American Adoption Congress familes rooted in truth
Legislation





State Legislation

American Adoption Congress supports state-by-state legislative efforts to obtain access for adult adoptees to their original birth certificates. AAC prefers unrestricted access to this document for all adult adoptees but will accept compromise legislation if, in the opinion of AAC and local supporters, such a compromise is necessary to obtain the greatest access for the greatest number of adopted persons.

 

New correct Legislative TerminologyPDF file     Word file

Sample resolution and information to present to legislators.

Click here to access the 2013 State Legislatures Session Calendar.

This map will provide an overview of birth certificate access for adopted adults in all states.

 



ALABAMA - ACCESS STATE

In Alabama, the original birth certificate (OBC) is made available to adoptee, age 18 or older, upon request. Birth parents may file a non-binding Contact Preference Form, requesting direct contact with adopted adult, contact through an intermediary, or no contact at all. Citation: Ala. Code § 22-9A-12(c)-(d).

HB-690 reopens birth and adoption records to Alabama adult adoptees and ends a 9-year roadblock enacted in 1990 as part of a sweeping overhaul of the Alabama Adoption Code.  Prior to January 1, 1991, adult adoptees in Alabama had been able to view all of their adoption records upon request. In addition to the original birth certificate, HB-690 also provides for release of the court documents pertaining to the adoption which are contained in the sealed file at the Department of Vital Statistics.  In contrast to the pre-1991 situation, adult adoptees are now able to receive and retain copies of some of their adoption-related documents.  Documents held by private adoption agencies or the Department of Human Resources, however, were not impacted by the bill.

 

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ALASKA -  Access State

The original birth certificate (OBC) is available to adult adoptees at age 18.  Birth parents(s) can submit name and/or address changes to the State Registrar to be attached to the OBC.

 

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ARIZONA

An adult adoptee (18) or a birth parent may file a notarized statement with the Division of Economic Security granting consent, withholding consent, or withdrawing a consent previously given for the release of confidential information. If an adoptee and the birth mother or birth father has consented to the release of confidential information, the court may disclose the information, except identifying information relating to a birth parent who did not grant written consent.
A confidential intermediary program is also available to adult adoptees, birth parents, and certain relatives of either. See www.supreme.state.az.us/cip.

ARS 8-129 allows non-identifying information to be given to adult adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents and others.  It may include health and genetic history.  Go to:  www.azleg.gov/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=8.

 

 

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ARKANSAS

Passive registry for adult adoptees (18) and birth parents maintained by the Division of Children and Family Services.  Adult adoptees, birth parents and individuals related within the second degree can use the registry.  If administrator learns that a birth parent or birth parents are deceased, or if the adoptee’s birth father was unknown, the adoptee cannot obtain identifying information through the registry.

 

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CALIFORNIA

There have been two access legislative efforts in California during the last decade, the most recent one mounted by the California Adoption Reform Effort (C.A.R.E.) in early 2009.  While the bill (AB372 sponsored by then Majority Whip Assembly woman Fiona Ma) passed unanimously through the Assembly Judiciary Committee, it stalled in the Appropriations when a staggering $16 million price tag was attached.  Even with a much smaller assessment, any legislation with a fiscal attachment will prove difficult to move forward in light of the current economic situation in the state.

Other hurdles existing statutes which created a disclosure veto (http://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/Engilsh/AD908.PDF) and a confidential intermediary process for sibling reunification (http://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/English/AD904A.PDF).  Amending these retroactively requires a costly mechanism.

California is on a two-year cycle, with the next one beginning in 2013.  Any new legislative effort would not be mounted until at least that time.

 

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COLORADO - PARTIAL ACCESS STATE

On April 16, 2009, a Colorado Circuit Court ruled that adult adoptees (18) can get their original birth certificates (OBC) and adoption records for adoptions finalized between July 1, 1951 and July 1, 1967.  The court also held that, for adoptions finalized prior to July 1, 1949, legislative history contains no indication that the new law sealing adoption records, which took effect on that date, was intended to be applied retroactively.  To read the opinion in its entirety, go to http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts.  For other time periods (before 7/1/51 and after 7/1/67), the court must be petitioned to obtain a copy of the OBC.

In the first year (June 23, 2009 - June 22, 2010), the Colorado Department of Vital Statistics processed 836 requests for OBCs.

CURRENT LAW: The State registrar shall make available to any birth parent named on an OBC a contact preference form on which the birth parent may state a preference regarding contact by an adult adoptee, an adult descendant of an adoptee, or a legal representative of the adoptee or descendant.  The contact preference form shall allow the birth parent to voluntarily include his or her contact information in the adoption record and shall provide him or her with options to indicate a preference regarding whether he or she would or would not prefer future contact with the adoptee or adult descendant of the adoptee and, if contact is preferred, whether the birth parent would prefer contact directly or through a confidential intermediary or a child placement agency.  The contact preference form shall also indicate that the birth parent can change his or her contact preference form by notifying the State registrar in writing.

