Access to Adoption Records - Colorado

Date:

Who May Access Information

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§19-5-304(1)(b); 19-5-305(2)(b)(I)

A qualified confidential intermediary is authorized to inspect confidential relinquishment and adoption records, postadoption records, and dependency and neglect records, including, but not limited to, court files, for the purpose of arranging contact within 45 days after a motion to the court is filed by the following persons:

  • An adult adoptee
  • An adoptive parent, custodial grandparent, or legal guardian of a minor adoptee
  • A birth parent or an adult birth sibling or half-sibling of an adult adoptee
  • An adult descendant, spouse of an adoptee, adult stepchild, or adopted adult sibling of an adoptee with the notarized written consent of the adult adoptee
  • A birth grandparent of an adoptee with the notarized written consent of the birth parent (unless the birth parent is deceased)
  • The legal representative of any of the individuals listed above
  • A former foster child who may or may not have been adopted, who is age 18 or older, and who is searching for a birth sibling who also is age 18 or older, who may or may not have been adopted, and who may or may not have been in the foster care system

Upon request, the custodian of records shall provide direct access, without redaction, to all adoption records for inspection and copying by an adult adoptee, an adoptive parent of a minor adoptee, a custodial grandparent of a minor adoptee, or the legal representative of any such individual. In addition, the custodian of records shall provide direct access to adoption records for inspection and copying by a spouse, an adult descendant, an adult sibling or half-sibling, an adoptive parent or grandparent of an adult adoptee, or the legal representative of any such individual, if the individual requesting access has the notarized written consent of the adult adoptee or if the adoptee is deceased.

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-402; 19-1-103(80)

Any adult adoptee or any adoptive parent may request nonidentifying information about the adoptee or the birth parents of the adoptee from the Department of Human Services. The department shall provide the nonidentifying information that is available to the department directly to the inquiring adult adoptee; adoptive parent; or to a qualified, licensed child-placing agency.

The term 'nonidentifying information' means information that does not disclose the name, address, place of employment, or any other material information that would lead to the identification of the birth parents, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The physical description of the birth parents
  • The educational background of the birth parents
  • The occupation of the birth parents
  • Genetic information about the birth family
  • Medical information about the adult adoptee's birth
  • Social information about the birth parents
  • The placement history of the adoptee

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-304; 19-5-305; 19-1-103(6.5)(a.5)

An eligible person may petition the court to appoint a confidential intermediary to search adoption records in an effort to find a birth relative. When a sought-after birth relative is located, the intermediary shall obtain consent from both parties that they wish to personally communicate with one another. Contact shall be made between the parties involved in the investigation only when consent for such contact has been received by the court.

All confidential intermediaries shall inform both the requesting birth relative and the sought-after birth relative of the existence of the voluntary adoption registry set forth in § 25-2-113.5.

The State registrar shall provide a birth parent with a contact preference form on which the birth parent may indicate a preference regarding contact by the adult adoptee or the adoptee's descendant. The form may include an updated medical history about the birth parent or other biological relatives. The State registrar shall maintain the contact preference form and the medical history statements, if any, and make them accessible to a person who is eligible to receive adoption records.

The 'adoption record' includes the following documents and information, without redaction:

  • The adoptee's original birth certificate and amended birth certificate
  • The final decree of adoption
  • Any identifying information, including the following:
    • The name of the adoptee before placement for adoption
    • The name and address of each birth parent as they appear in the birth records
    • The name, address, and any contact information of the adult adoptee
    • The current name, address, and contact information of each birth parent, if known
    • Other information that might personally identify a birth parent
  • Any nonidentifying information
  • The final order of relinquishment
  • The order of termination of parental rights

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-305

The option on the contact preference form that allows a birth parent to authorize or not authorize the release of the original birth certificate to eligible parties expires on January 1, 2016. On and after January 1, 2016, contact preference forms shall only address a birth parent's preferences regarding contact and to submit or update medical history. On and after July 1, 2014, the State registrar shall post a notice on its website stating that the contact preference form will be revised to eliminate that option and that birth parents may exercise this option prior to January 1, 2016.

Prior to allowing access to an original birth certificate, the State registrar must search for a contact preference form executed prior to January 1, 2016, to ascertain if either birth parent had stated a preference authorizing or not authorizing the release of the original birth certificate. If both birth parents have filed a contact preference form executed prior to January 1, 2016, authorizing the release of the original birth certificate, then the State registrar must release the original birth certificate to the eligible party. If there is no contact preference form on file, or if a contact preference form executed prior to January 1, 2016, is on file stating that the original birth certificate not be released, then the State registrar may not release the original birth certificate prior to January 1, 2016, unless the birth parent rescinds the contact preference form; upon mutual consent of two or more reunited parties; the birth parent is deceased; or the eligible party obtains a court order pursuant to § 19-1-309. When one birth parent has authorized the release of the birth certificate and the other birth parent has filed a contact preference form, prior to January 1, 2016, not authorizing release, the State registrar shall issue the original birth certificate to the eligible party with the name of the nonconsenting parent redacted.

Where the Information Can Be Located

  • Voluntary Adoption Registry
  • The child-placing agency involved in the adoption