Original Birth Certificates. Arkansas is a Compromised State. While Arkansas-born adopted people may request and receive a copy of their original birth certificates and the adoption decree (together these are defined as the “adoption file”), birthparents may redact their names from the records. The adopted person must be at least 21 years of age to request the adoption file.
Cost/Fees. The fee to obtain your own adoption file in Arkansas is $100, which is more than eight times the cost that non-adopted people pay to obtain their own birth records in the state.
Contact Preference Form. A birth parent may file a separate contact preference form at any time; unlike a separate form that gives birthparents the right to redact information from the adoptee’s records, the contact preference form is a separate form and does not affect the release of the birth record.
Court Records. Court records are sealed and unavailable except through a court order. Good cause must be shown in order to obtain the release of any adoption court records.
Descendant Rights. A child or the surviving spouse of an adopted person may request a copy of the adoption file if the adopted person is deceased. In addition, Arkansas birth records are available “without restriction” to the public 100 years after the date of the person’s birth.
Adoption Registry. Identifying information in Arkansas may be pursued through the use of the adoption agency or a state-operated mutual consent registry, which requires mandatory counseling before a search or match may be made. Without the mutual consent of parties to share information, a court order is required. A court order will be issued only if the person seeking information demonstrates clear and convincing evidence that good cause exists for the inspection of documents in the registry.
Adult Adoption. Arkansas law provides for the adoption of adults, which requires the consent of the adopted person and the adopted person’s spouse if married.
Arkansas Law: Vital Records and Birth Certificates
Relevant parts of Arkansas vital records law. Arkansas uses a proprietary service to maintain its online statutes, which makes it nearly impossible to link to specific statutory sections. The entire Arkansas vital records statute is available through this link to Lexis-Nexis.
(1)(A) The State Registrar of Vital Records and other custodians of vital records designated by the state registrar under § 20-18-203(b)(2) shall upon receipt of written application issue a certified copy of a vital record in their custody or a part thereof to the registrant, his or her spouse, child, parent, or guardian or his or her respective authorized designated representative.
(B) A requester as defined in § 9-9-801 is authorized to obtain a certified copy of an adoptee’s original certificate of birth.
(C) Others may be authorized to obtain certified copies when they demonstrate that the vital record is needed for the determination or protection of their personal or property rights.
(D) The State Board of Health may adopt rules to further define those who may obtain copies of vital records filed under this chapter;
(2) All forms and procedures used in the issuance of certified copies of vital records in the state shall be uniform and approved by the state registrar. All certified copies issued shall have security features that deter persons from altering, counterfeiting, duplicating, or simulating the document;
(3) Each copy or abstract issued shall show the date of registration and copies or abstracts issued from records marked “Delayed”, “Amended”, or “Certificate of Foreign Birth” shall be similarly marked and show the effective date;
(4) A certified copy or other copy of a death certificate containing cause-of-death information shall not be issued except as follows:
(A) Upon specific request of a spouse, child, parent, or other next of kin of the decedent or an authorized representative;
(B) When a documented need for the cause of death to establish a legal right or claim has been demonstrated;
(C) When the request for the copy is made by or on the behalf of an organization that provides benefits to the decedent’s survivors or beneficiaries;
(D) Upon specific request by local, state, or federal agencies for research or administrative purposes approved by the state registrar;
(E) When needed for research activities approved by the state registrar; or
(F) Upon receipt of an order from a court of competent jurisdiction ordering the release;
(5) A certified copy of a vital record or any part thereof issued in accordance with subdivision (1) of this section shall be considered for all purposes the same as the original and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein, provided that the evidentiary value of a certificate or vital record filed more than one (1) year after the event, or a vital record which has been amended, or a certificate of foreign birth shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered as evidence;
(6) The federal agency responsible for national vital statistics may be furnished such copies or data from the system of vital statistics as it may require for national statistics. The state registrar shall enter into an agreement with the federal agency that specifies the statistical or research purposes for which the records, reports, or data may be used. The agreement shall also set forth the support to be provided by the federal agency for the collection, processing, and transmission of such records, reports, or data. Upon written request of the federal agency, the state registrar may approve in writing additional statistical or research uses of the records, reports, or data supplied under the agreement;
(7) Upon request, federal, state, local, and other public government agencies may be furnished copies of records, reports, or data, provided that the copies or data shall be used solely in the conduct of their official duties;
(8)(A)(i) By agreement, the state registrar may transmit copies of records and other reports required by this chapter to offices of vital statistics outside this state when the records or other reports relate to residents of those jurisdictions or persons born in those jurisdictions.
(ii) The agreement shall require that the transcripts be used for statistical and administrative purposes only as specified in the agreement.
(iii) The agreement shall provide instruction for the proper retention and disposition of copies.
(B) Copies received from other jurisdictions by the Division of Vital Records shall be handled in the same manner as prescribed in this subdivision (8);
(9) When one hundred (100) years have elapsed after the date of birth or fifty (50) years have elapsed after the date of death, marriage, divorce, or annulment, the records of these events in the custody of the state registrar shall become available to the public without restriction, in accordance with rules which shall provide for the continued safekeeping of the records;
(10) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit disclosure of information contained in the “Information for Medical and Health Use Only” section of the birth certificate or the “Information for Statistical Purposes Only” section of the certificate of marriage or certificate of divorce or annulment, unless specifically authorized by the state registrar for statistical or research purposes;
(11) No person shall prepare or issue any certificate which purports to be an original, certified copy, or copy of a vital record except as authorized in this chapter or rules adopted pursuant to this chapter; and
(12) When the state registrar receives information that a certificate may have been registered through fraud or misrepresentation, he or she shall withhold issuance of any copy of that certificate pending an administrative hearing to determine whether fraud or misrepresentation has occurred. The state registrar shall offer the registrant or the registrant’s authorized representative notice and opportunity to be heard. If upon conclusion of the hearing no fraud or misrepresentation is found, copies may be issued. If upon conclusion of the hearing, fraud or misrepresentation is found, the state registrar shall remove the certificate from the file. The certificate and evidence shall be retained but shall not be subject to inspection or copying, except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or by the state registrar for purposes of administering the vital statistics program.
a) The State Registrar of Vital Records shall establish a new certificate of birth for a person born in this state when he or she receives the following:
(1) A certificate of adoption as provided in § 9-9-219, or a certificate of adoption prepared and filed in accordance with the laws of another state or foreign country, or a certified copy of the decree of adoption, together with the information necessary to identify the original certificate of birth and to establish a new certificate of birth. However, a new certificate of birth shall not be established if so requested by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person; or
(2) A request that a new certificate be established and any evidence, as required by regulation, proving that the person has been legitimated, or that a court of competent jurisdiction has determined the paternity of the person or that both parents have acknowledged the paternity of the person and request that the surname be changed from that shown on the original certificate.
