Access to Adoption Records - Maryland

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Who May Access Information

Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-4C-05; 5-356; 5-357

Only the following persons may register with the adoption registry for the exchange of identifying information:

  • Birth parents and siblings
  • An adoptee, age 21 or older, who does not have a birth sibling under the age of 21 with the same adoptive parents

Nonidentifying and medical information shall be available to:

  • The adoptive parents
  • The adoptee
  • The birth parents

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-356; 5-357; 5-358

A local department shall make reasonable efforts to compile and make available to a prospective adoptive parent a comprehensive medical and mental health history of the prospective adoptive child. On request of an adoptive parent, a local department shall make reasonable efforts to compile a pertinent medical and mental health history of each of the adoptive child's birth parents, if available to the local department, and to make that history available to the adoptive parent. A medical or mental health history may not contain identifying information about a parent or former parent.

On request of an adoptee, adoptive parent, or birth parent, a local department shall provide information in its adoption record on the adoptee. The records that are accessed may not contain any identifying information.

If, after a hearing on a petition of an adoptee or birth parent, a court is satisfied that the adoptee, a blood relative of the adoptee, or a birth parent urgently needs medical information not in department and court records, the court may appoint an intermediary to try to contact the adoptee or a birth parent for the information.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-4C-06; 5-4C-07

To register with the Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, an individual shall submit a notarized affidavit containing identifying information, including the individual's current name, any previous name by which the individual was known, address, and telephone number. A registrant may withdraw at any time by submitting an affidavit.

On receipt of an affidavit, the administration shall do the following:

  • Attempt to match registrants or to provide matching information
  • If a match is made, direct the child-placing agency or the local department to notify the registrants through a confidential contact

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Fam. Law §§ 5-359; 5-3A-42; 5-3B-29

For adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2000, the following applies:

  • An adoptee who is at least age 21 may apply to the Secretary of Health for a copy of his or her original birth certificate.
  • If an adoptee is at least age 21, a birth parent may apply to the secretary for a copy of the adoptee's original birth certificate.

A birth parent may file with the State Director of Social Services a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information about that parent in an accessible record. The birth parent also may cancel a disclosure veto and refile a disclosure veto at any time.

An adult adoptee may file a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of information about him or her in an accessible record. The adoptee also may cancel a disclosure veto and refile a disclosure veto at any time.

Except as provided below, the secretary shall give to each applicant who meets the requirements of this section a copy of each record that the applicant requested and that the secretary has on file.

Whenever a birth parent applies for a record, the secretary shall redact from the copy all information as to the following:

  • The other birth parent, if that parent has filed a disclosure veto
  • The adoptee and each adoptive parent, if the adoptee has filed a disclosure veto

Whenever an adoptee applies for a record, the secretary shall redact from the copy all information as to the birth parent if that parent has filed a disclosure veto.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry