Access to Adoption Records - Alabama

Date: December 2019

Who May Access Information

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-31

Nonidentifying information may be released, upon request, to the following:

  • The adoptive parents
  • The birth parents
  • The adoptee who is age 19 or older

Only the adult adoptee may access identifying information.

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-31

Nonidentifying information is limited to the following:

  • The health and medical history of birth parents and the adoptee
  • General family background
  • Physical descriptions
  • The length of time the child was in out-of-home care other than with the adoptive parents
  • The circumstances resulting in the adoption

If the court finds that any person has a compelling need for nonidentifying information that can be obtained only through contact with the adoptee, the birth parents, or the adoptive parents, the court shall direct the agency or a mutually agreed upon intermediary to establish contact with the adoptee, the birth parents, or the adoptive parents in order to obtain the information needed without disclosing identifying information. The information then shall be filed with the court and released to the applicant at the discretion of the court. The identity and whereabouts of the person or persons contacted shall remain confidential.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-31

If either birth parent has given consent in writing for disclosure of identifying information, the State Department of Human Resources or a licensed child-placing agency shall release such identifying information.

When an adoptee reaches age 19, he or she may petition the court for the disclosure of identifying information if the birth parent has not previously given consent. The court shall direct an intermediary to contact the birth parents to determine if they will consent to the release of identifying information. If the birth parents consent to the release of identifying information, the court shall order its release. If the birth parents are deceased, cannot be found, or do not consent, the court shall weigh the interests and rights of all parties and determine if the identifying information should be released without the consent of the birth parents.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ala. Code § 22-9A-12(c)-(d)

Any person age 19 or older who was born in Alabama and who has had an original birth certificate removed from the files due to an adoption may, upon written request, receive a copy of that birth certificate and any evidence of the adoption held with the original record.

A birth parent at any time may request from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics a contact preference form that shall accompany a birth certificate. The contact preference form shall indicate one of the following:

  • He or she would like to be contacted.
  • He or she would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary.
  • He or she would prefer not to be contacted at this time but may submit an updated contact preference at a later time.

A medical history form shall be supplied to the birth parent upon request of a contact preference form. The medical history form and the contact preference form are confidential communications from the birth parent to the person named on the sealed birth certificate and shall be placed in a sealed envelope upon receipt from the birth parent. The sealed envelope shall be released to a person requesting his or her own original birth certificate.

Where the Information Can Be Located

  • Alabama Department of Public Health, Birth Certificates
  • Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections (APAC)