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Are Adoption Records Available To View?


The question of whether adoption records are available to view is not an easy one to answer. This is because of the fact that the laws governing the availability of adoption records may vary from state to state. Generally speaking, adoption records are sealed completely, and they are withheld from any public access until after the point at which the adoption is finalized. Having said that, during the adoption process, the adopting family and the birth family may be able to have access to information that is not identifying. This is to guarantee the privacy of the parties that are involved in the adoption. Nonidentifying information includes things like the date and place of the birth of the adopted person, the age of the adopted person’s birth parents and a general description, including race, ethnicity, religion, and medical history.

Some states give access to these records of non identifying information even to siblings of the adopted child that are adults. Again, how this process works, and which information exactly is available, will vary from one state to another. Once the adopted person is an adult, all states allow that person access to non-identifying information about their birth relatives.

Information that identifies the birth parents, the adopted person, or any birth relatives is considered to be “identifying information.” This will include the name of the person, and often their address. When a child is given up for adoption, the birth parents can choose then whether or not they want to let this identifying information be released to the adopted person when they are an adult. In some cases, this information may be available to the adopted person even if the birth parents did not consent, through the order of a court. Still, this is very rare that a court will overrule the birth parents’ wishes for privacy.

When a child is adopted, a new birth certificate is created and the original birth certificate becomes sealed, just like the adoption records. Here again, there are instances in which the original birth certificate may be accessed through the order of a court.



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