Access to Adoption Records - Tennessee

Date:

Who May Access Information

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-127; 36-1-128; 36-1-133

Nonidentifying information may be released to the following:

  • The adoptee who is age 18 or older
  • The adoptive parents or guardian if the adoptee is under age 18
  • The birth parent or legal relatives
  • The lineal descendants of an adoptee
  • The legal representative of any of the above persons

Identifying information is accessible to the following persons:

  • An adoptee who is age 21 or older
  • A birth parent or birth sibling
  • The spouse, lineal ancestor, or lineal descendant of an adoptee
  • The legal representative of any person listed above

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-133

To provide full disclosure about a child to be adopted from the guardianship of the Department of Children's Services, the department shall provide to the adoptive family the following categories of information, to the extent that they are available:

  • Historical and current health, mental health, and behavioral health information
  • Historical and current educational information
  • Nationality, ethnic background, race, and religious preference
  • Other information required for the adoptive family to evaluate its ability to provide appropriate care for the child, including daily routine, social and emotional well-being, and personality
  • Relevant information about the child's experience in foster care and reasons for coming into care
  • Pertinent prenatal and birth information, including birth date, time of birth, weight, and other physical characteristics at birth
  • A general physical description, including height, weight, hair color, eye color, and any other information related to the child's physical appearance

The department also shall provide the following categories of nonidentifying information about the child's birth or legal family, to the extent that they are available:

  • Historical and current health, mental health, and behavioral health information
  • Historical and current educational and occupational information
  • Nationality, ethnic background, race, and religious preference
  • A general physical description, including height, weight, hair color, eye color, and any other information related to the physical appearance of the child's birth or legal family

Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or require the release of information that may lead to the discovery of the identity or location of the birth or legal relatives of the child to be adopted.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-128; 36-1-129

The department shall maintain a contact veto registry for permitting registration of the willingness or unwillingness of the persons listed above for contact with persons eligible to have access to records. The registry shall contain the following information:

  • The name of each person who has filed a contact veto or who has given consent for contact
  • The address and telephone number of the person
  • The date and place of birth of the person, if known
  • Any persons whom the person who files a contact veto wishes to exclude from the application of the contact veto
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the person requesting contact
  • The method of contact, if any, to which the person consents, including contact through one or more third parties
  • Any other information that eligible parties wish to release to the other eligible parties

A person eligible to file a contact veto or give consent for contact may notify the department in writing that such person does or does not object to contact being made with such person by any person or group of persons who are eligible to establish contact.

As part of the surrender for adoption, a birth parent or guardian shall indicate whether he or she wishes to file a contact veto or give consent for further contact. By filing a contact veto, a person is entitled to notification of any inquiry requesting contact with the filing person.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-130

The original birth certificate is available to parties who have established their eligibility to have access to adoption records.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Tennessee Contact Veto Registry