Access to Adoption Records - Arkansas

Date: December 2019

Who May Access Information

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-9-504; 9-9-505

Nonidentifying information is available to the following:

  • The adoptive parents of the child or the child's guardian
  • The adoptee
  • If the adoptee has died, the adoptee's children, widow or widower, or the guardian of any child of the adoptee
  • The birth parent of the adoptee
  • Any child welfare agency having custody of the adoptee

Access to identifying information is available to the adult adoptee, the birth parents, and any person related within the second degree through the adoption registry.

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-505

Nonidentifying information is available upon request to any person listed above. Nonidentifying information includes the health, genetic, and social history of the child.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-504

A person eligible to register may request the disclosure of identifying information by filing an affidavit with the adoption registry that includes the following:

  • The person's current name and address
  • Any previous name by which the applicant was known
  • The original and adopted names, if known, of the adoptee
  • The place and date of birth of the adoptee
  • The name and address of the adoption agency or other entity, organization, or person placing the adoptee, if known

The applicant shall notify the registry of any change in name or location that occurs subsequent to his or her filing of the affidavit. The registry shall have no duty to search for an applicant who fails to register his or her most recent address.

The administrator of the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry shall process each affidavit in an attempt to match the adult adoptee and the birth parents or other relatives. The processing shall include research from agency records, when available, and when agency records are not available, research from court records to determine conclusively whether the applicants match.

The administrator shall determine that there is a match when the adult adoptee and a birth parent or other relative have filed affidavits with the adoption registry and have each received the required counseling.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-9-801; 9-9-802; 9-9-803

The term 'adoption file' means a file maintained by the Department of Health that contains an original birth certificate and adoption decree of an adoptee.

The term 'requester' refers to a person age 21 or older who requests an adoption file who is either of the following:

  • The adoptee to whom the adoption file requested pertains
  • The child, surviving spouse, or guardian of any child of a deceased adoptee

The department shall create and make available the following on its website:

  • A form that a birth parent may use to have his or her name redacted from the copy of an adoption file that a requester receives
  • A form that a birth parent may use to specify if a requester may contact the birth parent and the preferred manner by which a requester may contact the birth parent

Beginning August 1, 2018, a requester may submit a written request for a copy of an adoption file from the department. The request shall include the requester's address and notarized signature and satisfactory proof of the requester's identity as determined by the department. If the requester is the child, widow or widower, or guardian of any child of a deceased adoptee, the requester also shall provide notarized documentation evidencing the requester's relationship to the adoptee.

If an adoption file contains a form from the birth parent requesting that his or her name be redacted from the file, the department shall redact the birth parent's name from the copy of the adoption file before it is mailed to the requester.

Before mailing a requester an adoption file, the department shall mark the certified copy of the original birth certificate contained in the adoption file as 'not intended for official use' or a similar notation.

Where the Information Can Be Located

  • Arkansas Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry
  • The licensed agency involved in the adoption