The contact preference form provided by the State registrar shall include an option for the birth parent to authorize the release of the OBC.  An authorization to release may be exercised and submitted to the State registrar at any time.

For more information, go to www.aisctc.org and click on FAQs.

 

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CONNECTICUT

ACCESS CONNECTICUT, a grassroots organization in Connecticut, introduced SB 296, a full access bill, in the 2013 legislative session.  It was passed by the Senate Committee on Children and then assigned to the Judiciary Committee which did not vote on the bill, effectively killing it.  SB 59 was assigned to the Public Health Committee.  In March the Committee voted to draft “prospective” legislation for SB 59.  ACCESS CONNECTICUT asked the Committee Chair to table the bill to prevent it from moving forward.  ACCESS CONNECTICUT will be submitting legislation in the 2014 legislative session. 

For more information, see:  www.ACCESSCONNECTICUT.org.

CURRENT LAW: Adult adoptees (18) and birth parents may apply in person or in writing to the child-placing agency or the Department of Children & Families to request the release of identifying information.  The information should be released unless the consents of every person whose identity is sought are not given or the release of the requested information would seriously disrupt or endanger the physical or emotional health of the applicant or the person whose identity is being requested.

Any person seeking to examine or obtain a copy of the original birth certificate must obtain a written order from the court in the jurisdiction in which the adoptee was adopted or born. 

Contact: Paul Schibbelhute, pschibbe@aol.com or Jane Servadio. janerino@optline.net

 

 

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DELAWARE - ACCESS STATE WITH RESTRICTIONS

Effective January 18, 1999, adoptees age (21) born in Delaware can may apply for a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC). Go to www.dhss.delaware.gov/dph/ss/vitalstats.html to apply by mail or telephone. Click on the link to VitalChek Network for more information or click on Adoptee’s Birth Certificate PDF version to print out the form.


Birth parents wishing to block release of identifying information must file a written notarized statement to that effect with the Office of Vital Statistics. Such statements must be renewed every three years.


Vital Statistics will make a reasonable effort to notify a birth parent when an adoptee applies for birth records. If no disclosure veto statement is filed, the original birth certificate will be released to the adoptee approximately 65 days after the initial request.

For additional information, please contact Carolyn Hoard.

 

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FLORIDA

The Department of Children& Families shall maintain a passive registry with the last known names and addresses of an adoptee (18), the birth parents, and the adoptive parents and any other identifying information that the parties wish to include in the registry.  Identifying information about a birth parent, an adoptive parent, or an adoptee may not be disclosed unless the respective party has authorized in writing the release of such information. If the adoptee is younger than age 18, written consent must be obtained from an adoptive parent.

The original birth certificate is available only upon order of the court.
 

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 GEORGIA

HB524 did not get out of the House and into the Senate in time for it to get passed in the 2013 session.  Advocates are working to garner support for an access bill by reaching out to more legislators so that the bill can move more quickly in the 2014 session.
 
Contact Susan Farrar of Georgians for Equal Access to Records, skfarr@me.com, for more information.  Also, go to obcforga.org.
 
CURRENT LAW:  Upon written request of an adult adoptee (21), the name of the birth parents shall be released if the birth parent has submitted an unrevoked written consent. If a birth parent has not filed an unrevoked written consent, the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry shall make a diligent effort to notify each birth parent that a request for information has been made. The birth parent may then file an affidavit consenting or objecting to disclosure.  Birth parents and adult birth siblings also may access information about an adoptee using the same procedure. If the adoptee is deceased and leaves a child, such child, upon reaching age 21, may seek the name and other identifying information concerning his or her grandparents in the same manner as the deceased adoptee and subject to the same procedures.

 

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HAWAII

For information on Hawaii adoption laws, go to: http://adoptioncirclehawaii.com.

 

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IDAHO

Passive registry maintained by the Registrar of Vital Statistics.  It is available to adult adoptees (18), birth parents, birth siblings of adult adoptees, and relatives of deceased adoptees or birth parents.  Registrants may file a consent with the registry indicating person’s desired method of contact if a match is made.


A birth parent shall not be matched with an adult adoptee without the consent of the other birth parent unless (a) there is only one birth parent listed on the birth certificate; (b) the other birth parent is deceased; or (c) the birth parent is unable to be located after a search.


The original birth certificate is available upon a court order or when all parties have consented through the State adoption registry.

 

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ILLINOIS - ACCESS STATE WITH RESTRICTIONS

HB5428, passed in May 2010, allows Illinois-born adoptees born prior to January 1, 1946, to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC).  If the adoptee is deceased, surviving children of the adoptee may obtain a copy of the deceased parent's OBC. 

The second phase of the law, covering post -1945 adoptions, took effect in November 2011.  Adoptees, age 21 and older, may request a non-certified copy of the OBC through the Illinois Department of Public Health.  If the adoptee is deceased, surviving children of the adoptee may obtain a copy of the deceased parent’s OBC.  At this time, over 9,000 OBCs have been released.