(b) When a new certificate of birth is established, the actual city or county, or both, and date of birth shall be shown. The new certificate shall be substituted for the original certificate of birth. Thereafter, the original certificate and the evidence of adoption, paternity determination, or legitimation shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of an Arkansas court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by rule or under § 9-9-803.
(c) Upon receipt of a report of an amended certificate of adoption, the certificate of birth shall be amended as provided by regulation.
(d) Upon receipt of a report of annulment of adoption, the original certificate of birth shall be restored to its place in the files, and the new certificate and evidence shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by regulation.
(e) Upon written request of both parents and receipt of a sworn acknowledgment of paternity signed by both parents of a child born out of wedlock, the state registrar shall reflect paternity on the certificate of birth in the manner prescribed by regulation if paternity is not already shown on the certificate of birth.
(f) (1) Upon request, the state registrar shall prepare and register an Arkansas certificate of birth for a person born in a foreign country, who is not a citizen of the United States, and for whom a final order of adoption has been entered in a court of competent jurisdiction in Arkansas when he or she receives the following:
(A) A certificate of adoption as provided in § 9-9-219;
(B) Proof of the date and place of the adopted child’s birth; and
(C) A request by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person if eighteen (18) years of age or older.
(2) After preparation of the birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person, the state registrar shall seal and file the certificate of adoption. This certificate shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by regulation or as otherwise provided by state law.
(3) The birth certificate shall show the actual foreign country of birth and shall state that the certificate is not evidence of United States citizenship for the child for whom it is issued.
(g) If no certificate of birth is on file for the person for whom a new birth certificate is to be established under this section and the date and place of birth have not been determined in the adoption or paternity proceedings, a delayed certificate of birth shall be filed with the state registrar as provided in § 20-18-402 or § 20-18-403 before a new certificate of birth is established. The new certificate of birth shall be prepared on the delayed birth certificate form.
(h) When a new certificate of birth is established by the state registrar, all copies of the original certificate of birth in the custody of any other custodian of vital records in this state shall be sealed from inspection or forwarded to the state registrar as he or she shall direct.
Arkansas Law: Adoption File
Relevant portions of Arkansas law related to requests for an adopted person’s adoption file. Arkansas uses a proprietary service to maintain its online statutes, which makes it nearly impossible to link to specific statutory sections. The entire Arkansas code, including this title, is available through this link to Lexis-Nexis.
Section 9-9-801. Definitions
As used in this subchapter:
(1) “Adoption file” means a file maintained by the Department of Health that contains an original birth certificate and adoption decree of an adoptee;
(2) “Genetic and social history” has the same meaning as provided under § 9-9-501; and
(3) “Requester” means a person twenty-one (21) years of age or older who requests an adoption file under § 9-9-803 and is:
(A) The adoptee to whom the adoption file requested pertains; or
(B) The child, surviving spouse, or guardian of any child of a deceased adoptee to whom the adoption file requested pertains.
Section 9-9-802. Birth parent redaction request and contact preference forms
(a)(1)(A) The Department of Health shall create and make available on its website:
(i) A form that a birth parent may use to have his or her name redacted from the copy of an adoption file that a requester receives under § 9-9-803; and
(ii) A form that a birth parent may use to specify if a requester may contact the birth parent and the preferred manner by which a requester may contact the birth parent.
(B) The department shall make hard copies of the forms required under subdivision (a)(1) of this section available to the public.
(2) The form required under subdivision (a)(1)(A)(i) of this section shall include the following:
(A) Information about the procedures and requirements for a birth parent to have the form:
(i) Placed in the adoption file of the birth parent’s offspring so that the birth parent’s name is redacted from the copy of the adoption file that a requester receives under section § 9-9-803; and
(ii) Removed from the adoption file of the birth parent’s offspring so that the birth parent’s name is included in the copy of the adoption file that a requester receives under section § 9-9-803;
(B) The information needed by the department to identify the adoption file of the adoptee named on a form submitted under subdivisions (a)(2)(A)(i) and (ii) of this section;
(C) An attestation by the birth parent that he or she is the birth parent of the adoptee named on the form submitted under subdivisions (a)(2)(A)(i) and (ii) of this section; and
(D) Any other information required by the department.
(3) The form required under subdivision (a)(1)(A)(ii) of this section shall include the following:
(A) Information about the procedures and requirements for a birth parent to have the form:
(i) Placed in the adoption file of the birth parent’s offspring; and
(ii) Removed from the adoption file of the birth parent’s offspring and replaced with an updated form;
(B) A section in which a birth parent may indicate whether a requester may:
(i) Directly contact the birth parent;
(ii) Contact the birth parent through an intermediary specified by the birth parent; or
(iii) Not contact the birth parent directly or through an intermediary;
(C) The information needed by the department to identify the adoption file of the adoptee named on the form submitted under subdivisions (a)(3)(A)(i) and (ii) of this section;
(D) Notification that a form submitted under subdivisions (a)(3)(A)(i) and (ii) of this section is advisory and unenforceable;
(E) An attestation by the birth parent that he or she is the birth parent of the adoptee named on a form submitted under subdivisions (a)(3)(A)(i) and (ii) of this section; and
(F) Any other information required by the department.
(b) The department shall accept a form submitted under this section if:
(1) The form is notarized;
(2) The birth parent submits satisfactory proof of his or her identity as determined by the rules of the department;
(3)(A) The birth parent completes, corrects, or expands his or her genetic or social history.
(B) A completed, corrected, or expanded genetic or social history under subdivision (b)(3)(A) of this section is required if the birth parent’s genetic or social history:
(i) Was not previously compiled; or
(ii) Was compiled but needs to be corrected or expanded; and
(4) A completed form submitted under this section at least substantially complies with the requirements of this section.
(c) The department shall not accept a form provided under this section that is completed and submitted by a birth parent for another birth parent.
