Adoptees are fighting all over the country to obtain their original birth certificates. When a child is adopted, his or her original birth record is removed from public record and replaced with an amended version with the adoptive parents names listed. Most states are reluctant to hand over the original as it breaks the confidentiality of closed adoption cases. The truth is that anonymity was never guaranteed to birth parents from the state. And with the growing popularity of DNA testing by adoptees, birth parents are being located without it. Here are the laws for accessing original birth certificates in your state as of August 2017:

ALABAMA:

Available to adoptees over 19.

A birth parent may submit a contact preference form to accompany the document.

ALASKA:

Available to adoptees over 18.

An adoptee or birth parent may submit changes of name or address to be attached to the original birth certificate.

ARIZONA:

Available to adoption triad by court order and only accessible to certified confidential intermediary.

ARKANSAS:

Available to adoptees over 21 after August 1, 2018

Certificates are subject to redaction.

CALIFORNIA:

Available by court order; available through the Mutual Consent Program.

COLORADO:

Available to adoptees over 18, adoptive parents of minor adoptees, sibling/half-sibling, birth parents, and legal representation.

CONNECTICUT:

Available to adoptees 18 years old, the adoptee’s adult child or grandchild, and if the adoption was finalized on or after October 1, 1983.

DELAWARE:

Available to adoptees age 21 or older if no denial was filed by birth parents. 

FLORIDA:

Available by court order only.

GEORGIA:

Available by court order only.

HAWAII:

Adoptees and adoptive parents may access their adoption court files, including a copy of the original birth record, if available.

Unlike other states, the request will be to the court, not to the Department of Vital Records.

IDAHO:

Available when all parties have consented through the state adoption registry.

ILLINOIS:

Available to adoptees over 21 if no denial was filed.

INDIANA:

Access through mutual registry

Accessible to all adult adoptees after July 1, 2018.

IOWA:

Available by court order only.

KANSAS:

Available to adoptees over 18.

KENTUCKY:

Available by court order only.

LOUISIANA:

Available by court order only.

MAINE:

Available to adoptees over 18.

MARYLAND:

For adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2000: An adoptee who is at least age 21or a birth parent may apply.

A birth parent or adoptee may file a disclosure veto for redaction

MASSACHUSETTS:

Adoptees born on or before July 17, 1974 can access.

This law also allows adoptive parents to access the original birth certificate of an adopted child born after January 1, 2008, until the adopted child reaches the age of 18.

MICHIGAN:

If parental rights were terminated prior to May 28, 1945, or after September 12, 1980, an adopted adult may access if no denial is filed.

If parental rights were terminated between May 28, 1945 and September 12, 1980, an adopted adult must petition the court in which the adoption was finalized.

MINNESOTA:

An adoptee age 19 or older may apply

Within six months of receiving the request the department or agency shall make reasonable efforts to notify each birth parent.

If unable to notify a birth parent and if neither parent has filed an unrevoked consent to disclosure, the information may be disclosed as follows:

If the person was adopted prior to August 1, 1977, he or she may petition the court for disclosure, and the court shall grant the petition if it determines that disclosure of the information would be of greater benefit than nondisclosure.

If the person was adopted on or after August 1, 1977, the commissioner shall release the information to the adoptee.

Accessible to a federally recognized American Indian Tribe for the sole purpose of determining the adoptee’s eligibility for enrollment or membership in the Tribe.

MISSISSIPPI:

Available by court order only

MISSOURI:

Adoptees born before 1941 can access; adoptees born in and after 1941 can access on January 1, 2018.

MONTANA:

Available to adoptees born on or before July 1, 1967

For a person adopted between July 1, 1967 and September 30, 1997, available by court order.
For a person adopted on or after October 1, 1997, if over 18 and no denial has been filed.
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.
NEBRASKA:

For adoptions finalized prior to September 1, 1998, an adoptee who is age 25 may access; For adoptions finalized on or after September 1, 1998, an adoptee who is age 21 or older may access;

If a consent form has been signed and filed by both birth parents, or by the birth mother of a child born out of wedlock, and no nonconsent form has been filed, a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate shall be provided to the adoptee.

For adoptions finalized prior to July 20, 2002, an adoptive parent or parents may at any time file a notice of nonconsent stating that at no time prior to his or her death, or the death of both parents if each signed the form, may any information on the adoptee’s original birth certificate be released to such adoptee.

NEVADA:

Available by court order only.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

Accessible by adoptees age 18 or their legal representative, or the adoptee’s immediate family; the immediate family would include the adult adoptee’s spouse, adoptive parents, siblings, and children. Legal representative includes an attorney, physician, funeral director, or other authorized agent acting in behalf of the applicant or his or her family.

NEW JERSEY:

Available to adult adoptees born in New Jersey or born elsewhere and adopted in New Jersey.

NEW MEXICO:

Available by court order only.

NEW YORK:

Available by court order only.

NORTH CAROLINA:

Available by court order.

Confidential Intermediaries, however, may access adoption records in order to assist in searches on behalf of eligible participants and to share adoption information when all parties consent.

NORTH DAKOTA:

Available by court order only.

OHIO:

Adoptees have access; subject to redaction.

OKLAHOMA:

Oklahoma has an intermediary system; post 1997 adoptions there is a disclosure veto. Adopted adults adopted before 1997 can only access their birth records by court order.

OREGON:

Access for adoptee age 21 or their legal representative – not other family members. Legal representatives should include a notarized permission note from the adoptee.

PENNSYLVANIA:

The birth parents may, at the time of the termination of their parental rights or at any time thereafter, place on file a consent form granting permission for the court to disclose the information at any time after the adoptee reaches age 18 or, if younger than age 18, to his or her adoptive parent or legal guardian.

If both parents give their consent, the information on the birth certificate may be disclosed. If only one parent gives consent, only the identity of the consenting parent shall be disclosed. Records will be open in November 2017.

RHODE ISLAND:

Available to adoptees age 25 or older.

SOUTH CAROLINA:

Available by court order only.

SOUTH DAKOTA:

Available by court order only.

TENNESSEE:

Available by court order only.

TEXAS:

Access for adoptees who meet all of the criteria: identify the names of each parent on the birth certificate, be at least 18 years old, submit a copy of a valid photo ID issued by a government entity.

UTAH:

Available by court order or through the voluntary adoption registry.

VERMONT:

Available to adoptee age 18 or older with access to identifying information or consent has been placed in file. The original birth certificate is unsealed and becomes public record 99 years after the date of the adoptee’s birth.

VIRGINIA:

Available by court order only.

WASHINGTON:

An adoptee over 18 can access if the birth parents have not filed a contact preference against it. A birth parent can gain access.

WEST VIRGINIA:

Available by court order only.

WISCONSIN:

Available to adoptee age 21 or older if the birth parents have filed affidavits authorizing disclosure.

WYOMING:

Available by court order only; accessible by confidential intermediary.

For further info, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AdopteeCentral/

https://www.adopteerightscoalition.com/

https://www.childwelfare.gov/