Access to Adoption Records - Wisconsin

Date:

Who May Access Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 48.432; 48.433

Nonidentifying information may be provided to the following:

  • The adoptee who is age 18 years or older
  • The adoptive parent
  • The guardian or legal custodian of an adoptee
  • The offspring of an adoptee if the requester is age 18 or older
  • An agency or social worker assigned to provide services to the adoptee or place the child for adoption

Identifying information may be accessed by the adoptee who is age 18 or older.

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 48.432; 48.433

Whenever any person listed above wishes to obtain medical and genetic information about a birth parent who consented to his or her child's adoption before February 1, 1982, and the information is not on file with the Department of Children and Families or licensed child welfare agency, the person may request that the department or agency conduct a search for the birth parents to obtain the information.

If a birth parent is located but refuses to provide the information requested, the department or agency shall notify the requester without disclosing the birth parents identity or location, and the requester may petition the circuit court to order the birth parent to disclose the information. If the department or another agency that maintains records relating to the adoption receives a report from a physician stating that a birth parent or another offspring of the birth parent has acquired or may have a genetically transferable disease, the department or agency shall notify the adoptee of the existence of the disease, if he or she is age 18 or older, or notify the adoptee's guardian or adoptive parent if he or she is younger than age 18.

If the department or agency may not disclose the identifying information requested per § 48.433, it shall provide the requester with any nonidentifying social history information about either of the birth parents that it has on file.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.433

The birth parent may file an affidavit authorizing the release of any available information about the birth parent's identity and location. An affidavit may be revoked at any time by notifying the department or agency in writing.

Any person age 18 or older whose birth parent's rights have been terminated in this State or who has been adopted in this State with the consent of his or her birth parent or parents before February 1, 1982, may request the department or agency to provide the person with any available information regarding the identity and location of his or her birth parents. The requested information may be disclosed if the department or agency has on file unrevoked affidavits from both birth parents, or if one of the birth parents was unknown and the known birth parent has filed an unrevoked affidavit.

If the department or agency does not have on file an affidavit from each known birth parent, it shall, within 3 months after the date of the original request, search for each birth parent who has not filed an affidavit. If the birth parent is contacted and files an affidavit, the department shall disclose the requested information. If the birth parent does not file the affidavit, the department may not disclose the information. If, after a search, a known birth parent cannot be located, the department may disclose the requested information if the other birth parent has filed an unrevoked affidavit.

If a birth parent is known to be dead, the department or agency, in addition to any available information regarding the identity and location of the birth parents, shall provide the requester with any nonidentifying social history information about the deceased parent on file with the department or agency.

Any person age 18 or older whose birth parent's rights have been terminated in this State or who has been adopted in this State with the consent of his or her birth parent or parents before February 1, 1982, may file with the department or agency an affidavit authorizing the department or agency to provide the person's birth parent with any available information about the identity and location of the person. An affidavit filed under this subsection may be revoked at any time by notifying the department or agency in writing.

Any birth parent whose rights have been terminated in this State at any time, or who has consented to the adoption of his or her child in this State before February 1, 1982, may request the department or agency to provide him or her with any available information about the identity and location of any person age 18 or older who was or may have been his or her child. Before acting on the request, the department or agency shall require the requester to provide adequate identification.

If the department or agency has on file an unrevoked affidavit filed by a person age 18 or older who was or may have been a child of the requester, the department or agency shall disclose the information requested related to the person who filed the affidavit. In disclosing information, the department or agency may not disclose any information that would reveal the identity or location of a birth parent other than the birth parent requesting the information.

The requester may petition the court to order the release of any information that may not be disclosed under this section.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.433

Any birth parent whose rights have been terminated in this State at any time, or who has consented to the adoption of his or her child in this State before February 1, 1982, may file with the department or agency an affidavit authorizing the department or agency to provide the child with his or her original birth certificate and with any other available information about the birth parent€™s identity and location. An affidavit may be revoked at any time by notifying the department or agency in writing.

Any person age 18 or older whose birth parent's rights have been terminated in this State or who has been adopted in this State with the consent of his or her birth parent or parents before February 1, 1982, may request the department or agency to provide the person with the person's original birth certificate.

If a birth parent is known to be deceased, the department or agency shall so inform the requester. The department or agency shall provide the requester with the identity of the deceased parent. If both birth parents are known to be deceased, the department or agency shall provide the requester with his or her original birth certificate. If only one birth parent is known to be deceased, the department or agency shall provide the requester with his or her original birth certificate and any available information it has on file regarding the identity and location of the other birth parent if the other birth parent has filed an unrevoked affidavit allowing disclosure.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Adoption Records Search Program