(d) The department shall place a form submitted under this section in the adoption file of the adoptee named on the form if:
(1) The requirements of subsection (b) of this section are substantially met; and
(2) The adoption file concerns the adoptee named on the form.
(e)(1) Upon accepting a form submitted under subdivision (a)(2)(A)(ii) of this section, the department shall remove a form submitted under subdivision (a)(2)(A)(i) of this section from the adoption file of the adoptee named on the form.
(2) Upon accepting an updated form submitted under subdivision (a)(3)(A)(ii) of this section, the department shall remove a form submitted under subdivision (a)(3)(A)(i) of this section from the adoption file and place the updated form in the adoption file.
(f) The department shall maintain an electronic copy and destroy the hard copy of a form removed from an adoption file under subsection (d) of this section.
Section 9-9-803. Access to adoption file
(a) Beginning one (1) year after the effective date of this act, a requester may submit a written request for a copy of an adoption file from the Department of Health.
(b)(1) A request submitted under this section shall include the requester’s address and notarized signature and satisfactory proof of the requester’s identity as determined by the department.
(2) If the requester is the child, widow or widower, or guardian of any child of the deceased adoptee to whom the adoption file pertains, the requester shall also provide notarized documentation evidencing the requester’s relationship to the adoptee.
(c)(1) Upon receipt of a request made under subsection (a) of this section, the department shall mail the adoption file to the requester at the address provided in the request.
(2) If an adoption file contains a form submitted under § 9-9-802(a)(2)(A)(i), the department shall redact the birth parent’s name from the copy of the adoption file before it is mailed to the requester.
(3) If a form under § 9-9-802(a)(2)(A)(ii) is submitted after a copy of the adoption file is mailed to the requester, the department shall mail the requester another copy of the adoption file with the birth parent’s name included in the adoption file within thirty (30) days of the date the form was removed.
(4) Before mailing a requester an adoption file under subdivision (c)(1) of this section, the department shall mark the certified copy of the original birth certificate contained in the adoption file as not intended for official use or similar.
(d) The department shall mail a requester an adoption file by certified mail, return receipt requested.
(e)(1) If an adoption file contains a form submitted under § 9-9-802(a)(3)(A)(i) and (ii), the department shall include the form in the adoption file mailed to a requester.
(2) A form included in the adoption file under this subsection shall be redacted in accordance with subdivision (c)(2) of this section.
(f)(1) The department may charge a requester a fee of one hundred dollars ($100) for the department’s provision of the adoption file requested.
(2) The department may change the amount of the fee charged to a requester under subdivision (f)(1) of this section in accordance with the department’s rules.
Section 9-9-804. Immunity.
An officer or employee of the Department of Health who releases any information contained in an adoption file or provides a copy of an adoption file to a requester is not criminally liable or civilly liable in damages to any person for injury, death, or loss allegedly arising from the release of the information or copy if the officer or employee releases the information or copy in accordance with § 9-9-803.
Arkansas Law: Court Records
Relevant portions of Arkansas law related to court proceedings and records. Arkansas uses a proprietary service to maintain its online statutes, which makes it nearly impossible to link to specific statutory sections. The entire Arkansas code, including this title, is available through this link to Lexis-Nexis.
Section 9-9-217. Confidentiality of hearings and records
(a) Notwithstanding any other law concerning public hearings and records:
(1)(A) All hearings held in proceedings under this subchapter shall be held in closed court without admittance of any person other than essential officers of the court, the parties, their witnesses, counsel, persons who have not previously consented to the adoption but are required to consent, and representatives of the agencies present to perform their official duties.
(B)(i) A member of the General Assembly may attend an adoption hearing related to a juvenile case that is held under the Arkansas Juvenile Code of 1989, § 9-27-301 et seq., unless the court excludes the member of the General Assembly based on the:
(a) Best interest of the child; or
(b) Court’s authority under the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure or the Arkansas Rules of Evidence.
(ii) Except as otherwise provided by law, a member of the General Assembly who attends a hearing in accordance with subdivision (a)(1)(B)(i) of this section shall not disclose information obtained during his or her attendance at the hearing.
(C)(i)(a) A Child Welfare Ombudsman may attend an adoption hearing related to a juvenile case under the Arkansas Juvenile Code of 1989, § 9-27-301 et seq.
(b) However, a court may exclude the Child Welfare Ombudsman from an adoption hearing if:
(1) It is in the best interest of the child; or
(2) The reason for the exclusion is based on the authority of the court under the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure or the Arkansas Rules of Evidence.
(ii) Unless otherwise allowed by law, the Child Welfare Ombudsman shall not disclose information that he or she obtains through his or her attendance at an adoption hearing held under this subchapter; and
(2)(A) Adoption records shall be closed, confidential, and sealed unless authority to open them is provided by law or by order of the court for good cause shown.
(B)(i) When an adoption is filed or heard pursuant to the Arkansas Juvenile Code of 1989, § 9-27-301 et seq., any portion of the court file relating to the adoption shall be maintained separately from the file of other pending juvenile matters concerning the juvenile who is the subject of the adoption or the family of the juvenile.
(ii) Once final disposition is made in the adoption proceedings, the adoption file shall be transferred from the clerk who is the custodian of juvenile records to the clerk who is the custodian of records.
(iii) The entry of the adoption decree will be entered by the clerk in the book containing adoption records.
(iv) The clerk shall assign the file a docket number, shall prepare an application for a new birth record as provided in this section, and shall maintain the file as if the case had originated as an adoption case.
(v) No filing fee shall be assessed by the clerk upon the transfer and creation of the new adoption file.
(vi) Any adoption record shall be handled as provided in this section.
(C)(i) In the event an adoption record is randomly selected to be audited for determination of compliance with requirements found in federal laws pertaining to periodic and dispositional review of foster care cases, the Administrator of Adoptions of the Department of Human Services is authorized to open the file notwithstanding any section in this subchapter prohibiting disclosure of adoption records.
(ii) It shall be the responsibility of the administrator to procure and provide from this file all records pertinent to the federal requirements under review.
(iii) The remainder of the record shall remain sealed. Such portions of the record that may be removed shall be returned to the sealed file upon completion of the federal audit.
(iv) No one shall be permitted to review the removed portion of the record except in an official capacity, and, except for uses required by the federal audit in compliance with state laws and rules and federal statutes and regulations, such a person shall be bound to keep the contents of such records confidential.
