Original Birth Certificates. Florida is a Restricted State. Florida restricts the right of adult adopted people to obtain their own original birth certificates upon request. To release an original birth record without a court order the state vital records office requires 1) birthparent permission; or 2) proof that the birthparents listed on the birth record are deceased. In all other situations a court order is required.
Court Records. Court records or information may be released only by court order after the court determines that good cause exists. Florida also allows an adopted person to apply for a confidential intermediary to assist in obtaining information.
Descendant Rights. Florida does not recognize any specific rights for descendants of an adopted person to obtain the adopted person’s original birth record or other identifying information. It takes a court order to obtain such records.
Adoption Reunion Registry. The state funds the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry (FARR), which is a mutual consent registry for adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents, and other birth relatives who wish to search for each other. It can also be used to provide nonidentifying information for adopted people who were adopted through the state Department of Children and Families.
Adult Adoption. Florida law provides for the adoption of adults. A court may approve an adult adoption if the adult to be adopted consents to the adoption and notice of the final hearing has been provided to the adult adoptee’s parents. Consent of an adult adoptee’s spouse is also required unless waived by the court for good cause.
Florida Law: Vital Records and Birth Certificates
Relevant parts of Florida vital records law. The entire Florida vital records statute is available here.
Florida Code § 382.015
The clerk of the court in which any proceeding for adoption, annulment of an adoption, affirmation of parental status, or determination of paternity is to be registered, shall within 30 days after the final disposition, forward to the department a certified copy of the court order, or a report of the proceedings upon a form to be furnished by the department, together with sufficient information to identify the original birth certificate and to enable the preparation of a new birth certificate. The clerk of the court shall implement a monitoring and quality control plan to ensure that all judicial determinations of paternity are reported to the department in compliance with this section. The department shall track paternity determinations reported monthly by county, monitor compliance with the 30-day timeframe, and report the data to the clerks of the court quarterly.
(1) ADOPTION AND ANNULMENT OF ADOPTION.
(a) Upon receipt of the report or certified copy of an adoption decree, together with the information necessary to identify the original certificate of live birth, and establish a new certificate, the department shall prepare and file a new birth certificate, absent objection by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adoptee if of legal age. The certificate shall bear the same file number as the original birth certificate. All names and identifying information relating to the adoptive parents entered on the new certificate shall refer to the adoptive parents, but nothing in the certificate shall refer to or designate the parents as being adoptive. All other items not affected by adoption shall be copied as on the original certificate, including the date of registration and filing.
(b) Upon receipt of the report or certified copy of an annulment-of-adoption decree, together with the sufficient information to identify the original certificate of live birth, the department shall, if a new certificate of birth was filed following an adoption report or decree, remove the new certificate and restore the original certificate to its original place in the files, and the certificate so removed shall be sealed by the department.
(c) Upon receipt of a report or certified copy of an adoption decree or annulment-of-adoption decree for a person born in another state, the department shall forward the report or decree to the state of the registrant’s birth. If the adoptee was born in Canada, the department shall send a copy of the report or decree to the appropriate birth registration authority in Canada.
(2) DETERMINATION OF PATERNITY. Upon receipt of the report, a certified copy of a final decree of determination of paternity, or a certified copy of a final judgment of dissolution of marriage which requires the former husband to pay child support for the child, together with sufficient information to identify the original certificate of live birth, the department shall prepare and file a new birth certificate, which shall bear the same file number as the original birth certificate. The registrant’s name shall be entered as decreed by the court or as reflected in the final judgment or support order. The names and identifying information of the parents shall be entered as of the date of the registrant’s birth.
(3) AFFIRMATION OF PARENTAL STATUS. Upon receipt of an order of affirmation of parental status issued pursuant to s. 742.16, together with sufficient information to identify the original certificate of live birth, the department shall prepare and file a new birth certificate which shall bear the same file number as the original birth certificate. The names and identifying information of the registrant’s parents entered on the new certificate shall be the commissioning couple, but the new certificate may not make reference to or designate the parents as the commissioning couple.
(4) SUBSTITUTION OF NEW CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH FOR ORIGINAL. When a new certificate of birth is prepared, the department shall substitute the new certificate of birth for the original certificate on file. All copies of the original certificate of live birth in the custody of a local registrar or other state custodian of vital records shall be forwarded to the State Registrar. Thereafter, when a certified copy of the certificate of birth or portion thereof is issued, it shall be a copy of the new certificate of birth or portion thereof, except when a court order requires issuance of a certified copy of the original certificate of birth. In an adoption, change in paternity, affirmation of parental status, undetermined parentage, or court-ordered substitution, the department shall place the original certificate of birth and all papers pertaining thereto under seal, not to be broken except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as otherwise provided by law.
(5) FORM. Except for certificates of foreign birth which are registered as provided in s. 382.017, and delayed certificates of birth which are registered as provided in ss. 382.019 and 382.0195, all original, new, or amended certificates of live birth shall be identical in form, regardless of the marital status of the parents or the fact that the registrant is adopted or of undetermined parentage.
(6) RULES. The department shall adopt and enforce all rules necessary for carrying out the provisions of this section.
Florida Code § 382.017. Foreign births
(1) Upon request, the department shall prepare and register a certificate of foreign birth for an adoptee born in a foreign country who is not a citizen of the United States and whose judgment of adoption was entered by a court of competent jurisdiction of this state. The certificate shall be established upon receipt of the report or certified copy of the adoption decree, proof of the date and place of the adoptee’s birth, and a request that the certificate be prepared from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee if of legal age. The certificate shall be labeled “Certificate of Foreign Birth” and shall show the true country and date of birth of the adoptee, and must include a statement that the certificate is not evidence of United States citizenship. After registering the certificate of foreign birth in the new name of the adoptee, the department shall place the adoption report or decree under seal, not to be broken except pursuant to court order.
