On July 1, 2023 South Dakota will become the fourteenth state in the United States to secure or restore the right of all adopted people to request and obtain their own original birth certificates (OBC). Here’s what the new law does plus how and when South Dakota-born adopted people can apply for a copy of their own OBCs.
Does this mean I can now get my own original birth certificate in South Dakota?
Yes, but not just yet. The new law becomes effective on July 1, 2023. You will have to wait until that date (or perhaps after the Fourth of July holiday) to apply for a copy of your own original birth certificate.
Does the new law apply to all adopted people born in South Dakota?
Yes. No matter the date of a person’s birth or adoption, all South Dakota-born adopted people will have an unrestricted right to request and obtain their own original birth certificates.
How old do I have to be to request my own OBC?
You must be at least 18 years of age.
Who else can apply for the OBC other than the adopted person?
The law applies only to South Dakota-born adopted people. It does not extend to descendants of the adoptee or anyone else.
How and where do I apply?
Once the law is fully effective, you would apply for your original birth certificate with the South Dakota Department of Health. The application and more information about the process is not yet available but will be added to this FAQ once they are.
What will I receive when I apply for the original birth certificate?
You will receive a copy of the original certificate of birth. It is possible you will receive any other documents that were filed with the Department of Health that were used to create a birth certificate after an adoption.
Is there a contact preference form or any other documents filed by a birthparent?
No. There are no forms or any other documents a birthparent may file in relation to the original birth certificate.
I was adopted in South Dakota but not born there. Is there anything I can do?
Yes. Current South Dakota law allows you to apply for and receive court records related to your adoption. More information about that is here. The new law does not change that process. Court records are also available to South Dakota-born adopted people.
How much does it cost to apply for the original birth certificate?
This is not yet known.
Can I apply for the OBC online?
It is not known yet if online applications will be accepted. This will be updated as I learn more.
Will I get a certified copy of the original birth certificate?
Probably not. The copy of the original birth record will likely not be certified, as it is not required by the new law.
Is there a state or other group involved with this new law?
No. This was bill driven by a constituent of Representative Mellissa Heermann, who was instrumental in navigating the bill through passage. I was also involved in helping to enact the law by testifying and securing letters of support from adoptee rights organizations and allies.
Where can I read the text of the new law?
You can find the bill and its history here.
Will you be updating this FAQ when necessary?
Yes, I will update this FAQ as more information becomes available or if information changes or needs correction based on what I currently understand about implementation of the new law.
Have you updated your map yet?
Not yet. We have to wait until July 1, 2023, to set off the full array of adoptee fireworks. Until then, the map will still look like this, though there is a note about the new law if you click on South Dakota.
US OBC Rights
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