(D)(i) In the event the department has the opportunity to enhance its federal funding by a review of its adoptions records, then the administrator is authorized to open such files notwithstanding any section in this subchapter.
(ii) It shall be the responsibility of the administrator to procure and provide from this file all records pertinent to the review.
(iii) The remainder of the record shall remain sealed.
(iv) The portion of the record that may be removed shall be returned to the sealed file upon completion of the review.
(v) No one shall be permitted to review the removed portion of the record except in an official capacity, and, except for uses required to provide for the enhancement of possible federal funding in compliance with state laws and rules and federal statutes and regulations, such a person shall be bound to keep the contents of such records confidential.
(E)(i) In the event that an adoptive family contacts the department and indicates a desire for the placement of a subsequent child and no more than five (5) years have lapsed since the adoption file has been sealed, the department is authorized to unseal the adoption file notwithstanding any section in this subchapter.
(ii) It shall be the responsibility of the administrator to remove the home study from the file and make a copy of the home study.
(iii) The remainder of the file shall remain sealed.
(iv) The administrator shall return the home study to the file, which shall then be resealed.
(v) The department shall be permitted to use a copy of the original home study.
(vi) The adoptive family shall be permitted to use a copy of the original home study with a petition to adopt a subsequent child from the department if the original home study is accompanied by an update.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the disclosure of information pursuant to § 9-9-501 et seq.
(c) All papers and records pertaining to adoptions prior to May 19, 1986, are declared to be confidential and shall be subject to disclosure only pursuant to this section.
(d)(1) All records of any adoption finalized in this state shall be maintained for ninety-nine (99) years by the agency, person, entity, or organization that handled the adoption.
(2) If the agency, person, entity, or organization that handled the adoption ceases to function, all adoption records shall be transferred to the department or another licensed agency within this state with notice to the department.
Arkansas Law: Mutual Consent Registry
Relevant portions of Arkansas law related to identifying information and the mutual consent registry. Arkansas uses a proprietary service to maintain its online statutes, which makes it nearly impossible to link to specific statutory sections. The entire Arkansas code, including this title, is available through this link to Lexis-Nexis.
Section 9-9-501. Definitions
As used in this subchapter:
(1) “Administrator” means the person charged with maintenance and supervision of a registry and may include the administrator’s agents, employees, and designees;
(2) “Adoptee” means a person who has been legally adopted in this state;
(3) “Adoption” means the judicial act of creating the relationship of parent and child when it did not exist previously;
(4) “Adoptive parent” means an adult who has become a parent of a child through the legal process of adoption;
(5) “Adult” means a person eighteen (18) or more years of age;
(6) “Agency” means any public or voluntary organization licensed or approved pursuant to the laws of any jurisdiction within the United States to place children for adoption;
(7) “Birth parent” means:
(A) The man or woman deemed or adjudicated under laws of a jurisdiction of the United States to be the father or mother of genetic origin of a child; or
(B)(i) A putative father of a child if his name appears on the original sealed birth certificate of the child or if he has been alleged by the birth mother to be and has in writing acknowledged being the child’s biological father.
(ii) A putative father who has denied or refused to admit paternity shall be deemed not to be a birth parent in the absence of an adjudication under the laws of a jurisdiction of the United States that he is the biological father of the child;
(8) “Genetic and social history” means a comprehensive report, when obtainable, on the birth parents, siblings of the birth parents, if any, other children of either birth parent, if any, and any parents of the birth parents, that shall contain the following information:
(A) Medical history;
(B) Health status;
(C) Cause of and age at death;
(D) Height, weight, eye color, and hair color;
(E) When appropriate, levels of educational and professional achievement;
(F) Ethnic origins; and
(G) Religion, if any;
(9) “Health history” means a comprehensive report of the child’s health status at the time of placement for adoption and medical history, including neonatal, psychological, physiological, and medical care history;
(10) “Mutual consent voluntary adoption registry” or “registry” means a place provided for in this subchapter where eligible persons may indicate their willingness to have their identity and whereabouts disclosed to each other under conditions specified in this subchapter; and
(11) “Putative father” means any man not deemed or adjudicated under the laws of the jurisdiction of the United States to be the father of genetic origin of a child who claims or is alleged to be the father of genetic origin of the child.
Section 9-9-502. Penalty
(a) (1) No person, agency, entity, or organization of any kind, including, but not limited to, any officer or employee of this state and any employee, officer, or judge of any court of this state shall disclose any confidential information relating to any adoption, except as provided by statute or pursuant to a court order.
(2) Any employer who knowingly or negligently allows any employee to disclose information in violation of this subchapter shall be subject to the penalties provided in subsection (b) of this section, together with the employee who made any disclosure prohibited by this subchapter.
(b) Any person, agency, entity, or organization of any kind that discloses information in violation of this subchapter shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
Section 9-9-503. Registry—Establishment and maintenance
(a) (1) A mutual consent voluntary adoption registry may be established and maintained by any licensed voluntary agency involved in an adoption.
(2) Persons eligible to receive identifying information shall work through the agency involved in the adoption. If that agency has merged or ceased operations, a successor agency may assume possession of the files for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, and operating the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry concerning those adoptions.
(3) Any licensed voluntary agency may delegate or otherwise contract with another licensed voluntary agency with expertise in post-legal adoption services to establish, maintain, and operate the registry for the delegating agency.
(4) If any agency ceasing to operate does not transfer adoption records to another licensed agency, it shall provide all records required to be maintained by law to the Department of Human Services.
(b) The department shall establish and maintain a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry for all adoptions arranged by the department or may contract out the function of establishing and maintaining the registry to a licensed voluntary agency with expertise in providing postlegal adoption services, in which case the agency shall establish and maintain the registry that would otherwise be operated by the department.
(c) The department shall keep records of every adult adoptee and birth parent reunited through the use of the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry.
Section 9-9-504. Registry—Operation
(a) (1) The adult adoptee and each birth parent and each individual related within the second degree whose identity is to be disclosed may voluntarily place his or her name in the appropriate registry by submitting a notarized affidavit stating his or her name, address, and telephone number and his or her willingness to be identified solely to the other relevant persons who register.
(2) No registration shall be accepted until the prospective registrant submits satisfactory proof of his or her identity in accord with rules specified in § 9-9-508.
(3) The failure to file a notarized affidavit with the registry for any reason, except death, shall preclude the disclosure of identifying information to those persons who do register.