(2) If the adoptee was born in a foreign country but was a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, the department shall not prepare a certificate of foreign birth but shall notify the adoptive parents, or the adoptee if of legal age, of the procedure for obtaining a revised birth certificate through the United States Department of State.
Florida Law: Court Records, Birth Records, and Identifying Information
Relevant parts of Florida adoption law related to court records, birth records, and identifying information. The entire Florida adoption statute is available here.
Florida Code § 63.152. Application for new birth record
Within 30 days after entry of a judgment of adoption, the clerk of the court or the adoption entity shall transmit a certified statement of the entry to the state registrar of vital statistics on a form provided by the registrar. A new birth record containing the necessary information supplied by the certificate shall be issued by the registrar on application of the adopting parents or the adopted person.
Florida Code § 63.162. Hearings and records in adoption proceedings; confidential nature
(1) All hearings held in proceedings under this act shall be held in closed court without admittance of any person other than essential officers of the court, the parties, witnesses, counsel, persons who have not consented to the adoption and are required to consent, and representatives of the agencies who are present to perform their official duties.
(2) All papers and records pertaining to the adoption, including the original birth certificate, whether part of the permanent record of the court or a file in the office of an adoption entity are confidential and subject to inspection only upon order of the court; however, the petitioner in any proceeding for adoption under this chapter may, at the option of the petitioner, make public the reasons for a denial of the petition for adoption. The order must specify which portion of the records are subject to inspection, and it may exclude the name and identifying information concerning the parent or adoptee. Papers and records of the department, a court, or any other governmental agency, which papers and records relate to adoptions, are exempt from s. 119.07(1). In the case of an adoption not handled by the department or a child-placing agency licensed by the department, the department must be given notice of hearing and be permitted to present to the court a report on the advisability of disclosing or not disclosing information pertaining to the adoption. In the case of an agency adoption, the licensed child-placing agency must be given notice of hearing and be permitted to present to the court a report on the advisability of disclosing or not disclosing information pertaining to the adoption. This subsection does not prohibit the department from inspecting and copying any official record pertaining to the adoption that is maintained by the department or from inspecting and copying any of the official records maintained by an agency licensed by the department and does not prohibit an agency from inspecting and copying any official record pertaining to the adoption that is maintained by that agency.
(3) The court files, records, and papers in the adoption of a minor shall be indexed only in the name of the petitioner, and the name of the minor shall not be noted on any docket, index, or other record outside the court file, except that closed agency files may be cross-referenced in the original and adoptive names of the minor.
(4)(a) A person may disclose the following from the records without a court order:
1. The name and identity of the birth parent, if the birth parent authorizes in writing the release of his or her name and the adoptee is 18 years of age or older. If the adoptee is younger than 18 years of age, the adoptive parent must also provide written consent to disclose the birth parent’s name;
2. The name and identity of the adoptee, if the adoptee is 18 years of age or older and authorizes in writing the release of his or her name; or, if the adoptee is younger than 18 years of age, written consent to disclose the adoptee’s name is obtained from an adoptive parent; or
3. The name and identity of the adoptive parent, if the adoptive parent authorizes in writing the release of his or her name.
(b) A person may disclose from the records the name and identity of a birth parent, an adoptive parent, or an adoptee upon order of the court for good cause shown. In determining whether good cause exists, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the adoptee, but must also give due consideration to the interests of the adoptive and birth parents. Factors to be considered in determining whether good cause exists include, but are not limited to:
1. The reason the information is sought;
2. The existence of means available to obtain the desired information without disclosing the identity of the birth parents, such as by having the court, a person appointed by the court, the department, or the licensed child-placing agency contact the birth parents and request specific information;
3. The desires, to the extent known, of the adoptee, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents;
4. The age, maturity, judgment, and expressed needs of the adoptee; and
5. The recommendation of the department, licensed child-placing agency, or professional that prepared the preliminary study and home investigation, or the department if no such study was prepared, concerning the advisability of disclosure.
(5) The adoptee or other person seeking information under this subsection shall pay the department or agency making reports or recommendations as required hereunder a reasonable fee for its services and expenses.
(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), identifying information regarding the birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptee may not be disclosed unless a birth parent, adoptive parent, or adoptee has authorized in writing the release of such information concerning himself or herself. Specific names or identifying information must not be given in a family medical history. All nonidentifying information, including the family medical history and social history of the adoptee and the birth parents, when available, must be furnished to the adoptive parents before the adoption becomes final and to the adoptee, upon the adoptee’s request, after he or she reaches majority. Upon the request of the adoptive parents, all nonidentifying information obtained before or after the adoption has become final must be furnished to the adoptive parents.
(7) The court may, upon petition of an adult adoptee or birth parent, for good cause shown, appoint an intermediary or a licensed child-placing agency to contact a birth parent or adult adoptee, as applicable, who has not registered with the adoption registry pursuant to s. 63.165 and advise both of the availability of the intermediary or agency and that the birth parent or adult adoptee, as applicable, wishes to establish contact.
Florida Law: Adoption Registry
Florida Code § 63.165. State registry of adoption information; duty to inform and explain
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the department shall maintain a registry with the last known names and addresses of an adoptee and his or her parents whose consent was required under s. 63.062, and adoptive parents and any other identifying information that the adoptee, parents whose consent was required under s. 63.062, or adoptive parents desire to include in the registry. The department shall maintain the registry records for the time required by rules adopted by the department in accordance with this chapter or for 99 years, whichever period is greater. The registry shall be open with respect to all adoptions in the state, regardless of when they took place. The registry shall be available for those persons choosing to enter information therein, but no one shall be required to do so.