A birth parent of an adoptee born after 1945 may file a form to veto disclosure of the birth parent's identity for as long as the birth parent is alive.  If a birth parent has vetoed disclosure, all identifying information about that birth parent will be deleted from the OBC provided to the adoptee.  A veto by one birth parent does not prevent disclosure of the identity of the other birth parent.  Disclosure vetoes are ineffective after the vetoing birth parent dies.

The Illinois Birth Parent Preference Form provides a means for birth parents who do not veto disclosure to express a preference for direct contact, contact through a friend or relative, contact via a state intermediary, or no contact.

Post-1946 adoptees must apply for their OBC by U.S. mail only; no requests will be handled in person or via the Internet. 

For more information and copies of the forms, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/vitalrecords/vital/non_certified.htm

 

 

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INDIANA

 

Indiana advocates, HEAR - Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records -- continue education and advocacy among legislators in advance of the 2012-13 session when efforts will begin anew to launch a new bill.  As soon as a new Chair of the Legislative Committee is appointed, the sponsoring Senator will hold a meeting for all interested parties to create the new bill.

CURRENT LAW:  For adoptions before 12-31-1993: Identifying information shall be released if the adult adoptee (21) and the birth parent have submitted a written consent to the State Registrar.

For adoptions after 12-31-1993: Identifying information shall be released to the adult adoptee upon written request to the State Registrar unless the birth parent has submitted a written non-release form that indicates the birth parent's lack of consent to release of identifying information.

The original birth certificate is withheld from inspection except for a child adopted by a stepparent or as provided in statutes pertaining to release of identifying information.

Contact: Melissa Shelton or Pam Kroskie

 

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IOWA

 

Passive registry.  The State Registrar shall reveal the identity of the birth parent to the adult adoptee (age 18) or the identity of the adult adoptee to the birth parent if all of the following conditions are met:


     • A birth parent has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to the adult adoptee upon request of the adult

       adoptee.
     • An adult adoptee has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to a birth parent upon request of the birth

       parent.
     • The State registrar has been provided sufficient information to make the requested match.


Sealed records may be opened if an individual was adopted prior to July 1, 1941. Iowa law does not require an individual to provide "good cause" to petition the court to open adoption records for those adopted prior to July 1, 1941. If individuals who were adopted after 7/1/41 wish to have records open, they can petition the court, but one must show "good cause."
 

The original birth certificate (OBC) may not be inspected except under order of a court. The State registrar shall, upon the application of an adult adoptee, a birth parent, an adoptive parent, or the legal representative of the any of the former, inspect the OBC and reveal to the applicant the date of the adoption and the name and address of the court that issued the adoption decree.

 

 

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KANSAS
- ACCESS STATE

Adoption Records Were Never Sealed
Kansas adoption records have NEVER been closed. The records have always been accessible to adult adoptees (in KS that is age 18); the original birth certificate (OBC) comes from KS Vital Statistics and the adoption record comes from KS Social and Rehabilitative Services (SRS) Children and Family Policy. The often stated confusion arises from the fact that this was not clearly spelled out in the law and, in the early 1950s when many states were closing their records, the KS legislature passed a 1953 law that clearly spelled out that the records belong to adult adoptees.

The OBC is available only to the adult adoptee. The adoptee's descendants cannot get the OBC (which many want when the adoptee is deceased). The OBC is stamped, in red, VOID so that the document cannot be used for fraud. It has only been in the past 15 years or so that this has been done. The same form and fee, is used for ALL in Kansas whether adopted or not adopted. This form may be accessed at: www.kdheks.gov/vital/birth.html

If an adoptee is born in KS but the adoption was completed in another state, they still get the OBC. If the adoptee was born elsewhere but the adoption was completed in KS, the adoptee can still obtain the state adoption record but the OBC stays with the state (and their laws) where the adoptee was born.

Birth parents/siblings can request a search, though SRS, and forward their identifying information to the adult adoptee. It then is the decision of the adoptee whether or not to directly contact that particular birth family member. Identifying information about the adult adoptee cannot be released to any birth family member without the written, notarized consent of the adoptee. For a Kansas state adoption record form for all adoptions completed in Kansas, click here. At the present time there is no fee for the Kansas adoption record or for requesting a search for a birth family member or adoptee.

59-2122 Files and records of adoption
(a) The files and records of the court in adoption proceedings shall not be open to inspection or copy by persons other than the parties in interest and their attorneys, and representatives of the state department of social and rehabilitation services, except upon an order of the court expressly permitting the same. As used in this section, 'parties in interest' shall not include genetic parents once a decree of adoption is entered.