(b) (1) (A) Upon registering, the registrant shall participate in not less than one (1) hour of counseling with a social worker employed by the entity that operates the registry. If a birth parent or adult adoptee is domiciled outside the state, he or she shall obtain counseling from a social worker employed by a licensed agency in that other state selected by the entity that operates the registry.
(B) If a birth parent or adult adoptee is domiciled outside the state, he or she shall obtain counseling from a social worker employed by a licensed agency in that other state selected by the entity that operates the registry.
(2) When an eligible person registers concerning an adoption that was arranged through an agency that has not merged or otherwise ceased operations, and that same agency is not operating the registry, the entity operating the registry shall notify, by certified mail within ten (10) business days after the date of registration, the agency that handled the adoption.
(c) In any case in which the identity of the birth father was unknown to the birth mother, or in which the administrator learns that one (1) or both birth parents are deceased, this information shall be shared with the adult adoptee. In those cases, the adoptee shall not be able to obtain identifying information through the registry, and he or she shall be told of his or her right to pursue whatever right otherwise exists by law to petition a court to release the identifying information.
(d) The following shall be matching and disclosure procedures:
(1) Each mutual consent voluntary adoption registry shall be operated under the direction of an administrator;
(2) The administrator shall be bound by the confidentiality requirements of this subchapter and shall be permitted reasonable access to the registry for the purposes set forth in this subchapter and for such purposes as may be necessary for the proper administration of the registry;
(3) A person eligible to register may request the administrator to disclose identifying information by filing an affidavit that sets forth the following:
(A) The current name and address of the affiant;
(B) Any previous name by which the affiant was known;
(C) The original and adopted names, if known, of the adopted child;
(D) The place and date of birth of the adopted child; and
(E) (i) The name and address of the adoption agency or other entity, organization, or person placing the adopted child, if known.
(ii) The affiant shall notify the registry of any change in name or location which occurs subsequent to his or her filing the affidavit.
(iii) The registry shall have no duty to search for the affiant who fails to register his or her most recent address;
(4) (A) The administrator of the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry shall process each affidavit in an attempt to match the adult adoptee and the birth parents or individuals related within the second degree. The processing shall include research from agency records, when available, and when agency records are not available, research from court records to determine conclusively whether the affiants match.
(B) The processing shall include research from agency records, when available, and when agency records are not available, research from court records to determine conclusively whether the affiants match;
(5) The administrator shall determine that there is a match when the adult adoptee and a birth parent or individual related within the second degree have filed affidavits with the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry and have each received the counseling required in subsection (b) of this section; and
(6) (A) An agency receiving an assignment of a match under the provisions of this subchapter shall directly or by contract with a licensed adoption agency in this state notify all registrants through a direct and confidential contact.
(B) The contact shall be made by an employee or agent of the agency receiving the assignment.
(C) The employee or agent shall be a trained social worker who has expertise in postlegal adoption services.
(e) (1) Any affidavits filed and other information collected shall be retained for ninety-nine (99) years following the date of registration.
(2) Any qualified person may choose to remove his or her name from the registry at any time by filing a notarized affidavit with the registry.
(f) (1) A mutual consent voluntary adoption registry shall obtain only information necessary for identifying registrants.
(2) In no event shall the registry obtain information of any kind pertaining to the adoptive parents or any siblings to the adult adoptee who are children of the adoptive parents.
(g) All costs for establishing and maintaining a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry shall be obtained through users’ fees charged to all persons who register.
(h) Beginning January 1, 2002, the Department of Human Services shall place the affidavit form for placement on the mutual adoption registry on the department’s website.
Section 9-9-505. Compilation of nonidentifying history
(a) Prior to placement for adoption, the licensed adoption agency or, when an agency is not involved, the person, entity, or organization handling the adoption shall compile and provide to the prospective adoptive parents a detailed, written health history and genetic and social history of the child that excludes information that would identify birth parents or members of a birth parent’s family and that shall be set forth in a document that is separate from any document containing such identifying information.
(b) Records containing the nonidentifying information and that are set forth on a document that is separate from any document containing identifying data:
(1)(A) Shall be retained by the agency or, when no agency is involved, by the person, entity, or organization handling the adoption, for ninety-nine (99) years.
(B)(i) If the agency or person, entity, or organization who handled the adoption ceases to function, that agency or intermediary shall transfer records containing the nonidentifying information on the adoptee to the Department of Human Services.
(ii) However, a licensed agency ceasing operation may transfer the records to another licensed agency within this state, but only if the agency transferring the records gives notice of the transfer to the department; and
(2) Shall be available upon request throughout the time specified in subdivision (b)(1) of this section, together with any additional nonidentifying information that may have been added on health or on genetic and social history, but which excludes information identifying any birth parent or member of a birth parent’s family or the adoptee or any adoptive parent of the adoptee, to the following persons only:
(A) The adoptive parents of the child or, in the event of death of the adoptive parents, the child’s guardian;
(B) The adoptee;
(C) In the event of the death of the adoptee, the adoptee’s children, the adoptee’s widow or widower, or the guardian of any child of the adoptee;
(D) The birth parent of the adoptee; and
(E) Any child welfare agency having custody of the adoptee.
(c) The actual and reasonable cost of providing nonidentifying health history and genetic and social history shall be paid by the person requesting the information.
Section 9-9-506. Disclosure of information
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the information acquired by any registry shall not be disclosed under any sunshine or freedom of information legislation, rules, or practice.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person, group of persons, or entity, including any agency, may file a class action to force the registry to disclose identifying information.
(c) In exceptional circumstances, specified papers and records pertaining to particular adoptions may be inspected by the adoptee, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents if the court granting the adoption finds by clear and convincing evidence that good cause exists for the inspection.
Arkansas Law: Adoption Generally
Relevant portions of Arkansas adoption law. Arkansas uses a proprietary service to maintain its online statutes, which makes it nearly impossible to link to specific statutory sections. The entire Arkansas adoption statute is available through this link to Lexis-Nexis.
Section 9-9-203. Who may be adopted
Any individual may be adopted.
Section 9-9-204. Who may adopt
The following individuals may adopt:
(1) A husband and wife together although one (1) or both are minors;
(2) An unmarried adult;
(3) The unmarried father or mother of the individual to be adopted;
(4) A married individual without the other spouse joining as a petitioner, if the individual to be adopted is not his or her spouse; and if:
(i) The other spouse is a parent of the individual to be adopted and consents to the adoption;
(ii) The petitioner and the other spouse are legally separated; or
(iii) The failure of the other spouse to join in the petition or to consent to the adoption is excused by the court by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent.