(1) Anyone seeking to enter, change, or use information in the registry, or any agent of such person, shall present verification of his or her identity and, if applicable, his or her authority. A person who enters information in the registry shall be required to indicate clearly the persons to whom he or she is consenting to release this information, which persons shall be limited to the adoptee and the birth mother, father whose consent was required under s. 63.062, adoptive mother, adoptive father, birth siblings, and maternal and paternal birth grandparents of the adoptee. Except as provided in this section, information in the registry is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1). Consent to the release of this information may be made in the case of a minor adoptee by his or her adoptive parents or by the court after a showing of good cause. At any time, any person may withdraw, limit, or otherwise restrict consent to release information by notifying the department in writing.
(2) The department may charge a reasonable fee to any person seeking to enter, change, or use information in the registry. The department shall deposit such fees in a trust fund to be used by the department only for the efficient administration of this section. The department and agencies shall make counseling available for a fee to all persons seeking to use the registry, and the department shall inform all affected persons of the availability of such counseling.
(3) The adoption entity must inform the parents before parental rights are terminated, and the adoptive parents before placement, in writing, of the existence and purpose of the registry established under this section, but failure to do so does not affect the validity of any proceeding under this chapter.
Florida Law: Adoption Generally
Relevant portions of Florida adoption law. The entire Florida adoption statute is available here.
Florida Code § 63.022. Legislative intent
(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) The state has a compelling interest in providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive children in a prompt manner, in preventing the disruption of adoptive placements, and in holding parents accountable for meeting the needs of children.
(b) An unmarried mother faced with the responsibility of making crucial decisions about the future of a newborn child is entitled to privacy, has the right to make timely and appropriate decisions regarding her future and the future of the child, and is entitled to assurance regarding an adoptive placement.
(c) Adoptive children have the right to permanence and stability in adoptive placements.
(d) Adoptive parents have a constitutional privacy interest in retaining custody of a legally adopted child.
(e) An unmarried biological father has an inchoate interest that acquires constitutional protection only when he demonstrates a timely and full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood, both during the pregnancy and after the child’s birth. The state has a compelling interest in requiring an unmarried biological father to demonstrate that commitment by providing appropriate medical care and financial support and by establishing legal paternity rights in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that in every adoption, the best interest of the child should govern and be of foremost concern in the court’s determination. The court shall make a specific finding as to the best interests of the child in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature to protect and promote the well-being of persons being adopted and their birth and adoptive parents and to provide to all children who can benefit by it a permanent family life, and, whenever appropriate, to maintain sibling groups.
(4) The basic safeguards intended to be provided by this chapter are that:
(a) The minor is legally free for adoption and that all adoptions are handled in accordance with the requirements of law.
(b) The required persons consent to the adoption or the parent-child relationship is terminated by judgment of the court.
(c) The required social studies are completed and the court considers the reports of these studies prior to judgment on adoption petitions.
(d) A sufficient period of time elapses during which the minor has lived within the proposed adoptive home under the guidance of an adoption entity, except stepparent adoptions or adoptions of a relative.
(e) All expenditures by adoption entities or adoptive parents relative to the adoption of a minor are reported to the court and become a permanent record in the file of the adoption proceedings, including, but not limited to, all legal fees and costs, all payments to or on behalf of a birth parent, and all payments to or on behalf of the minor.
(f) Social and medical information concerning the minor and the parents is furnished by the parent when available and filed with the court before a final hearing on a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption, unless the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative.
(g) A new birth certificate is issued after entry of the adoption judgment.
(h) At the time of the hearing, the court may order temporary substitute care when it determines that the minor is in an unsuitable home.
(i) The records of all proceedings concerning custody and adoption of a minor are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), except as provided in s. 63.162.
(j) The birth parent, the prospective adoptive parent, and the minor receive, at a minimum, the safeguards, guidance, counseling, and supervision required in this chapter.
(k) In all matters coming before the court under this chapter, the court shall enter such orders as it deems necessary and suitable to promote and protect the best interests of the person to be adopted.
(l) In dependency cases initiated by the department, where termination of parental rights occurs, and siblings are separated despite diligent efforts of the department, continuing postadoption communication or contact among the siblings may be ordered by the court if found to be in the best interests of the children.
(5) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for cooperation between private adoption entities and the Department of Children and Families in matters relating to permanent placement options for children in the care of the department whose birth parents wish to participate in a private adoption plan with a qualified family.
Florida Code § 63.032. Definitions
As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Abandoned” means a situation in which the parent or person having legal custody of a child, while being able, makes little or no provision for the child’s support or makes little or no effort to communicate with the child, which situation is sufficient to evince an intent to reject parental responsibilities. If, in the opinion of the court, the efforts of such parent or person having legal custody of the child to support and communicate with the child are only marginal efforts that do not evince a settled purpose to assume all parental duties, the court may declare the child to be abandoned. In making this decision, the court may consider the conduct of a father towards the child’s mother during her pregnancy.
(2) “Adoption” means the act of creating the legal relationship between parent and child where it did not exist, thereby declaring the child to be legally the child of the adoptive parents and their heir at law and entitled to all the rights and privileges and subject to all the obligations of a child born to such adoptive parents in lawful wedlock.
(3) “Adoption entity” means the department, a child-caring agency registered under s. 409.176, an intermediary, a Florida child-placing agency licensed under s. 63.202, or a child-placing agency licensed in another state which is licensed by the department to place children in the State of Florida.
(4) “Adoption plan” means an arrangement made by a birth parent or other individual having a legal right to custody of a minor, born or to be born, with an adoption entity in furtherance of placing the minor for adoption.
