Access to Adoption Records - Virginia

Date: December 2019

Who May Access Information

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63.2-1246; 63.2-1247

Nonidentifying information may be disclosed to the following:

  • The adoptee who is age 18 or older
  • The licensed or authorized child-placing agencies providing services to the child
  • The adoptive parents

Identifying information may be released to the following:

  • The adoptee who is age 21 or older
  • The birth parents
  • An adult birth sibling

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1246

Nonidentifying information shall not be open to inspection or be copied by anyone other than those listed above, except upon the order of a circuit court upon good cause shown.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1247

For adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 1994, the following requests for disclosure of identifying information are permitted in the following circumstances:

  • The adoptee who is age 21 or older may apply for information about the birth family.
  • The birth parents and adult birth siblings may apply for information about the adoptee.
  • When the adoptee is under age 18, the adoptive parents or other legal custodian of the child may apply for information about the birth family.

The Commissioner of Social Services shall designate the person or agency that prepared the home study to attempt to locate and advise the person whose information is sought of the application. The designated person or agency shall report the results of the attempt to locate and advise the adoptee to the commissioner, including the effects that disclosure of the identifying information may have on the adoptee, the adoptive parents, and the birth family. The adoptee and the birth family may submit to the commissioner, and the commissioner shall consider, written comments stating the effect that the disclosure of identifying information may have upon any party. Upon a showing of good cause, the commissioner shall disclose the identifying information. When consent of the person being sought is not obtainable due to death or mental incapacity, the circuit court may release identifying information to the person making the request. In making this decision, the circuit court shall consider the needs and concerns of all persons involved.

In parental placement adoptions, where the consent to the adoption was executed on or after July 1, 1994, the entire adoption record shall be open to the adoptive parents, the adoptee who is age 18 or older, and the birth parent who executed a written consent.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code § 32.1-261

Upon receipt of notice of a decision or order granting an adult adoptee access to identifying information regarding his or her birth parents from the Commissioner of Social Services or a circuit court, and proof of identification and payment, the State registrar shall mail an adult adoptee a copy of the original certificate of birth.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Virginia Department of Social Services, Adoption Disclosure