(b) The department of social and rehabilitation services may contact the adoptive parents of the minor child or the adopted adult at the request of the genetic parents in the event of a health or medical need. The department of social and rehabilitation services may contact the adopted adult at the request of the genetic parents for any reason. Identifying information shall not be shared with the genetic parents without the permission of the adopted adult. The department of social and rehabilitation services may contact the genetic parents at the request of the adoptive parents of the minor child or the adopted adult in the event of a health or medical need. The department of social and rehabilitation services may contact the genetic parents at the request of the adopted adult for any reason.
 

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KENTUCKY

If the birth parents have given consent, the adult adoptee (21) may inspect the records pertaining to his or her adoption proceedings upon written request. If the birth parents have not given consent, the State has six months to make reasonable efforts to locate birth parents and notify them that the adult adopted has made a request for information. The notification shall be by personal and confidential contact, without disclosing the identity of the adult adoptee.  If birth parents cannot be located or if they are deceased, the adoptee can petition the court to open the record for inspection.
 

The original birth certificate is available by court order only.

 

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LOUISIANA

HB 444 has been signed by the governor. The bill establishes a means to gather birth medical history to be released in a non-identifying way; describes conditions of disclosure through the court in cases of inheritance rights, medical necessity or registration with the State Registry; and extends State Registry participation to parents or siblings of deceased biological parents, adoptive parents of a minor or deceased adopted person.

The Office of Community Services of the Department of Social Services shall maintain a voluntary registry for the matching of adoptees and birth parents or siblings, or both.  The purpose of this registry shall be to facilitate voluntary contact between the adoptee and the birth parents or siblings, or both.

The use of the registry shall be limited to the adoptee who is at least age 18, the birth mother, the birth father, parents or siblings of a deceased birth parent, an adoptive parent of a minor or deceased adoptee, and any birth sibling who is at least age 18.  No registration by an adoptee shall be permitted until all birth siblings who were adopted by the same adoptive parents have reached age 18.

The registry shall not release any information from adoption records in violation of the privacy or confidentiality rights of a birth parent who has not authorized the release of any information.

The registry shall confirm for an adoptee the fact of his or her adoption and identify the court in which the adoption was finalized and the agency, firm, or lawyer facilitating the adoption when that information is known by the department.  To receive this information, the adoptee shall be age 18 or older, submit the request in writing, and provide proof of identity.

The original birth certificate is available upon court order to the adoptee or if deceased, the adoptee's descendants, or the adoptive parent.

 

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MAINE - ACCESS STATE

Access legislation was enacted on January 1, 2009, allowing adults, age 18 and older, to get their original birth certificates.  Since that date, more than 1,280 OBCs have been released to adoptees.  Of the limited number of birth parents completing Contact Preference Forms, only eight have requested no contact.

Please visit: www.obcforme.org

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MARYLAND

HB 22 and SB 165 were introduced in the 2013 session.  The bills included release of the original birth certificate to adoptees at age 18, and the amended birth certificate to birthparents, upon request, when the adoptee reaches age 18.  Advocates asked for a contact preference option to be included.  This bill specifically covers adoptees and birthparents from 1947, when records were closed, until 2000. 

The House Judiciary Committee voted for an unfavorable report on HB 22.  All scheduled hearings on SB165 were cancelled.  The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee issued an unfavorable report.

CURRENT LAW: For those adopted from 1947 through 2000, the State maintains a Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry for adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings and other birth relatives. Individuals may provide identifying information and authorize its release to birth parents and/or birth siblings. If a match occurs, the identities of the parties are confirmed through the agency that was involved in the adoption finalization. Once confirmed, the information is released to the interested parties.

On October 1, 1999, adoption services were expanded to provide search, contact and reunion services to adult adoptees (21) and birth parents. Individuals may authorize the Department of Human Resources to initiate a search for birth parents or adult children they placed for adoption. A referral will be made to a confidential intermediary who will attempt to locate the person being sought. The person being sought may grant or deny the request for contact.  If contact is denied in the case of an adoptee search, attempt is made to have birth parents complete medical information. 

For adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2000, an adult adoptee (21) may apply for a copy of his or her OBC. A birth parent may file a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information. A birth parent may apply for a copy of the adoptee’s OBC. An adult adoptee may file a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information.

For additional information, please contact
Linda Clausen, MSW, or go to www.obcmaryland.org.

 

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MASSACHUSETTS
- PARTIAL ACCESS STATE

Massachusetts Senate approved legislation (SB63) on May 1, 2007, allowing adopted people 18 years or older born before July 17, 1974 (when records were sealed) and the adoptive parents of those born after 2007 to obtain their original birth certificates (OBC).

Adoptees born after 2007 may obtain their OBC on and after reaching 18 years of age.  Access to those born between July 17, 1974 and January 1, 2008, will be denied unless a probate court finds that the adoption record contains evidence of a birth parent's willingness to provide information about her or his identity to the adoptee.