(5) “Adult” means a person who is not a minor.
(6) “Agency” means any child-placing agency licensed by the department pursuant to s. 63.202 to place minors for adoption.
(7) “Child” means any unmarried person under the age of 18 years who has not been emancipated by court order.
(8) “Court” means a circuit court of this state and, if the context requires, the court of any state that is empowered to grant petitions for adoption.
(9) “Department” means the Department of Children and Families.
(10) “Intermediary” means an attorney who is licensed or authorized to practice in this state and who is placing or intends to place a child for adoption, including placing children born in another state with citizens of this state or country or placing children born in this state with citizens of another state or country.
(11) “Legal custody” has the meaning ascribed in s. 39.01.
(12) “Parent” means a woman who gives birth to a child and who is not a gestational surrogate as defined in s. 742.13 or a man whose consent to the adoption of the child would be required under s. 63.062(1). If a child has been legally adopted, the term “parent” means the adoptive mother or father of the child. The term does not include an individual whose parental relationship to the child has been legally terminated or an alleged or prospective parent.
(13) “Person” includes a natural person, corporation, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, or association, and any other legal entity.
(14) “Placement” means the process of a parent or legal guardian surrendering a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receiving and adopting the child and all actions by any adoption entity participating in placing the child.
(15) “Primarily lives and works outside Florida” means that a person lives and works outside this state at least 6 months and 1 day per year, is a member of the military who designates a state other than Florida as his or her place of residence in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Pub. L. No. 108-189, or is a citizen of the United States living in a foreign country who designates a state other than Florida as his or her place of residence.
(16) “Relative” means a person related by blood to the person being adopted within the third degree of consanguinity.
(17) “Suitability of the intended placement” means the fitness of the intended placement, with primary consideration being given to the best interests of the child.
(18) “To place” means the process whereby a parent or legal guardian surrenders a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receive and adopt the child, and includes all actions by any person or adoption entity participating in the process.
(19) “Unmarried biological father” means the child’s biological father who is not married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or on the date of the birth of the child and who, before the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights, has not been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the legal father of the child or has not filed an affidavit pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c).
Florida Code § 63.042. Who may be adopted; who may adopt
(1) Any person, a minor or an adult, may be adopted.
(2) The following persons may adopt:
(a) A husband and wife jointly;
(b) An unmarried adult; or
(c) A married person without the other spouse joining as a petitioner, if the person to be adopted is not his or her spouse, and if:
1. The other spouse is a parent of the person to be adopted and consents to the adoption; or
2. The failure of the other spouse to join in the petition or to consent to the adoption is excused by the court for good cause shown or in the best interest of the child.
(3) No person eligible under this section shall be prohibited from adopting solely because such person possesses a physical disability or handicap, unless it is determined by the court or adoption entity that such disability or handicap renders such person incapable of serving as an effective parent.
(4) No person eligible under this section shall be prohibited from adopting solely because he or she desires to educate the adopted child at home.
Florida Code § 63.062. Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit of nonpaternity; waiver of venue
(1) Unless supported by one or more of the grounds enumerated under s. 63.089(3), a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption may be granted only if written consent has been executed as provided in s. 63.082 after the birth of the minor or notice has been served under s. 63.088 to:
(a) The mother of the minor.
(b) The father of the minor, if:
1. The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;
2. The minor is his child by adoption;
3. The minor has been adjudicated by the court to be his child before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed;
4. He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c) or he is listed on the child’s birth certificate before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed; or
5. In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, that he is the father of the minor, has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes, and has complied with the requirements of subsection (2).
The status of the father shall be determined at the time of the filing of the petition to terminate parental rights and may not be modified, except as otherwise provided in s. 63.0423(9)(a), for purposes of his obligations and rights under this chapter by acts occurring after the filing of the petition to terminate parental rights.
(c) The minor, if 12 years of age or older, unless the court in the best interest of the minor dispenses with the minor’s consent.
(d) Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor if required by the court.
(e) The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor, if the person having physical custody of the minor does not have authority to consent to the adoption.
(2) In accordance with subsection (1), the consent of an unmarried biological father shall be necessary only if the unmarried biological father has complied with the requirements of this subsection.
(a)1. With regard to a child who is placed with adoptive parents more than 6 months after the child’s birth, an unmarried biological father must have developed a substantial relationship with the child, taken some measure of responsibility for the child and the child’s future, and demonstrated a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood by providing reasonable and regular financial support to the child in accordance with the unmarried biological father’s ability, if not prevented from doing so by the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child, and either:
a. Regularly visited the child at least monthly, when physically and financially able to do so and when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother or the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child; or
b. Maintained regular communication with the child or with the person or agency having the care or custody of the child, when physically or financially unable to visit the child or when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother or person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child.
2. An unmarried biological father who openly lived with the child for at least 6 months within the 1-year period following the birth of the child and immediately preceding placement of the child with adoptive parents and who openly held himself out to be the father of the child during that period shall be deemed to have developed a substantial relationship with the child and to have otherwise met the requirements of this paragraph.
(b) With regard to a child who is 6 months of age or younger at the time the child is placed with the adoptive parents, an unmarried biological father must have demonstrated a full commitment to his parental responsibility by having performed all of the following acts prior to the time the mother executes her consent for adoption:
1. Filed a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry within the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health, which form shall be maintained in the confidential registry established for that purpose and shall be considered filed when the notice is entered in the registry of notices from unmarried biological fathers.
2. Upon service of a notice of an intended adoption plan or a petition for termination of parental rights pending adoption, executed and filed an affidavit in that proceeding stating that he is personally fully able and willing to take responsibility for the child, setting forth his plans for care of the child, and agreeing to a court order of child support and a contribution to the payment of living and medical expenses incurred for the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth in accordance with his ability to pay.