Section 9-9-206. Persons required to consent to adoption — Consideration for relinquishing minor for adoption
(a) Unless consent is not required under § 9-9-207, a petition to adopt a minor may be granted only if written consent to a particular adoption has been executed by:
(1) The mother of the minor;
(2) The father of the minor if:
(A) The father was married to the mother at the time the minor was conceived or at any time thereafter;
(B) The minor is his child by adoption;
(C) He has physical custody of the minor at the time the petition is filed;
(D) He has a written order granting him legal custody of the minor at the time the petition for adoption is filed;
(E) A court has adjudicated him to be the legal father prior to the time the petition for adoption is filed;
(F) He proves a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship existed with the minor before the petition for adoption is filed; or
(G) He has acknowledged paternity under § 9-10-120(a);
(3) Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor or empowered to consent;
(4) The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor, if the legal guardian or custodian of the person of the minor is not empowered to consent to the adoption;
(5) The minor, if more than twelve (12) years of age, unless the court in the best interest of the minor dispenses with the minor’s consent; and
(6) The spouse of the minor to be adopted.
(b) A petition to adopt an adult may be granted only if written consent to adoption has been executed by the adult and the adult’s spouse.
(c) Under no circumstances may a parent or guardian of a minor receive a fee, compensation, or any other thing of value as a consideration for the relinquishment of a minor for adoption. However, incidental costs for prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care may be assessed, including reasonable housing costs, food, clothing, general maintenance, and medical expenses, if they are reimbursements for expenses incurred or fees for services rendered. Any parent or guardian who unlawfully accepts compensation or any other thing of value as a consideration for the relinquishment of a minor shall be guilty of a Class C felony.
Section 9-9-207. Persons as to whom consent not required
(a) Consent to adoption is not required of:
(1) a parent who has deserted a child without affording means of identification or who has abandoned a child;
(2) a parent of a child in the custody of another, if the parent for a period of at least one (1) year has failed significantly without justifiable cause (i) to communicate with the child or (ii) to provide for the care and support of the child as required by law or judicial decree;
(3) the father of a minor if the father’s consent is not required by § 9-9-206(a)(2);
(4) a parent who has relinquished his or her right to consent under § 9-9-220;
(5) a parent whose parental rights have been terminated by order of court under § 9-9-220 or § 9-27-341;
(6) a parent judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective if the court dispenses with the parent’s consent;
(7) any parent of the individual to be adopted, if the individual is an adult;
(8) any legal guardian or lawful custodian of the individual to be adopted, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of sixty (60) days or who, after examination of his or her written reasons for withholding consent, is found by the court to be withholding his or her consent unreasonably;
(9) the spouse of the individual to be adopted, if the failure of the spouse to consent to the adoption is excused by the court by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent;
(10) a putative father of a minor who signed an acknowledgement of paternity but who failed to establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the juvenile prior to the time the petition for adoption is filed; or
(11) a putative father of a minor who is listed on the Putative Father Registry but who failed to establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the juvenile prior to the time the petition for adoption is filed.
(b) Except as provided in §§ 9-9-212 and 9-9-224, notice of a hearing on a petition for adoption need not be given to a person whose consent is not required or to a person whose consent or relinquishment has been filed with the petition.
Section 9-9-209. Withdrawal of consent
(a) A consent to adoption cannot be withdrawn after the entry of a decree of adoption.
(b)(1)(A) A natural person may withdraw his or her consent to adopt within ten (10) calendar days, or, if a waiver of the ten-day period is elected under subdivision (b)(3) of this section, five (5) calendar days after the consent to adopt is signed or the child is born, whichever is later, by filing an affidavit with the probate division clerk of the circuit court in the county designated by the consent as the county in which the guardianship petition will be filed, if there is a guardianship, or where the petition for adoption will be filed, if there is no guardianship.
(B)(i) If the ten-day period, or, if a waiver of the ten-day period is elected under subdivision (b)(3) of this section, the five-day period ends on a weekend or a legal holiday, the natural person may file the affidavit the next working day.
(ii) No fee shall be charged for the filing of the affidavit.
(2) If a natural person is consenting to the adoption, the consent shall state that the person has the right of withdrawal of consent and shall provide the address of the probate division clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the guardianship will be filed, if there is a guardianship, or where the petition for adoption will be filed, if there is no guardianship.
(3) If a natural person is consenting to the adoption, the consent shall state that the person may waive the ten-day period for the withdrawal of consent for an adoption and elect to limit the maximum time for the withdrawal of consent for an adoption to five (5) days.
(c)(1) The court may excuse the period for filing a withdrawal of consent under subsection (b) of this section for a biological parent if a stepparent is adopting.
(2) The period for filing a withdrawal of consent under subsection (b) of this section does not apply to:
(A) An agency as defined in § 9-9-202; or
(B) A minor:
(i) Who is over twelve (12) years of age; and
(ii) Whose consent to adoption is required.
Section 9-9-215. Effect of decree of adoption
(a) A final decree of adoption and an interlocutory decree of adoption which has become final, whether issued by a court of this state or of any other place, have the following effect as to matters within the jurisdiction or before a court of this state:
(1) Except with respect to a spouse of the petitioner and relatives of the spouse, to relieve the biological parents of the adopted individual of all parental rights and responsibilities, and to terminate all legal relationships between the adopted individual and his or her biological relatives, including his or her biological parents, so that the adopted individual thereafter is a stranger to his or her former relatives for all purposes. This includes inheritance and the interpretation or construction of documents, statutes, and instruments, whether executed before or after the adoption is decreed, which do not expressly include the individual by name or by some designation not based on a parent and child or blood relationship. However, in cases where a biological or adoptive parent dies before a petition for adoption has been filed by a step-parent of the minor to be adopted the court may grant visitation rights to the parents of the deceased biological or adoptive parent of the child if such parents of the deceased biological or adoptive parent had a close relationship with the child prior to the filing of a petition for step-parent adoption, and if such visitation rights are in the best interests of the child. The foregoing provision shall not apply to the parents of a deceased putative father who has not legally established his paternity prior to the filing of a petition for adoption by a step-parent. For the purposes of this section, “step-parent” means an individual who is the spouse or surviving spouse of the biological or adoptive parent of a child but who is not a biological or adoptive parent of the child.
