Access to Adoption Records - Washington

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Who May Access Information

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.33.340; 26.33.343

Nonidentifying information is available to the following persons:

  • An adoptive parent
  • An adoptee
  • A birth parent

Identifying information may be accessed by the following persons:

  • An adoptee who is age 21 or older, or under 21 with the permission of the adoptive parent
  • A birth parent or member of the birth parent's family after the adoptee has reached age 21

These family members shall be limited to the birth grandparents, a brother or sister of a birth parent, or the child of a birth parent. The court, for good cause shown, may allow a relative more distant in degree to petition for disclosure.

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.33.340; 26.33.380

Reasonably available nonidentifying information may be disclosed upon a written request to the persons listed above. If the adoption facilitator refuses to disclose such information, the individual may petition the superior court.

The prospective adoptive parent shall be given a family background and child and family social history report about the child. The report shall include a chronological history of the circumstances surrounding the adoptive placement and any available psychiatric reports, psychological reports, court reports pertaining to dependency or custody, or school reports. Such reports or information shall not reveal the identity of the birth parents of the child but shall contain reasonably available nonidentifying information.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.33.343; 26.33.347

Any person listed above may petition the court to appoint a confidential intermediary. The intermediary shall search for and discreetly contact the birth parent or adoptee; or, if they are not alive or cannot be located within 1 year, the intermediary may attempt to locate members of the birth parents' or adoptee's family.

If the person is located, the intermediary will ask whether the person consents to a disclosure of identifying information. If the person refuses to consent, the intermediary shall report the refusal to the court and shall refrain from further inquiry without judicial approval. If the person being sought consents to disclosure of his or her identity, the court may then order that the identifying information be released. If the person being sought is deceased, the court may order disclosure of the identity of the deceased to the petitioner.

An adoptee age 18 or older may file with the Department of Health a certified statement declaring any one or more of the following:

  • The adoptee refuses to consent to the release of any identifying information to a birth parent, birth sibling, or other birth relative and does not wish to be contacted by a confidential intermediary except in the case of a medical need.
  • The adoptee consents to the release of identifying information to a confidential intermediary, a birth parent, birth sibling, or other birth relative.
  • The adoptee desires to be contacted by his or her birth parents, birth siblings, other birth relatives, or a confidential intermediary.

An adoptee who files a certified statement may subsequently file another statement requesting to rescind or amend the prior statement.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Rev. Code § 26.33.345

A noncertified copy of the original birth certificate is available to the birth parent upon request.

For adoptions finalized after October 1, 1993, the Department of Health shall provide a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate, upon request, to an adoptee who is age 18 or older, unless the birth parent has filed an affidavit of nondisclosure before July 28, 2013, or a contact preference form that indicates he or she does not want the original birth certificate released, provided that the affidavit of nondisclosure, the contact preference form, or both have not expired.

For adoptions finalized on or before October 1, 1993, the department may not provide a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate to the adoptee until after June 30, 2014. After June 30, 2014, the department shall provide a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate upon request to an adoptee who is age 18 or older, unless the birth parent has filed a contact preference form that indicates he or she does not want the original birth certificate released, provided that the contact preference form has not expired.

An affidavit of nondisclosure expires upon the death of the birth parent.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Washington State Adoption Archives