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.
You often see this type of DNA test advertised by companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. These are autosomal DNA tests.
The autosomal test can be done by several companies, but most Chinese adoptees are in 23andMe. You will typically find more individuals of Chinese heritage in this database than any other autosomal DNA. 23andMe is a saliva test.
If you can afford to do so, you could also test with AncestryDNA, another autosomal DNA test. Some searchers have found Chinese relatives via this database, so you may want to use it to supplement your 23andMe test. Adoptive families not involved in China-related Facebook groups may have also tested with AncestryDNA. This is a saliva test.
If you test with another company like AncestryDNA, please make sure you upload (free) your raw DNA data file to GEDmatch. Searchers can match their own 23andMe and AncestryDNA results within the GEDmatch database. A searcher may also receive different matches within the GEDmatch database for their 23andMe and AncestryDNA test results.
How-to Guide: Uploading 23andMe to Gedmatch
You should also upload your 23andMe results to GEDmatch (see below for why you should do this). This is free. GEDmatch also accepts uploads from FamilyTree DNA, AncestryDNA, My Heritage, and most others.
Research-China and DNAConnect
Research-China has created a program called
DNAConnect. Research-China/DNAConnect uploads the DNA of Chinese birthparents who are searching for children they relinquished for adoption to GEDmatch in hopes of finding matches with Chinese adoptees who are searching for members of their birth families. As of December 2019, they have successfully matched 61 adoptees to their birth families and uploaded DNA for 429 birthparents to GEDmatch.
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 – $100 if your donation is made before a match and $399 if made after a match.
Other DNA Sites
Consider also uploading your raw 23andMe DNA data file to the following databases. These are all free and increase your chances of matching more people. The Chinese sites WeGene and 23mofang also give you information about provinces and cities with people genetically closest to you.
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.
How-to Guide: Uploading DNA to 23mofang
Accepts free uploads from 23andMe, AncestryDNA. Database is kept in China. 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and LabCorp at DNA@labcorp.com.
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 almost 700 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.