In most States, adoption records are sealed after an adoption is finalized. The adopted person, birth parents, and adoptive parents must follow procedures established by the State to obtain identifying confidential information from the adoption records, but they may be able to obtain nonidentifying information from the agency that arranged the adoption. This section contains resources that address accessing adoption records (including original birth certificates and other vital records) in each State and obtaining adoption records for an intercountry adoption.
Access to Adoption Records
FAQ: Original Birth Certificates
Adoptee Rights Law Center
Describes when original birth certificates are sealed in the adoption process and the States that have restricted, compromised, or unrestricted rights of access for adults who were adopted.
How to Open Adoption Records
Explains what information is available in a sealed adoption record and the process for unsealing additional information.
National Foster Care and Adoption Directory Search
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Enables users to search for reunion registries and confidential intermediaries by State.
State Adoption Legislation
American Adoption Congress
Summarizes State legislation related to original birth certificate access, including any related fees and stipulations.
Where to Write for Vital Records
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Lists the mailing addresses for obtaining vital records that can aid in searching for birth families.
Obtaining adoption records for an intercountry adoption
Services for Adults
International Social Service USA
Manages cases that are referred from an agency or individual in the United States that need a service in a foreign country, including searches for biological relatives and locating adoption records for an adult adoptee.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Provides a list of forms that can be downloaded and printed pertaining to various intercountry adoption needs, including form G-884: Return of Original Documents.