Click for: Application for a Non-Certified Record of Birth Prior to Adoption

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MICHIGAN


The Michigan access bill died in committee at the end of 2010 legislative session. No new legislation has been introduced to date, and none is on the horizon.  The legislature is not favorable, and any access bill faces stiff opposition from the family law seciton of the state bar.

CURRENT LAW: for adoptions finalized between 5-28-1945 and 9-12-1980, identifying information shall be released to the adult adoptee (18) on each birth parent who has consented to the release, or both birth parents if both consented or if one or both parents are deceased.  If no consent is on file, an adoptee can use a confidential intermediary to conduct a reasonable search and obtain consent.  For adoptions finalized before 5/28/45 and after 9-12-1980, identifying information may be released to an adult adoptee upon request unless the birth parent has filed a statement with the central adoption registry denying release.

A copy of the original birth certificate may be provided to the adult adoptee upon request when accompanied by a copy of a central adoption registry clearance reply form or by court order.

 

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MINNESOTA

HF848 was introduced and assigned to the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee in February 2013.  However, no public hearings have been held.  SF981 was introduced and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2013.  No public hearings have been held on this bill. 
Contact Carrie Blesener.

CURRENT LAW: An adult adoptee (19) may request the Commissioner of Health to disclose the information on the adoptee's original birth record.   Within 6 months after receiving the request, the department or agency shall make reasonable efforts to notify each birth parent.  If the department is unable to notify a parent identified on the original birth record within 6 months, and if neither parent has at any time filed an unrevoked consent to disclosure, the information may be disclosed as follows:
If the person was adopted prior to 8-1-1977, he or she may petition the court for disclosure, and the court shall grant the petition if, after consideration of the interests of all known persons involved, the court determines that disclosure of the information would be of greater benefit than nondisclosure.
If the person was adopted on or after 8-1-1977, the commissioner shall release the information to the adoptee.
If either birth parent has ever filed with the commissioner an unrevoked affidavit stating that the information on the original birth record should not be disclosed, the commissioner shall not disclose the information.
If a parent named on the original birth record has died, and at any time prior to the death the parent has filed an unrevoked affidavit stating that the information not be disclosed, the adoptee may petition the court of original jurisdiction of the adoption proceeding for disclosure.
The State Registrar shall provide a copy of an adoptee's original birth record to an authorized representative of a federally recognized American Indian Tribe for the sole purpose of determining the adoptee's eligibility for enrollment or membership in the Tribe.
 

 

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MISSISSIPPI

An adult adoptee (21) may request identifying information on either or both birth parents from the Bureau of Vital Records.  If the birth parents have not filed a prior refusal, the adoptee can request that agency conduct a search.  Unless the birth parent files a consent, identifying information cannot be released.  If birth parent cannot be located, information cannot be released.
 

The original birth certificate shall not be a public record and shall not be released except upon the order of the court.

 

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MISSOURI

2011 Missouri Senate Bill No. 351 was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in July 2011.
 

SUMMARY: This act modifies provisions regarding adoption records.  Current law allows for non-identifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed biological parents or siblings to be furnished by the child-placing agency or the juvenile court to the adoptive parents, legal guardians or adopted adult upon request. This act allows such non-identifying information to also be furnished to the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased.

SECTION 453.121.3 This act modifies the provisions regarding adopted adults obtaining identifying information of the undisclosed biological parents by making a request to the circuit court having original jurisdiction. This act provides that such identifying information shall also be furnished to the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased.

SECTION 453.121.4 Current law allows the adopted adult to make a request and prescribes a procedure for obtaining consent from both the adoptive and biological parents if prior consent has not been given either through the adoption information registry or through contact by the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel. This act modifies current law by requiring just the biological parents to be notified about the request for identifying information.

SECTION 453.121.4 and 5  If a biological parent authorizes the release of information or if a biological parent is found to be deceased, the court shall disclose the identifying information as to that biological parent to the adopted adult so long as the other biological parent:  is unknown;  is known but cannot be found and notified; is deceased;  or has filed with the court an affidavit authorizing the release of information.

SECTION 453.121.7 This act provides that adopted adults may obtain identifying information on adult siblings with the sibling's consent without the court having to find that such information is necessary for health-related purposes.

Contact: lewisif@aol.com
 

 

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MONTANA - PARTIAL ACCESS STATE

CURRENT LAW:  For a person adopted on or before 7-1-1967, the Department of Public Health shall furnish a copy of the original birth certificate upon the written request of an adult adoptee (18).

For a person adopted between 7-1-1967 and 9-30-1997, the department shall furnish a copy of the original birth certificate upon a court order.

For a person adopted on or after 10-1-1997, the department shall furnish a copy of the original birth certificate upon the written request of an adult adoptee unless the birth parent has requested in writing that the original birth certificate not be automatically released, or by a court order.

The department may release a copy of the adoptee's original birth certificate if release of this document is required to assist an adoptee to become enrolled in or a member of an Indian Tribe.
 