3. If he had knowledge of the pregnancy, paid a fair and reasonable amount of the living and medical expenses incurred in connection with the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth, in accordance with his financial ability and when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother or person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child. The responsibility of the unmarried biological father to provide financial assistance to the birth mother during her pregnancy and to the child after birth is not abated because support is being provided to the birth mother or child by the adoption entity, a prospective adoptive parent, or a third party, nor does it serve as a basis to excuse the birth father’s failure to provide support.
(c) The mere fact that a father expresses a desire to fulfill his responsibilities towards his child which is unsupported by acts evidencing this intent does not meet the requirements of this section.
(d) The petitioner shall file with the court a certificate from the Office of Vital Statistics stating that a diligent search has been made of the Florida Putative Father Registry of notices from unmarried biological fathers described in subparagraph (b)1. and that no filing has been found pertaining to the father of the child in question or, if a filing is found, stating the name of the putative father and the time and date of filing. That certificate shall be filed with the court prior to the entry of a final judgment of termination of parental rights.
(e) An unmarried biological father who does not comply with each of the conditions provided in this subsection is deemed to have waived and surrendered any rights in relation to the child, including the right to notice of any judicial proceeding in connection with the adoption of the child, and his consent to the adoption of the child is not required.
(3) Pursuant to chapter 48, an adoption entity shall serve a notice of intended adoption plan upon any known and locatable unmarried biological father who is identified to the adoption entity by the mother by the date she signs her consent for adoption if the child is 6 months of age or less at the time the consent is executed. Service of the notice of intended adoption plan is not required when the unmarried biological father signs a consent for adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity or when the child is more than 6 months of age at the time of the execution of the consent by the mother. The notice may be served at any time before the child’s birth or before placing the child in the adoptive home. The recipient of the notice may waive service of process by executing a waiver and acknowledging receipt of the plan. The notice of intended adoption plan must specifically state that if the unmarried biological father desires to contest the adoption plan he must, within 30 days after service, file with the court a verified response that contains a pledge of commitment to the child in substantial compliance with subparagraph (2)(b)2. and a claim of paternity form with the Office of Vital Statistics, and must provide the adoption entity with a copy of the verified response filed with the court and the claim of paternity form filed with the Office of Vital Statistics. The notice must also include instructions for submitting a claim of paternity form to the Office of Vital Statistics and the address to which the claim must be sent. If the party served with the notice of intended adoption plan is an entity whose consent is required, the notice must specifically state that the entity must file, within 30 days after service, a verified response setting forth a legal basis for contesting the intended adoption plan, specifically addressing the best interests of the child.
(a) If the unmarried biological father or entity whose consent is required fails to timely and properly file a verified response with the court and, in the case of an unmarried biological father, a claim of paternity form with the Office of Vital Statistics, the court shall enter a default judgment against the unmarried biological father or entity and the consent of that unmarried biological father or entity shall no longer be required under this chapter and shall be deemed to have waived any claim of rights to the child. To avoid an entry of a default judgment, within 30 days after receipt of service of the notice of intended adoption plan:
1. The unmarried biological father must:
a. File a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics;
b. File a verified response with the court which contains a pledge of commitment to the child in substantial compliance with subparagraph (2)(b)2.; and
c. Provide support for the birth mother and the child.
2. The entity whose consent is required must file a verified response setting forth a legal basis for contesting the intended adoption plan, specifically addressing the best interests of the child.
(b) If the mother identifies a potential unmarried biological father within the timeframes required by the statute, whose location is unknown, the adoption entity shall conduct a diligent search pursuant to s. 63.088. If, upon completion of a diligent search, the potential unmarried biological father’s location remains unknown and a search of the Florida Putative Father Registry fails to reveal a match, the adoption entity shall request in the petition for termination of parental rights pending adoption that the court declare the diligent search to be in compliance with s. 63.088, that the adoption entity has no further obligation to provide notice to the potential unmarried biological father, and that the potential unmarried biological father’s consent to the adoption is not required.
(4) Any person whose consent is required under paragraph (1)(b), or any other man, may execute an irrevocable affidavit of nonpaternity in lieu of a consent under this section and by doing so waives notice to all court proceedings after the date of execution. An affidavit of nonpaternity must be executed as provided in s. 63.082. The affidavit of nonpaternity may be executed prior to the birth of the child. The person executing the affidavit must receive disclosure under s. 63.085 prior to signing the affidavit. For purposes of this chapter, an affidavit of nonpaternity is sufficient if it contains a specific denial of parental obligations and does not need to deny the existence of a biological relationship.
(5) A person who signs a consent to adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity must be given reasonable notice of his or her right to select a person who does not have an employment, professional, or personal relationship with the adoption entity or the prospective adoptive parents to be present when the consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity is executed and to sign the consent or affidavit as a witness.
(6) The petitioner must make good faith and diligent efforts as provided under s. 63.088 to notify, and obtain written consent from, the persons required to consent to adoption under this section.
(7) If parental rights to the minor have previously been terminated, the adoption entity with which the minor has been placed for subsequent adoption may provide consent to the adoption. In such case, no other consent is required. The consent of the department shall be waived upon a determination by the court that such consent is being unreasonably withheld and if the petitioner has filed with the court a favorable preliminary adoptive home study as required under s. 63.092.
(8) A petition to adopt an adult may be granted if:
(a) Written consent to adoption has been executed by the adult and the adult’s spouse, if any, unless the spouse’s consent is waived by the court for good cause.
(b) Written notice of the final hearing on the adoption has been provided to the parents, if any, or proof of service of process has been filed, showing notice has been served on the parents as provided in this chapter.
