Access to Adoption Records - Rhode Island

Date: December 2019

Who May Access Information

Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-2; 15-7.2-7

The following persons may use the passive voluntary adoption reunion registry:

  • Birth parents and adult birth siblings
  • The adult adoptees
  • Surviving relatives of a deceased adoptee
  • The parent or adult sibling of a deceased birth parent
  • The adoptive parent of a deceased adoptee

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-1; 15-7.2-2

The passive voluntary adoption reunion registry shall provide for the transmission of nonidentifying health, social, and genetic history of the adult adoptees, birth parents, and other specified persons. Genetic and social history includes the following information that is available:

  • Medical history
  • Health status
  • Cause of and age at death
  • Height, weight, and eye and hair color
  • Ethnic origins
  • Religion, if any

Health history includes, when obtainable, the child's health status and medical history at the time of placement for adoption, including neonatal, psychological, developmental, physiological, and medical care history.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Gen. Laws §§ 15-7.2-2; 15-7.2-7; 15-7.2-9; 15-7.2-12; 5-7.2-14

The persons listed above may use the registry to register their willingness to the release of identifying information to each other by submitting a signed affidavit. The affidavit gives the registry authority to release identifying information related to the registrant to the other relevant persons who register. Each registration shall be accompanied by the birth certificate of the registrant.

A registry shall release only information necessary for identifying a birth parent, adult adoptee, or adult birth sibling and shall not release information of any kind pertaining to the adoptive parents, siblings who are children of the adoptive parents, and the income of anyone.

Any eligible registrant or any adoptive parent may file with the registry an objection to the release of identifying information. When an objection to the release of identifying information has been filed, the court shall hear the objection of the filing party prior to the release of identifying information to determine whether it is in the best interests of the parties to release identifying information.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Gen. Laws § 15-7.2-12

In the event of a verified match and release of identifying information, the registry, upon the written request of the adult adoptee, shall certify to the State Registrar of Vital Records that the adult adoptee is a party to a verified match and is entitled to receive uncertified copies of his or her original birth certificate. The certification shall also state that no person other than the adult adoptee is entitled to receive copies of the original birth certificate. However, no uncertified copy of the original birth certificate may be released to the adult adopted person unless each party named on the original birth certificate has registered. Registration by a birth parent not named on the original birth certificate shall not be required for release of the uncertified copy of the original birth certificate.

Where the Information Can Be Located

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Family Court, Voluntary Adoption Reunion Registry