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NEBRASKA

If relinquishment or consent to adoption was given prior to 9/1/88, an adult adoptee (25) can file a written request for his or her original birth certificate (OBC).  The Department of Health & Human Services shall release the OBC if the birth mother, if unmarried at the adoptee’s birth, or both birth parents have signed a consent form (relative means biological parents or siblings) and the adoptive parents have not filed a non-consent form.

If there is no consent or non-consent form on file, the department may only release information regarding the court where the decree was issued and the adoption agency, if any, involved.

The department shall also release the OBC if the department has information that both biological parents are deceased, or if only one biological parent is known and that person is deceased and no non-consent form has been filed by an adoptive parent.

If relinquishment or consent to adoption was given after 8/31/88 and before 7/20/02, an adult adoptee (21) can file a request for his or her OBC.  For relinquishments and consents after 8/31/88, the birth parent consent form is no longer required.   Consent is assumed given unless a non-consent is on file. The department shall release the OBC if no non-consent form has been filed by either a birth or adoptive parent. If a birth parent non-consent form is on file, then the department shall only release medical history.

The department shall also release the OBC if the department has information that both biological parents are deceased, or if only one biological parent is known and that person is deceased unless an adoptive parent has filed a non-consent form. The department shall establish a policy for verifying information regarding the death of the biological parent or parents.

If relinquishment or consent to adoption was given after 7/20/02, adoptive parents are no longer given the option of filing a non-consent form.   The OBC is released unless a birth parent has filed a non-consent.
 

 

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NEVADA

Passive registry maintained by the Division of Child & Family Services.

 

 

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NEW HAMPSHIRE - ACCESS STATE

Since June 2005, original birth certificates have been available to adoptees age 18 and older.  New Hampshire, like all states with adoptee access, has issued many original birth certificates with no harm resulting to any party. As of January 2012, over 1,572 OBCs were released.  Only 12 birth parents have indicated they do not want contact.

 For more information, log onto: www.sos.nh.gov/vitalrecords


 

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NEW JERSEY

 

After 31 years, the New Jersey Assembly finally passed the Adoptees's Birthright Bill, S799, on May 9, 2011. (The Senate had passed the bill four times in the previous eight years.)  However, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the bill, replacing most of the sections with the oppositions' bill, which would have required a confidential intermediary to find the birth parent(s) and get their permission to release the original birth certificate to a requesting adult adopted person.  Further, it required future relinquishing parent(s) to complete a form regarding contact in the future, and it gave them the option of nondisclosure from their son or daughter.

Advocates requested that the sponsors of the Adoptees’ Birthright Bill withhold the conditionally vetoed bill from further consideration by the legislature, and they agreed.  The conditionally vetoed bill would have had to been passed by both the Senate and the Assembly (and signed by the Governor) before it could have become law.

Advocates continue to educate the public and legislators on the merits of the human right to know the truth of one's origin, and we are exploring options for the future.  Further information may be found on www.nj-care.org and NJCARE's Facebook page.  To read the Adoptees' Birthright Bill, the conditional veto, or to see how legislators voted, please go to www.njleg.state.nj.us and type S799 in the Bill Number box on the right.  Use the drop-down menu to select 2010-2011 under Legislative Session and hit Search.  Click on the bill number in red type, scroll down and choose the format (PDF or HTM) under Senate Committee Substitute - S1399 to read the bill as passed by the legislature.  The link to the Conditional Veto is on the next line.  Under Session Voting, click on Roll Call to view the vote in either the Senate or Assembly.

 

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NEW MEXICO

Registry maintained by the State Children, Youth & Families Department with search and consent system requiring court approval.  Release of the OBC requires court approval.

 

 

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NEW YORK

For current advocacy activities in New York contact: Joyce Bahr or go to www.unsealedinitiative.org

CURRENT LAW:  Passive registry. Adult adoptees (18) and birth parents can register with the Adoption Information Registry to receive identifying information.  When a match is confirmed, registry will notify the parties and the court where the adoption occurred to request each registrant’s “final consent” to the release of information.  Upon receipt of the final consent, information is released.
 

The original birth certificate is available only upon order of the court.
 

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NORTH CAROLINA


HB1463, signed into law by Governor Beverly Perdue on July 21, 2010, expands the Confidential intermediary program.

HB1463 will allow adoptees age 18 (instead of 21) and older to be able to use the CI program. It will also allow:

  • Adult biological siblings of adult adoptees
  • Adult biological half siblings of adult adoptees
  • Adult family members of deceased adoptees
  • Adult family members of a deceased biological parent to use the Confidential Intermediary program.

This bill also allows an agency acting as a Confidential Intermediary to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate of the person who is the subject of the search and deliver it to the person who is searching.