(9) A petition for termination of parental rights must be filed in the appropriate county as determined under s. 63.087(2). If a parent whose consent is required objects to venue in the county where the action was filed, the court may transfer venue to a proper venue consistent with this chapter and chapter 47 unless the objecting parent has previously executed a waiver of venue.
(10) The waiver of venue must be a separate document containing no consents, disclosures, or other information unrelated to venue.
Florida Code § 63.167. State adoption information center
(1) The department shall establish a state adoption information center for the purpose of increasing public knowledge about adoption and promoting to adolescents and pregnant women the availability of adoption services. The department shall contract with one or more licensed child-placing agencies to operate the state adoption information center.
(2) The functions of the state adoption information center shall include:
(a) Providing a training program for persons who counsel adolescents, including, but not limited to, school counselors, county child welfare services employees, and family planning clinic employees.
(b) Recruiting adoption services specialist trainees, and providing a training program for such specialists.
(c) Operating a toll-free telephone number to provide information and referral services. The state adoption information center shall provide contact information for all adoption entities in the caller’s county or, if no adoption entities are located in the caller’s county, the number of the nearest adoption entity when contacted for a referral to make an adoption plan and shall rotate the order in which the names of adoption entities are provided to callers.
(d) Distributing pamphlets which provide information on the availability of adoption services.
(e) Promoting adoption through the communications media.
(f) Maintaining a list of licensed child-placing agencies eligible and willing to take custody of and place newborn infants left at a hospital, pursuant to s. 383.50. The names and contact information for the licensed child-placing agencies on the list shall be provided on a rotating basis to the statewide central abuse hotline.
(3) The department shall ensure equitable distribution of referrals to licensed child-placing agencies.
Florida Code § 63.172. Effect of judgment of adoption
(1) A judgment of adoption, whether entered by a court of this state, another state, or of any other place, has the following effect:
(a) It relieves the birth parents of the adopted person, except a birth parent who is a petitioner or who is married to a petitioner, of all parental rights and responsibilities.
(b) It terminates all legal relationships between the adopted person and the adopted person’s relatives, including the birth parents, except a birth parent who is a petitioner or who is married to a petitioner, so that the adopted person thereafter is a stranger to his or her former relatives for all purposes, including the interpretation or construction of documents, statutes, and instruments, whether executed before or after entry of the adoption judgment, that do not expressly include the adopted person by name or by some designation not based on a parent and child or blood relationship, except that rights of inheritance shall be as provided in the Florida Probate Code.
(c) Except for rights of inheritance, it creates the relationship between the adopted person and the petitioner and all relatives of the petitioner that would have existed if the adopted person were a blood descendant of the petitioner born within wedlock. This relationship shall be created for all purposes, including applicability of statutes, documents, and instruments, whether executed before or after entry of the adoption judgment, that do not expressly exclude an adopted person from their operation or effect.
(2) If one or both parents of a child die without the relationship of parent and child having been previously terminated and a spouse of the living parent or a close relative of the child thereafter adopts the child, the child’s right of inheritance from or through the deceased parent is unaffected by the adoption and, unless the court orders otherwise, the adoption will not terminate any grandparental rights delineated under chapter 752. For purposes of this subsection, a close relative of a child is the child’s brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, or uncle.
Florida Code § 63.182. Statute of repose
(1) Notwithstanding s. 95.031 or s. 95.11 or any other statute, an action or proceeding of any kind to vacate, set aside, or otherwise nullify a judgment of adoption or an underlying judgment terminating parental rights on any ground may not be filed more than 1 year after entry of the judgment terminating parental rights.
(2)(a) Except for the specific persons expressly entitled to be given notice of an adoption in accordance with this chapter, the interest that entitles a person to notice of an adoption must be direct, financial, and immediate, and the person must show that he or she will gain or lose by the direct legal operation and effect of the judgment. A showing of an indirect, inconsequential, or contingent interest is wholly inadequate, and a person with this indirect interest lacks standing to set aside a judgment of adoption.
(b) This subsection is remedial and shall apply to all adoptions, including those in which a judgment of adoption has already been entered.
Florida Code § 63.192. Recognition of foreign judgment or decree affecting adoption
A judgment terminating the relationship of parent and child or establishing the relationship by adoption, or a decree granting legal guardianship for purposes of adoption, issued pursuant to due process of law by a court or authorized body of any other jurisdiction within or without the United States shall be recognized in this state, and the rights and obligations of the parties shall be determined as though the judgment or decree were issued by a court of this state. A judgment or decree of a court or authorized body terminating the relationship of a parent and child, whether independent, incorporated in an adoption decree, or incorporated in a legal guardianship order issued pursuant to due process of law of any other jurisdiction within or without the United States, shall be deemed to effectively terminate parental rights for purposes of a proceeding on a petition for adoption in this state. If a minor child has been made available for adoption in a foreign state or foreign country and the parental rights of the minor child’s parent have been terminated or the child has been declared to be abandoned or orphaned, no additional termination of parental rights proceeding need occur, and the adoption may be finalized according to the procedures set forth in this chapter.
Florida Code § 63.235. Petitions filed before effective date; governing law
Any petition for adoption filed before the effective date [May 30, 2003] of this act shall be governed by the law in effect at the time the petition was filed.
Florida Code § 63.236. Petitions filed before July 1, 2008; governing law
A petition for termination of parental rights filed before July 1, 2008, is governed by the law in effect at the time the petition was filed.
BONNIE MATTHEWS says
So what happens in the case of a child born in Florida, but the adoption is finalized thru Juarez, Mexico? Does the child petition the Florida courts for their OBC or is it somewhere in Juarez, Mexico? If there is reason to believe it is a grey-market adoption, does that present any value to the Florida court for the release of the OBC?
