As of July 1, 2021, Connecticut became the tenth state in the United States to secure or restore the right of all adopted people to request and obtain their own original birth certificates. Here’s what the new law does and how Connecticut-born adoptees and their descendants can apply for a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate.
Does this mean I can now get my own original birth certificate?
Yes, yes it does. 🙂 No matter the date of birth or adoption, all Connecticut-born adopted people now have an unrestricted right to request and obtain their own original birth certificates. Previously, the law had limited who could request and obtain the OBC based on the person’s date of birth (those born prior to October 1, 1983 were generally left out). The date-based limitation has now been repealed and the law applies to all adopted people and their descendants. The heart of the law is contained in this provision and may actually answer most of your initial questions:
Upon written request, the registrar of vital statistics of the municipality of an adopted person’s birth shall, not later than thirty days after such written request, issue an uncertified copy of an original certificate of birth to (1) such adopted person if he or she is eighteen years of age or older or (2) such adopted person’s child or grandchild, provided such child or grandchild is eighteen years of age or older.
How old do I have to be to request my own OBC?
You must be at least 18 years of age to request your own original birth certificate.
How and where do I apply?
You must apply in writing at the town or municipal vital records registrar where you were born. This is a change in the law. Prior to July 1, 2021, the state department of public health handled requests for a copy of the original birth certificate. The form to use to apply for an OBC is here and is now different from the prior form used since 2015.
I don’t know or remember the town in Connecticut where I was born. How can I find that?
Good question, and this will likely receive the most attention as this new law rolls out. Your town of birth may be listed on your amended (post-adoption) birth certificate. If it is not listed on the amended birth record or in any information available to you—and you do not know your town or city of birth—consider contacting the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. According to that agency:
- The Department of Children and Families, Office of Foster Care and Adoption Services, has a master database that lists all adoptions, both public and private, which have occurred in Connecticut since 1944. Information can be obtained by calling 860-550-6582, writing DCF Search Unit, 505 Hudson Street, Hartford, CT 06106 or e-mailing the Search Unit at the Connecticut Department of Children and Families at [email protected]
- If the adoption was completed prior to 1944, the adoptee can contact directly the Probate Court that was involved in the adoption finalization.
How do I find information for my town vital records registrar?
The Connecticut Department of Health provides a directory of the vital records offices in each of the 169 towns in the state. You can find that directory here.
Can I apply for an OBC from the state department of health?
No, the law is clear that you must apply for the OBC with the “registrar of vital statistics of the municipality of an adopted person’s birth.” A caveat: the state department of health currently has a form on its site to apply for the OBC but it is an outdated and now incorrect form. The correct form is here and must be submitted to the municipal vital records office where the birth occurred.
Who else can apply for the OBC other than the adopted person?
A child or grandchild of an adopted person may also apply for and obtain the adopted person’s original birth certificate, so long as the child or grandchild is at least 18 years of age. The adopted person does not need to be deceased for the person’s descendant to request a copy of the OBC. Proof of the relationship to the adopted person must be provided with the application.
How much does it cost to apply?
The fee for applying for a copy of the original pre-adoption birth record is $65.00, which unfortunately is more than three times the amount non-adopted people must pay for certified copies of their own birth records.
Can I apply for my OBC online?
I am not aware of the ability to apply for the original birth record through an online vital records system, such as VitalChek. Applications generally must be mailed in or dropped off with payment at the town registrar’s office. If this changes this FAQ will be updated.
How long will it take to get the copy of the original birth certificate?
The new law requires a thirty day period for the town vital records office to send a copy of the OBC to you once you submit your application.
Will any information on the original birth certificate be changed or removed?
No. The law does not allow for anyone to change or remove information from the original birth record.
Will I get a certified copy of the original birth certificate?
No, the copy of the original birth record will be uncertified. This part of the law has not changed. It also specifically provides that:
Such certificate shall be marked with a notation by the issuer that such original certificate of birth has been superseded by a replacement certificate of birth as on file.
Is there a state or local group involved with this new law?
Yes. A state group called Access Connecticut worked to change the law and is working to help Connecticut adoptees navigate the new application process. The Access Connecticut website is here and its own general FAQ is here.
Where can I read the text of the new law?
You can find the relevant portions of the law here on Adoptee Rights Law Center, which has been updated to reflect the new law. Links to the state law are also on that page but the state of Connecticut may not have updated the online statutes to reflect the new changes.
Will you be updating this FAQ when necessary?
Yes, I will update this FAQ if more information becomes available or if information changes or needs corrections based on what I currently understand about implementation of the new law.
Have you updated your map yet?
Yes, yes I have. Here ya go:
US OBC Rights