(2) To create the relationship of parent and child between petitioner and the adopted individual, as if the adopted individual were a legitimate blood descendant of the petitioner, for all purposes including inheritance and applicability of statutes, documents, and instruments, whether executed before or after the adoption is decreed, which do not expressly exclude an adopted individual from their operation or effect.
(b) An interlocutory decree of adoption, while it is in force, has the same legal effect as a final decree of adoption. If an interlocutory decree of adoption is vacated, it shall be as though void from its issuance, and the rights, liabilities, and status of all affected persons which have not become vested shall be governed accordingly.
(c) Sibling visitation shall not terminate if the adopted child was in the custody of the Department of Human Services and had a sibling who was not adopted by the same family and before adoption the circuit court in the juvenile dependency-neglect or families-in-need-of-services case has determined that it is in the best interests of the siblings to visit and has ordered visitation between the siblings to occur after the adoption.
Section 9-9-216. Appeal from and validation of adoption decree
(a) An appeal from any final order or decree rendered under this subchapter may be taken in the manner and time provided for appeal from a judgment in a civil action.
(b) Subject to the disposition of an appeal, upon the expiration of one (1) year after an adoption decree is issued, the decree cannot be questioned by any person including the petitioner, in any manner upon any ground, including fraud, misrepresentation, failure to give any required notice, or lack of jurisdiction of the parties or of the subject matter unless, in the case of the adoption of a minor, the petitioner has not taken custody of the minor or, in the case of the adoption of an adult, the adult had no knowledge of the decree within the one-year period.
Joan Edelman says
This is one of the worse bills, I hope they are working on revisions.
Gregory D. Luce says
It’s been enacted and awaiting implementation. I seriously doubt there is any effort or impetus to amend the law at this point.
Did I understand correctly? If my bio parents are deceased, I cannot get identifying information? I have located both sides of the family and simply want this final piece to complete the picture of me. I have a relationship with both sides as well, and it is positive.
If I am correct, why would this information be withheld and available only under court order?
“In any case in which the identity of the birth father was unknown to the birth mother, or in which the administrator learns that one (1) or both birth parents are deceased, this information shall be shared with the adult adoptee. In those cases, the adoptee shall not be able to obtain identifying information through the registry, and he or she shall be told of his or her right to pursue whatever right otherwise exists by law to petition a court to release the identifying information.”
Gregory D. Luce says
Beginning next year in August you will be able to request your original birth certificate. That will likely have your mother’s name on it and possibly your father’s, depending on the circumstances of your birth. If they are both now deceased, you will receive the OBC without any redactions (black boxes or deletion of names). So your best bet, at least for the OBC, is to wait to request it in August 2018.
Mindy Lawrence says
Thank you for this information. I will try this in August 2018. Does this mean that my birth certificate of my adoption will be changed or deleted?
Gregory D. Luce says
No birth certificate will be changed. Under the new law in Arkansas a birthparent can request redaction of information, meaning that parent’s identifying information will be removed from the original birth certificate. An amended birth certificate—the one issued after an adoption—remains unchanged.
Scott Harris says
As someone who was put up for adoption at birth and with no family medical history. I am very happy about this bill. I will be waiting in line to get mine!
I know that both of my birth parents, who were not married, are deceased. Is there any reason their names will not be on my birth certificate when requested later this year?
Gregory D. Luce says
I do not see a reason why their names will not be on the birth certificate, particularly if they were deceased before this law was passed. Keep in mind, however, that in most states a father was not listed on a birth certificate if the couple was unmarried, unless other legalities were in place to name him on the certificate (or the mother named him and it was added without regard to the law at the time). And it’s possible the wrong names were reported if the parents or the agency involved wanted to hide the birth for some reason. My hope is you get what you deserve: truth. Good luck!
My son was adopted at birth this year (open). I was informed by the law firm representing the adoptive family that no original birth certificate was issued, since he was adopted at birth. Is this correct?
Gregory D. Luce says
An original birth certificate is always issued (though in surrogacy and IVF cases it may not reflect the full reality of the birth). But the OBC is the first and sometimes only birth certificate issued because it records the actual birth of the child to the biological parent(s). I’m wondering if they mean an amended birth certificate was not issued? Under Arkansas law (and a number of other states), adoptive parents may request that an amended certificate not be issued. That would mean there is only an original birth certificate and, if you are the mother, you would be the mother listed on that certificate. It would also mean that the original birth certificate is not sealed.
I’d ask again to clarify whether they mean an original birth certificate or an amended certificate. What they are saying does not make complete sense.
I’ve reread the letter. It says that a birth certificate under the name I had given him had not been issued. Would this mean his original birth certificate is nameless or would it bear the name given to him by his adoptive parents for some reason? His father and I knew the family would be giving him a different name, but we were assured prior to the finalization that it would not be an issue.
Gregory D. Luce says
Hmmm. I wonder if the phrasing of the letter is just wrong or confusing. I’m assuming you 1) gave birth to your son; and 2) you reported the facts of that birth as part of what is required under Arkansas law (your name, father’s name if lawful to include him on the registration), and other information about you. The adoption decree, once final, would be provided to vital records and vital records would issue a new birth certificate under a new name, as stated in the decree, and listing the adoptive parents as the parents. The original birth certificate would then be sealed. My guess is they are talking about an amended birth certificate that was issued, without the the name you gave your son. The amended birth certificate is now the only birth certificate available to you and to the adoptive parents, unless you receive a court order to obtain the original. Otherwise, it does not make sense. Are they open to providing you with a copy of the birth certificate that was issued to them?
Well, that’s really where this is all stemming from. His father and I wanted a copy of the original, as we had given him a family name. The hospital was entirely unhelpful, so the law firm representing the family said that when they requested that the amended certificate, they would request an additional copy of the original for us to keep. The letter reads:
“I am writing to inform you that despite our best efforts, we were unable to obtain a copy of (amended name) birth certificate in the name of (original). The Office of Vital Records controls the issuance of birth certificates. Once an adoption is final, the child’s birth certificate is sealed and cannot be accessed or issued. A biological parent may always retain any birth certificate they had prior to the adoption. However, since the child was adopted at birth, a birth certificate in the name of (original) was never issued. Because the adoption is now final without a birth certificate in that name ever having been issued, one never can be issued now. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.”