Renee Tone says
I’m no expert, but it seems to me that if you were born in Florida (as I was), that is where you would petition for your OBC. My adoption was finalized in NY, but that’s not where I turned to request my OBC. My adoption was also a grey-market one. I highly doubt that would be relevant in court.
Call the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics and ask for their packet for requesting on OBC. You’ll have to sign a form and get it notarized, for the request. You’ll also have to present either signed, notarized consent forms from your adoptive parents and your birth parents OR their death certificates. If you can produce one or the other from all four parents, that’s all you’ll need. Good luck!
Renee (and Gregory)- I know your situation is somewhat the opposite, but since your adoption was finalized in NY, did the location of your birth on your birth certificate change? Or does it still say Florida? My father was adopted in 1967, his birth certificate says FL, but we have reason to believe that he was born in NC. Both of his adoptive parents are dead. I have been trying to find information that tells me whether the location of birth would change on the birth certificate, but I can’t seem to find any statutes/codes to indicate one way or another.
Renee Tone says
No, the location of my birth in Florida did not change when my adoption was finalized in NY. The city, name of the hospital, and name of the hospital administrator remained the same. What changed were my name and all the parent information.
Gregory D. Luce says
No state I’m aware of would legally allow the state registrar to change the state where the child was born. Some states allow the specific place not to be recorded (for example, no hospital is listed or the “usual address” of the mother is blank) but the state cannot legally be fabricated. Georgia has a really funky law that appears to allow a change of the state but the law specifically says that the birth must be in Georgia. Here’s how that law is worded (and a few other states are similar):
Murphy raione says
So if you were adopted in 1959 when the law allowed adult adoptees acccess to their original birth certificate at 18, would you be able to petition for your BC because their was no expectation of secrecy at the time of the adoption?
Gregory D. Luce says
This is a complicated question because it is partially a legal question. I have outlined this issue here, which highlights that adoptees in Florida had unrestricted access to their original birth certificates until 1977 and that the change in the law in 1977 was not made retroactive. It will take a court to agree with this interpretation but no cases have yet been brought.
Hello I am a reunion search angel and am helping someone born in Florida in 1968. Would she be the first known person born prior to 1977 attempting a copy of her birth record? Because I’m going to tell her to apply. This is a far cry from equal rights if she’s allowed it but I’m sure she’ll take it. Not made retroactive. OK. Email me at [email protected] if you have any other content that would be relevant to share. I’m careful not to call it legal advice!
As an adoptee from FL, my wife and daughter gave me a DNA test for fathers day to help with my search. (They know the frustration of Florida adoptions) Before sending off for the test I happened upon your site while doing some adoption research and I hope to join Marilynn’s client as the first/second person born prior to 1977 to obtain an OBC.
Thank you for the info
Gavin, please post if you have had any luck with this. I too want to pursue the before 1977 ruling. I was born in Orlando in 1963.
Very similar situation as Gavin. Florida adoptee 1962 and gifted DNA kit from wife and kids last month for Fathers Day. I would definitely like to be a party to this as well.
Renee Tone says
I was born in Florida in 1951 and my adoption was finalized in the state of New York six months after my birth. My adoptive parents are deceased, as are my birth father and my birth mother. I spoke to a woman in the Adoption Unit of the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics and she told me that if I submit copies of all four death certificates, along with a signed affidavit, I could obtain a copy of my original birth certificate. I am in the process right now of sending for those death certificates. I have three out of four in hand. What I want to know is, was the information this woman gave me accurate?
It’s very important for me to get my original birth certificate, because it will confirm my information about my birth mother, whose identity I am now almost completely certain about.
If the information I was given is incorrect, what are my options at this point?
Cherrie Wingate says
I was adopted in Florida. I got my adoption papers from my adoption parents . I am 65 yrs old and so I still can’t get my obc. In the state of Florida. Unless I have a good reason to get them and I still have to go though the courts. My adopted dad passed away. My adopted mom still living. Biological parents have passed.
What kind of info do I need to give the courts to get my obc. Or is there any chance of getting them?
Gregory D. Luce says
Florida has a procedure in place that allows you to get your original birth certificate (and the adoption report from the court if you want) but only if you send in an affidavit from you, your adoptive mom (because she is still alive) and if you provide death certificates for your birthparents. If you think you can do that, you should call the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics at (904) 359-6900 ext. 1081 or 1086 to confirm what information you need to provide and to request the packet of information and forms that you will need to use.
Lauren Schultz says
What if you don’t know who your birth parents are? Both my adoptive parents are deceased. How can I get my original birth certificate?
Renee Tone says
I posted earlier, intending to request my OBC from Florida Vital Statistics. I have since received it. As long as you can provide death certificates for your deceased adoptive/birth parents (and a signed, notarized affidavit from your adoptive mom), plus a processing fee of $14 and a copy of your driver’s license, and as long as the information matches up, you CAN get your OBC from Florida. I got mine even with some minor discrepancies in the names. (My birth mother had lied, changing her maiden surname, my birth father’s surname, and her marital status, which she put as “married.” Not true.) Good luck!
Gregory D. Luce says
Glad you got it and thanks for letting us know. Now if we can change the law to make it available upon request at age 18.
Renee Tone says
Absolutely! Thanks for all you’re doing to move things forward!
I have a question.. my biological father was killed two weeks after I turned two (1974). The man who raised me adopted me at the age of four. Do both biological parents have to be deceased in order to try to get my original birth certificate? My mom is still living.
I knew my biological father was my mom’s first husband and my ancestry dna test revealed he is my biological father.
Any help would be appreciated!