For more information please contact Roberta MacDonald  or go to  http://adoptionreform-nc.org

 

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OHIO
– PARTIAL ACCESS STATE

Currently adoptees born and adopted in Ohio prior to 1964 may have access to their original birth certificate and court file upon request through Vital Statistics. Adoptees adopted after September 18, 1996 may have access to these same documents when they turn 21 (and their adoptive parents can when the adoptee is 18-20 years old). In adoptions after September 18, 1996 a birthparent’s identity may be withheld on these documents if the birthparent has denied release. Records are sealed in adoptions between 1964 and 1996.

HB61 and SB23 would correct these inequities by allowing those adopted between 1964 and 1996 who are 18 and over to access their OBC upon request.  HB61 was unanimously voted out of the House Judiciary Committee in March 2013.   The Senate President has thus far refused to bring the bill to the floor for consideration.

Anyone with an Ohio connection who wants to help lobby for passage (either a current OH resident, or a member of the adoption constellation who relinquished, or was born or adopted as a child in Ohio) is encouraged to contact Betsie Norris .

 

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OKLAHOMA

HB1118 was assigned to the Human Services Committee.  After a public hearing, the Committee voted unanimously in support of the bill.  However, Oklahoma Right to Life effectively lobbied the Republican members to table the bill over the issue of confidentiality.  Our sponsor will introduce a new bill in the next session.
For more information, contact Samantha Franklin at 918 697-2002.
CURRENT LAW:  For adoptions finalized after 11-1-1997, an uncertified copy of the original birth certificate is available to an adoptee, age 18 or older, upon written request under the following conditions:
     • He or she presents proof of identity.
     • There are no birth siblings under age 18 who are currently in an adoptive family and whose whereabouts are known.
     • The birth parents have not filed affidavits of nondisclosure.

For adoptions prior to 1/1/1997, the State has a search program using the services of a confidential intermediary.

Original birth certificates are available upon order of the court for good cause.

 

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OREGON - ACCESS STATE

In 1998, Oregon voters approved Measure 58, which granted adult adoptees access to the Original birth certificate. Oregon’s results serve as a prototype for what other states can expect when access legislation is passed. The release of 9267 birth certificates to Oregon adoptees during the past decade has resulted in no harm done to any party, including birth parents.
 

To access the history of the lawsuit that upheld Initiative 58 and to see the results of the Initiative click here.

The Does v. Oregon Decision upholding Initiative 58. (PDF )

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PENNSYLVANIA

 

HB 162, an unrestricted access bill, was introduced in the PA House of Representatives on January 16, 2013.  The bill will allow Pennsylvania-born adopted adults, at age 19, to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate.  The Committee on Children & Youth voted the bill out of Committee and onto the full House where it was passed unanimously in October 2013.  The bill is now before the Senate Committee on Aging & Youth.  A Senate Committee hearing is anticipated early in 2014.

Anyone with an adoption connection to Pennsylvania, or if you are a resident of Pennsylvania who supports this legislation, please contact Carolyn Hoard, AAC Legislation Committee, at
choard192@verizon.net.


 

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RHODE ISLAND - ACCESS STATE

 

On July 1, 2011, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law S0478 Sub A which restores the human right for all adult adoptees 25 years of age or older born in Rhode Island to obtain a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate.  Since July 2, 2012, 759 adoptees have received their OBC with 10 birth mothers indicating on the contact preference form that they do not want contact.


The Rhode Island Vital Records Office has made available at the following link information regarding the new law, as well as the contact preference form for birth parents to complete.
 

http://www.health.ri.gov/data/adultadoptees/index.php

 

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SOUTH CAROLINA

 Passive registry with information provided to individuals who match.  Parties must undergo counseling.  The original birth certificate (OBC) is sealed by the State Registrar. The statute does not specify a procedure for access to the OBC.

 

 

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SOUTH DAKOTA

The Department of Social Services maintains a voluntary registry of adopted persons and birth parents who have presented a consent regarding the release of identifying information about themselves. Any consent shall indicate to whom the information may be released and whether the adopted person desires release of this identifying information after his or her death. A person who uses this voluntary register may revoke his or her consent at any time.   Go to the South Dakota Voluntary Adoption Registry, Department of Social Services.
The original birth certificate is available upon order of the court; 99% have been granted.  Please contact the Adoption Unit at 605-773-3227.
 
 For more information, contact Lynne Banks, lbanks8928@sio.midco.net.

 

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TENNESSEE – ACCESS STATE

Successful Court Battle to Open Records
On September 27, 1999, the Supreme Court of Tennessee at Nashville issued an opinion in the case of Promise Doe, et al. v. Donald Sunquist, et al., and upheld a new adoption records law that was to take effect July 1, 1996. After more than three years of litigation, the Supreme Court concluded that the disclosure of adoption records created on or after March 16, 1951, does not impair the vested rights or violate the right to privacy under the Tennessee Constitution.

