There are many, many reasons for an adult adopted as a child to look for answers about their adoption and their birth parents. Perhaps a desire to know any ancestry, or to discover important medical history. Some wish to seek out their birth parents to meet them and also to see if they have any siblings. Obtaining access to your adoption records is one way to get some of those questions answered, like an adoption lawyer from a local law firm such as Taylor Law & Mediation PLLC would advise.
Different Types of Adoptions
Closed Adoptions — Typically, adoptions that took place from 1930 until about 1975 were closed adoptions. Babies were placed with their adoptive parents immediately after they were born and then the records were closed. Many times the birth mother kept the pregnancy a secret because during those years an unwanted pregnancy held some social stigma. Birth certificates and records were often falsified to protect the birth mother. During that time, some adoptive parents never even told their children they were adopted. Those born between 1930 and 1975 may have a more difficult time finding their birth certificate and even then they cannot be certain if the information is correct.
Open Adoptions — Beginning in the 1990s open adoption was an option through adoption agencies. Adoptive children fought for the ‘right to know’ and more are able to obtain information about their birth parents.
Each state has its own laws and regulations concerning adoption records. A lawyer familiar with family law and adoptions can help address the laws in your particular state.
How to Get Access to Your Adoptions Records
There are several methods you can utilize to try and find your birth records.
- Contact the county clerk where you were adopted and ask how you can acquire your original birth records/certificate. The clerks are generally knowledgeable on how to get access to your adoption records and the regulations behind sealed adoptions. They can educate you on the necessary steps to take in order to be able to access any sealed adoption records. You will need to file a petition with the court for the records and the clerk can provide you with the necessary forms.
Once you file the petition and it is reviewed by the clerk, a court date will be set to meet with the judge. You will have to tell him why you feel it is necessary to unseal the adoption records. The judge will not unseal the records just because you are curious about your birth parents. It is usually because of an emergency situation, many times medically based when the judge will permit you to see the documents. If your request is permitted the court will allow you access to the documents immediately. The judge may request the use of a confidential intermediary to look at the documents and work on your behalf to contact the other parties involved in the adoption.
Contact a Family Law Lawyer
Going through the court is just one way of locating your adoptive birth records. An adoption lawyer familiar with adoptions can assist you in the correct procedures to take when petitioning the court to unseal the adoption records.