Finding biological parents in Thailand (adoption tracing)

November 1, 2020 - Reading time: 10 minutes

If you are the adopted parent to a child with biological Thai parents, then it’s likely your child will want to learn more about their origins at some point in their life. Running a trace on Thai parents can help to answer questions from curious young people and provide answers, such as finding out whether or not a person has siblings in Thailand, whether their parents are still alive and what type of lives they lead.

It often makes sense to seek out information about birth parents before your child has started to grow curious about their birth parents. Seeking out information after decades have passed can make the task more difficult, and in some cases the people concerned may pass away through old age or ill health; in these unfortunate cases the deceased person may lose their opportunity to connect with their biological children post adoption. 

In many cases it is beneficial for us to conduct a field investigation after tracing someone on paper. Sending an experienced, local private detective to speak with the birth parents can allow us to photograph them in their homes, and to gather useful information from them (such as whether any siblings exist, for example). We will translate anything that is said and send you a report with our findings, written in fluent English, and including any photos or video that was gathered while making inquiries on your behalf. Particularly in cases where the parents are impoverished, reading a report with photos illustrating their day to day life can provide a valuable insight for adopted children.

Finding biological parents in Thailand is one of the most challenging and rewarding services that is offered by us. We aim to understand our clients’ needs and offer the best solution in each case. We offer free consultations for all work… Please feel free to get in touch with us and see if we are able to help in your case.

In some cases, we are instructed to trace a person in Thailand and provide their contact information; in other cases, we can also make contact with individuals after tracing them. We can visit people in Thailand and translate your messages to them in their native language, whilst gathering images and information that can help to paint a picture about the life which they lead in Thailand. Our experienced local agents endeavour to handle these cases sensitively and work for the best interests of all people involved.

How to find parents in Thailand

Magnifying glass in the palm of a hand

The difficulty of locating biological parents in Thailand depends on the type of information that you hold. Please read the information on this page in order to gain an understanding about the process of tracing people in Thailand and some of the potential difficulties which you might face. 

In 1984 Thailand began the process of issuing 13-digit identification numbers to their citizens and rolling out computerization, though the changes may have been adopted more slowly in certain parts of the country. The 13-digit identification number stays with a person their entire lives, even if they change their name or move address. The number is printed on all identity documents, such as ID cards, driving licenses, passports and birth certificates.

Thai birth certificates should carry the 13-digit identification number for both parents. These numbers often hold the key and can be used by us to trace biological parents in Thailand. Using an identification number, we can run a search, which if successful would reveal the person’s home address, along with other information such as their photo, date of birth, height and age.

In some ways we can compare the value of identification numbers with IBAN numbers… Let us theorize that you are not trying to find your parents in Thailand but a book in a library. The best way to find a specific book in a library would be to search for the book’s 13-digit IBAN number. This will ensure that you find the exact book you are looking for. If you are searching for a book using its title, then your results may vary. If you know the exact name of the book that you are searching for then your odds of success would be good. If you only have a part-name then your search might draw multiple results. While searching for a book is different to searching for a person, the same principle applies. Using an identification number is always better and preferable; a birth certificate in the Thai language holding identification numbers would be ideal for us to try and find parents, though we will work with whatever information you have, where possible.

Suffice it to say that if a birth certificate is older than 1984 then it will not carry the parent’s identification numbers and a search would instead need to be performed based on their names. 

Tracing Thai people based on their name

People working in an office

It’s important to understand that records in Thailand are held in the Thai language. If you see a Thai person’s name that is written using the English alphabet, bear in mind that this is merely to be used as a rough guide – there are no official translations of peoples’ names in English! Thai people’s names are typically translated into English by computer software, which by itself means that the translations often contain inaccuracies. We have seen many, many instances of names being translated into English incorrectly.

The written letters of the Thai Sanskrit alphabet can often be used to write many different variations of a person’s name, and finding the exact spelling of a person’s name using an English translation presents its own challenges. 

The odds of success for us to trace someone using their name written in the Thai language, and their date of birth, would be 100%. The odds of success for running a trace on someone using their identity number would also be 100%.

If we are attempting to translate a name from English into Thai then the odds of success would be more like 50%. If the name has been translated into English badly then the odds of success might be even lower. 

If you would like to trace a person in Thailand and you only have their first or second name written in the English language then it would be extremely difficult to trace them (just as it would be very difficult to trace any person, in any country, using only their first or last name that has been translated into a foreign language). Of course, in some cases we are able to find people without running a search for them. If our client is able to provide us with details about their previous address, or previous workplace for example then we could potentially make inquiries in order to try and locate the subject... The task of finding people can varying depending on the circumstances in each case.

Phone numbers in Thailand

Our searches do not reveal phone numbers, and there is no database containing phone numbers that can be accessed during the process of tracing a biological parent or any other person in Thailand. A successful search would reveal the subject’s home address, from there we can use our discreet Thai agents to make inquiries on your behalf. We can approach the subject directly and ask if they would like to share their phone number or other contact details. Otherwise you might choose to write a letter to the subject, or even visit them yourself. We are able to help organize reunions and can provide native Thai speakers to help you with translation – our fees for this service depends on the circumstances, including which area we are working in. Please get in touch with us for a free quote.

In most cases it is not possible to find someone’s phone number without visiting their address and speaking to them, or writing them a letter. Usually we would recommend visiting the person and speaking to them rather than writing a letter, however this is ultimately a matter for our clients to decide. For those people that decide to write letters to the biological parents of their child, we cannot emphasize the importance of ensuring your letter is translated accurately and by a skilled translator that is capable of conveying the true meaning behind your words.

Connecting with birth parents in Thailand

Person walking up stone stairs

Most of the time biological parents are glad to hear about their adopted children. However, in some cases birth parents might not interested in reconnecting with their child. There could be many complex issues behind a parent taking this stance… Some people may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable making contact with their estranged children. We feel that it’s important to realize this as a potential outcome before undertaking the task of tracing your parents in Thailand, and to consider how you might react to such a result. If a person does not wish to be contacted by their birth child, or anyone else, then we believe those requests should be respected. In such a case we will endeavour to gather as much useful information as possible, such as photos, general information about the parents’ lifestyle, and critically whether or not the adopted person has siblings in Thailand. 

Other considerations

Before starting the journey of tracing birth parents in Thailand it would be wise to consider any potential outcomes that may result in a trace. Ask yourself the type of questions that you would like answers to, we will endeavour to understand your needs and seek answers for you sensitively and with your best interests in mind.

Thailand is a unique place with its own customs, culture and class system. Most foreigners will never gain a useful insight into Thai culture and for the best results it is almost always advisable to use a local Thai person while making inquiries on your behalf. 

While there are numerous international companies which endeavour to trace biological parents in Thailand, we feel that the task is always best performed by local Thai people. In many cases we provide tracing services to overseas investigators, law firms and companies... Whilst we are always glad for work to be outsourced to us, many of our clients prefer to deal with us directly; this can allow for better communication and also save our clients money.

If you would like our help to trace biological parents in Thailand then please get in touch with us and let us know what information or documents are available to you (birth certificates in English or Thai languages, adoption paperwork, and/or any other information or documents).

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