This ruling by the Supreme Court allows the Department of Children’s Services to begin processing requests for services to persons eligible to have access to their adoption records. The Department is able to act under provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated §36-1-12(c) to provide access to adoption records, sealed adoption records, sealed records, post-adoption records, or records from any other information source that were created on or after March 16, 1951. Adoption records may be released pursuant to court order as provided in Tennessee Code §36-1-138.
If any adoption was attempted or occurred before March 16, 1951, the law affecting services available to eligible persons was effective July 1, 1995. Adoption records for eligible persons are available to those surrendered for the purpose of adoption; for adoptions which were filed and dismissed or not completed, and the record was closed or sealed prior to March 16, 1951; and for any records maintained at any time by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The adoption record includes sealed adoption records, post-adoption records, court records, adoption agency and Department of Health vital records.

For more information, call the office of Post-Adoption Services at 615-532-5637. Details of the Tennessee court case, including legal documents, affidavits, and research, can be found here.
 

 

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TEXAS

The Vital Statistics Central Adoption Registry is a passive registry maintained by the State .  When match is made, the administrator will notify each registrant.  Before any identifying information is released, parties must participate in not less than one hour of counseling.

Only the court that granted the adoption may grant access to the original birth certificate.
 

 

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UTAH

Passive registry and access to records over 100 years old.

Utah law permits adult adoptees (21) the right to obtain non-identifying, detailed genetic and social history about their biological family. Adoptive parents should receive the state forms entitled "Birth Father's (and/or) Birth Mother’s Non-identifying Information for Adoption Registry" at the time of finalization. Copies of the completed forms may be obtained for a nominal fee from the Office of Vital Statistics. In 1987 Utah established a Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry. This registry is administered by the Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics and is available to adult adoptees, their biological brothers and sisters, and their birth parents. If both the adult adoptee and an adult member of the biological family register, then identifying information will be released to both parties.

Utah law permits public access to adoption records over 100 years old (Utah Code 1953 78B-6-141 (2)(e), see also Access to Adoption Records (1999)). Provisions for adopting children were first enacted by the Utah Territorial legislature in March 1884; prior to that date there were provisions for indenturing children and for assigning guardians in the case of deceased parents, but none for formal adoption.
 

 

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VERMONT – PARTIAL ACCESS STATE

For adoptions finalized prior to 7-1-1986, the Department for Children and Families Adoption Registry shall disclose identifying information if the birth parent has filed any kind of document that clearly indicates that he or she consents to such disclosure.

For adoptions finalized on or after 7-1-1986, the registry shall disclose identifying information without requiring the consent of the birth parent unless the birth parent has filed a request for nondisclosure.

The original birth certificate may be released upon request to an adoptee who is age 18 or older and who has access to identifying information.
 

 

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VIRGINIA

HB 1868, passed in 2011, requires the State Registrar of Vital Records to mail an adult adopted person's (18) original certificate of birth to him upon order of the Commissioner of Social Services or order of a circuit court. This bill also provides that if a circuit court corrects or establishes a date of birth for a person born in a foreign country during an adoption proceeding or upon a petition to amend a certificate of foreign birth, the State Registrar shall issue a certificate of birth showing the date of birth established by the court. 
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?ses=111&typ=bil&val=hb1868

"In parental placement adoptions, where the consent to the adoption was executed on or after July 1, 1994, the entire adoption record shall be open to the adoptive parents, the adoptee who is eighteen years of age or older, and a birth parent who executed a written consent to the adoption."
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+63.2-1247

"Parental placement" means locating or effecting the placement of a child or the placing of a child in a family home by the child's parent or legal guardian for the purpose of foster care or adoption."
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+63.2-100
 

 

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WASHINGTON

Beginning July 1, 2014, Washington-born adoptees over the age of 18 will be allowed to get a copy of their original birth certificate unless the birth parent files a form stating they do not want it released.  To read the bill in its entirety, go to:

 

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1525&year=2013

For more information, contact Penni Johnson, pennuj@yahoo.com.

 

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WEST VIRGINIA

Passive registry maintained by the Division of Human Services.  An adult adoptee (18) and each birth parent may register by submitting an affidavit to the registry. The failure of any person to file with the registry for any reason, including death or disability, precludes the disclosure of identifying information to those persons who do register.

The original birth certificate may be inspected only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
 

 

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WISCONSIN
An adult adoptee (18) will receive identifying information if birth parent has filed an affidavit with the Department of Children and Families consenting to the release.  If no affidavit is on file, the state will undertake a diligent search for the known birth parent to obtain consent or refusal. 

The original birth certificate is available upon request to the adoptee if the known birth parents have filed affidavits authorizing disclosure.
 

 

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WYOMING

An adult adoptee (18) may petition the court to appoint a confidential intermediary for the purpose of determining the whereabouts of an unknown birth relative, except that no one shall seek a relative who is a minor. Any information obtained by the intermediary shall be kept strictly confidential and shall be utilized only for the purpose of arranging a contact between the person who initiated the search and the sought-after birth relative.

The original birth certificate is not subject to inspection except by court order.

 

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