Sealed Records

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sealed records

The original birth certificate of an adopted person as well as records of court proceedings, adoption agency reports and other matters surrounding a confidential adoption.

The original birth certificate and these records are sealed to protect the CONFIDENTIALITY of the birthparents, adoptive parents and adopted child.

In those states that have SEALED RECORDS (the majority of states), after an adoption is finalized, the adopted child's original birth certificate is made inaccessible to all persons, and a new birth certificate reflecting the transfer of parental rights, with the adoptive parents listed as the now responsible "parents," is issued.

The circumstances under which the original birth certificate may be obtained vary according to the state; however, most states require the adopted person to be at least 18 years old and may also require a court order before the original birth certificate may be released.

Some groups have sought to OPEN RECORDS. As of this writing, only adopted adults in four states may obtain records on request and without a court order: Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas and Tennessee. Oregon passed an open records law in 1998 which was upheld in a challenge in 1999. As of 2000, the decision is being appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court. In Alaska and Kansas, only the original birth certificate may be obtained upon the request of the adopted adult. In Hawaii, the entire court record may be obtained upon request of the adopted adult.

Find more information on sealed records

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