal (i.e., 22 numbered pairs of) chromosomes as opposed to the sex chromosomes (i.e., X and Y). The test checks about 700,000 pairs of locations in an individual's autosomal DNA. Companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA use autosomal tests.
IMPORTANT: No matter which autosomal test you do, you should UPLOAD, FOR FREE, YOUR RESULTS TO GEDMATCH. As of February 2021, there are more than 500 Chinese birth parents in GEDmatch.
Most Chinese adoptees are in 23andMe, and you typically find more people of Chinese heritage in this database than any other autosomal company. 23andMe is a saliva test.
If you can afford it, you can supplement your 23andMe test with AncestryDNA, another autosomal test. Some searchers have found Chinese relatives here, and adoptive families not involved in China-related Facebook groups may have also tested with AncestryDNA. This is a saliva test.
How-to Guide: Uploading 23andMe to Gedmatch
No matter which autosomal test you do, be sure to upload your raw DNA data file to GEDmatch.
There are over 500 birth families from China in GEDmatch, thanks to the work of DNAConnect (see below) and others. This is FREE and easy to do. GEDmatch accepts uploads from 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA, AncestryDNA, My Heritage, and most others.
You can also match your own 23andMe and AncestryDNA results within GEDmatch. You may receive different matches for your 23andMe and AncestryDNA test results.
DNAConnect has located hundreds of Chinese birthparents who are searching for children they relinquished and uploaded their DNA to GEDmatch. As of February 2021, they have added DNA for 539 birthparents and successfully matched 83 adoptees to their birth families.
Note: DNAConnect.Org will collect and process autosomal DNA for any birth family that is located and also stay in contact with them over the next 10 years or longer until a match is made. Please note that DNAConnect charges to release birth parent contact information – $50 if your donation is made before a match and $299 if made after a match. However, if you provide contact information for a birth family in China, any future match to you through DNAConnect will also be free of fees to you.
Other DNA Sites
Upload your raw autosomal DNA for free to the two primary Chinese sites, 23mofang and WeGene. There has been at least one match for an adoptee through 23mofang, and both sites give you information about which provinces and cities have people genetically closest to you.
How-to Guide: Uploading DNA to 23mofang
Accepts free uploads from 23andMe, AncestryDNA. Database is kept in China. A little challenging to use if you can’t read Chinese. If you find a close match on 23mofang (1st or 2nd cousin range), contact the Nanchang Project. They can help you in get in touch with the 23mofang developers, who will assist in contacting the match and possibly the birth family.
Accepts free uploads from 23andMe, AncestryDNA. Database is kept in China.
Tip: Use the English site to create your account and upload your DNA data, but then use the Chinese site, with Google Chrome to translate, to see relative matches and additional information not visible on the English site.
Also consider uploading your autosomal data to the following databases. These are all free and increase your chances of matching more people.
Please check your account(s) at least monthly for new matches!
If you get a message or see a match that shows an identical twin or sibling, please check first who the match is. You could have accidently uploaded your/your child’s DNA twice.
CODIS DNA Test
This is the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a software platform that blends forensic science and computer technology. CODIS DNA tests look for unique repeating patterns in an individual’s DNA known as short-tandem repeats (STRs). STRs can be used to differentiate one person from another. Typically, a CODIS DNA test compares only 13 to 20 autosomal STR markers.
You don’t see CODIS tests advertised since this type of test is primarily used by the FBI and local law enforcement organizations to help solve crimes. A paternity test to determine the father of a child is a CODIS DNA test. It is however the most commonly-used DNA test in China right now.
MyTaproot is a free birth family search service, offered by CCAI Adoption Services for Chinese adoptees. They offer an optional CODIS DNA test (cheek swab) at a discounted rate; you can also submit the results to other CODIS databases (see below). CCAI is encouraging Chinese birth parents who relinquished their children for adoption to have their DNA tested using a CODIS DNA test and have it uploaded into the MyTaproot database (haiwaixunzi.org on the Chinese side). If there is a match between a Chinese adoptee and Chinese birth parent, MyTaproot will notify the birth parent and Chinese adoptee or adoptive parents. Contact MyTaproot at email@example.com and LabCorp at DNA@labcorp.com. LabCorp charges international shipping, so if you're outside the US, you might be able to find a similar test in your home country that is cheaper - just be sure to check that the test is compatible.
Baby Come Home (Baobeihuijia)
How-to Guide: How to Search on Baby Come Home
This is a Chinese website started by Chinese parents whose children were abducted or went missing (baobeihuijia.com). It was created to help Chinese citizens find missing relatives. It has listings of Chinese birth parents looking for children, domestic Chinese adoptees looking for their birth parents, ads for lost adults, and international adopted children looking for birth parents. If you open this Chinese website in Google Chrome, you can automatically translate the site into English.
There are two options to register with Baby Come Home.
1. The first option to register with Baby Come Home is to sign up with MyTaproot
Read the information on the MyTaproot page carefully. After you finished the steps, you can order a DNA test for $70 via their partner LabCorp (MyTaproot will tell you how to do this). It is also possible to do this if you are located in Europe, but there is an additional shipping charge of $100. It may be cheaper to get an STR or CODIS test done in your own country; check with MyTaproot for compatibility.
LabCorp will send the DNA results to you, and you have to register it in your MyTaproot account.
MyTaproot will register your child with Baby Come Home (Baobeihuijia) in China and your DNA results will be compared. You will get a registration number. It might take several months. The DNA results will also be compared by MyTaproot with Haiwaixunzi, the Chinese database side of MyTaproot.
2. The second option to register is to join the Facebook group Baby Home. Look for information on how to register in the files section of this Facebook group.
Help for Family Reunion (HFFR)
You can also e-mail your MyTaproot CODIS DNA results to this organization (sending your 23andMe results to HFFR will do them no good since their DNA database is also a CODIS DNA database). Help for Family Reunion is a private non-profit organization in China that has helped to reunite 730 families since it was established in 2015. The database is kept in the U.S. See HFFR on Facebook: facebook.com/groups/2014039432246491
Name – SWI assigned name is OK (Indicate which name to use in the database, Chinese OR English)
Photo of DNA results. You can remove your real name and address for privacy concerns.
Date of birth
Current residing country
Contact info – customized WeChat ID (don’t send WeChat code) preferred. Email is OK.
Pictures (2) – 1 headshot and 1 full body preferred
Adoption info – a few lines on where you were adopted, your finding place, your special physical features, etc.
If you don’t get confirmation in a week, email again or WeChat meefengbz
E-mail the CODIS DNA info below to BeeHFFR@gmail.com
Chinese National DNA Database
If you are searching within China, you could also leave a DNA sample in the national database at the Ministry of Public Security (i.e., police station). It is free. Since this is also a CODIS DNA database you will only find a match to a close relative like a parent or identical twin.