Am I reading this incorrectly?
Gregory D. Luce says
Ugh. Adoptive parents do not have a right to obtain the original birth certificate, except by court order. This is pretty common knowledge and I’m surprised the attorneys believed they could obtain the OBC after finalization of the adoption. And, unfortunately under most state laws including Arkansas, birthparents also do not have a right to obtain the original birth certificate once it is sealed after an adoption. I personally think this is dumb, as birthparents have all the knowledge as to what is on the original record, likely signed it, and could have obtained a copy of the certificate before it was sealed. My only suggestion is to contact the attorneys and determine if they would join with you and request that a copy of the OBC be provided to you. I do not know if that would work or how the court may decide the issue.
Gregory D. Luce says
Also, they are plain wrong that “since the child was adopted at birth, a birth certificate in the name of (original) was never issued.” There is a birth record on file with your name and any other names and information that were recorded by law when your son’s birth was registered. Whether one can be issued now is up to the court, but it is highly likely one was “issued” for various reasons, including making the certificate part of the adoption file. Finally, an OBC can be issued to adoptees under a new law that is not yet in effect, but adoptees under that new law must be 21 years of age to request them. That obviously doesn’t help you today.
*They were going to request an original while in the process of amending the original.
Thank you so much! I’ve worried myself sick that my son just wouldn’t have an original or, if he did, it would be nameless. Thank you.
Mark Hubbard says
I was adopted at birth. I have the adoption records and a birth certificate. I did some yrs ago see one copy that list my adopted parents name on it but ages were incorrect. Many moves latter I don’t know where it is. What are the exact steps I need to take to get the OBC? I live out of state and have no wishes other than medical history to to contact birt parents.
If you only want medical history and birth name but no contact is ther a different process?
Gregory D. Luce says
Hi, Mark. The law is about to change so that most—not all—Arkansas adoptees can request and obtain their original birth certificates, which is included as part of the “adoption file.” Birthparents, however, have a right to request the redaction of their names from the OBC. The adoption file, which includes the OBC, may also contain a contact preference form indicating whether or not the parent wants contact with the adoptee. The law does not require a birthparent to file this form, but if it is filed it will also contain genetic and social history of that parent.
The law does not take full effect until August 2018, so you will have to wait until that time to request your adoption file. But there is no contact of the birthparent as part of requesting your OBC.
I was adopted by private adoption in Arkansas in 197O. I was one week of age at the time of the adoption. I found my birth mother in or about 1997. Both of my adoptive parents are now deceased.
I have the court document that my birth mother signed when signing over her rights, have the baby ID bracelet, and have the court records from the adoption .
I’m having significant health issues, some stemmed at or after birth, and need my medical records from the hospital. What is the process?
My birth mother is also aware that I’m trying to obtain the records.
Thank you in advance
Gregory D. Luce says
Obtaining medical records from more than 40 years ago will depend on a number of things: 1) locating the hospital that may have the records; 2) requesting them with signed authorizations from you and, very likely required, from your birthmother; and 3) being persistent to determine if the hospital has actually destroyed the records, as it is likely it will respond that the records no longer exist. Medical records are tough to get for these reasons. I wish I had better advice but it really depends on tracking them down and figuring out exactly what the hospital will require to release them. Good luck!
My step son is adopted in 1976. He was born in 1974 in Pennsylvania but adopted in Arkansas through DHS. Who should he contact to get his original birth certificate Pennsylvania or Arkansas? And how can he find his birth parents by going through Arkansas or Pennsylvania DHS?
Gregory D. Luce says
His original and amended birth certificate should be on file with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s new law allows him to request a copy of a “summary” of his birth record which should provide him with birthparent names, if listed. A birthparent under Pennsylvania law, however, may request that his or her name be redacted from the record. I have more information on Pennsylvania law here and you can find forms and other information on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website here.
Joan Edelman says
Hi, Yes, I would start with PA since that is where it’s open now. Let’s hope they will respect that.
Let us know how that works out.
Carolyn Florez says
In 1966 was placed with my adopted parents when I was 3 days old. The Dr. who delivered me was the family doctor for both my bio and adopted families. He brought me straight from the hospital to my parents house and 6 months later the adoption was finalized. I spoke with Dr. Joseph twice when I was in my 20’s and he told me both bio parents are deceased but he wouldn’t tell me their names. Because an agency or foster care wasn’t used my parents were not given any information and we’re just so happy to have a baby they didn’t care.
I’ve lived in California for the last 50 years but 2 of my cousins contacted me today regarding the new legislation that was passed and I mailed off my request & substation this afternoon.
So, here’s my question, am I understanding correctly that I have to wait 1 year after Dept of Health receives my request before I may get my original birth certificate in the event the bio parents want their names redacted?
If so, what if they are deceased? Does Dept of Health cross reference their names against death certificates and I may get the information sooner?
I appreciate any insight you can provide.
Gregory D. Luce says
No, there is no further delay in processing requests for your adoption file. Once you submit your form and payment, the Department of Health will begin to process the request and send you the adoption file (which includes the original birth certificate). Only if a birthparent had already filed a redaction request would the department redact information. If birthparents had already died some time ago, then no redaction request could have been made. You should be good to go and will likely receive something in a few weeks, provided the department has enough staff to handle the requests.
D. Therrien says
Hi Mr. Luce.
In your reply to Mark on April 20th, you said “The law is about to change so that most—not all—Arkansas adoptees can request and obtain their original birth certificates.” Can you explain why some adoptees will not be able to obtain their OBCs? Thank you for your help.
Gregory D. Luce says
I slightly misspoke. So long as the OBC is in the adoption file, adult adoptees who request it will receive it. Nevertheless, some adoptees will receive an original birth certificate with the name of a birthparent redacted or removed. So, not all adult adoptees will receive an unredacted OBC. Sorry about the confusion.
James Moore says
I have read through all the mumbo jumbo on the Arkansas law, and I can’t help but wonder who writes this stuff–the laws. I was 16 when my sister had a baby that was put up for adoption, and the family kept it from me. When I was in my 20’s, I put all of it together in my head and asked my father about it. He confirmed that it happened. My sister subsequently married and had another daughter. Recently, I thought about it and asked her if she was aware that somewhere out there, she has a sister. We are now searching with hopes that we will locate her, but I still wonder in reading–who writes all this stuff?