Gregory D. Luce says
Thanks for asking, Donna, and the short and quick answer is no. To get an OBC in Florida based on consent, you need a combination of consent of a birthparent or proof that the birthparent is deceased. So, in your case, you would need your mother to complete an affidavit allowing release and you would also include the death certificate of your father. There is a packet of information that the department of vital statistics sends you with the forms, though you can email me directly at [email protected]. I also have a copy of that packet that I could send you.
The long and more troubling answer, at least for me, is that here is a case where there is absolutely no secrecy in the adoption and yet you are forced as an adult to obtain your mother’s permission to get your own birth certificate. I find step-parent adoptions often the most troubling when it comes to getting an OBC, though on the issue of equality for all of us they are really no different. As adults, our right to our own records should be recognized and upheld. But, feel free to email me and I’ll send you the forms that the department uses.
Thank you so much! I will send you an email now!
I want to obtain a copy of my original Birth Certificate. I was adopted from St. Petersburg FL I have not spoke to my adopted mom in years, and my adopted father died many, many years ago I have no information on my birth parents at all, I don’t know their name or anything. Can I get a copy of my original Birt Certificate if so how to I go about doing that? My adoption was over 45 years ago. Thank you in advance for your help, I appreciate any information you can provide.
Gregory D. Luce says
Florida will release an original birth certificate in one of two situations: 1) you have the written consent of the birth parents named on the certificate or, if a birth parent is deceased, a death certificate of that parent; or 2) by court order. Unfortunately, it does not sound like you have the identities of any birth parents. Your only option would appear to be a petition to the court of adoption to release the OBC. That can be legally daunting for many people, particularly given specific legal issues that may affect pre-1977 adoptees.
Thank you for answering. Does anyone have any information on The Rhodes Foster Family located in Florida . I was placed there from the hospital until I was adopted . I believe it was in the Pinellas County. My adoption was finalized at the Escambia County Circut Court on Feb. 23 1971.
Might anyone have any information to help me with contacting The Rhodes Foster Family?
Or might anyone have information on a Dr. Pina ?
Michael Raper says
My father was born in Florida in 1953, and adpoted (albeit by his grandmother) in 1966. There are some questions as to what his first name was (James vs Jimmy) on his original birth certificate. We know what his middle and last name was at birth and what his last name was changed to at adoption. My father has since died and both his parents and grandparents who adopted him have been deceased for some time as well. Is there any option for me as his child to obtain a copy of his ORIGINAL birth certificate for the purpose of finding out what his first name was at birth?
Crystal Hicks says
Ok so, I was adopted through Catholic Charities in Tampa Florida. I have done Ancestry.com and found many relatives however the family is really large so, I am seeking other avenues. After reading this I am somewhat disheartened. Is there any legislation in the making that may give is access?
Renee Tone says
Send away for all the death certificates: your father’s, both his parents’, and also his adopting grandparents. From the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics, send away for their packet for requesting an OBC. That will include an affidavit that you will sign and have notarized, as the requesting family member. Send this, all the death certificates, a brief letter explaining your situation and a check for $14 as well, to cover expenses, back to the FBVS. It’ll take several weeks, but you should have no problem getting your dad’s OBC. I was born in Florida and adopted six months later in NY, and I had no trouble getting my OBC by providing the information above. Good luck! 🙂
Nancy Murchie says
Question: So I was born in Hialeah, Fl in 1964, so I have access to my original birth certificate? How do I go about getting that? Do you know? I lost my birth certificate once and sent away for a new one and they sent the one my adopted parents had for me.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks so much
Gregory D. Luce says
Florida is a restricted state with one very limited exception: if you know the birthparents listed on the original birth certificate and they 1) are dead; or 2) consent in writing to release the OBC, then you can get your OBC from vital records. If they are dead you will need to provide copies of death certificates. If you qualify under this limited exception, you should call vital records at (904) 359-6900 ext. 1081 or 1086. Ask for the packet you need to apply for your OBC.
Nancy Murchie says
Ok, so reading the comments I think I misunderstood. I am too young to get the OBC. Sooo disheartening.
Gregory D. Luce says
For what it’s worth, there really is no “age” you have to be to get an original birth certificate in Florida. You basically don’t get it unless birthparents agree in writing that you can have it or you can demonstrate that the birthparents are deceased (or a combination of consent and death).
I guess adoptees younger than 18 currently could not use that process but otherwise there is no age issue in the law. It discriminates against all adoptees no matter their age.
Renee Tone says
Nancy needs to know that she’ll also need either the signed, notarized permissions of her adoptive parents OR their death certificates. It’s not just paperwork on the birth parents that Florida requires.
Donna Owens says
Totally agree I didn’t know of the packet and submitted it like a few years ago and they returned it back to me and said I have to petition the court and I just be a matter of life or death to get it. Thank you Greg for sending me the documents!! I sent you a lot of emails lol sorry!
Gregory D. Luce says
I think that’s advisable if a person also checks off the request for the “adoption report or court order.” I do not see it as in any way legally required if the adult adoptee seeks only the original birth certificate.
Donna Owens says
I’m waiting on mine to come in any day now. I know I did apply for my biological father’s death certificate they refused to give it to me without my original birth certificate. I was only allowed to get his social security application and they blocked my grandparent’s names in it which is fine. Soon as I receive my original birth certificate I will let you know. Mr Greg I did send you a private email I’m not sure if you received it or not.
Patricia Nale says
Could you please tell me how you got your original birth certificate. Did you contact Vital statistics with all death certificates? I don’t know birth mothers name she used many names. Don’t believe she was ever married to my birth father.
Mary K. Riordan says
Hi I recently discovered the site and I’m interested in also getting my OBC I was born in Florida 1955 and was adopted thru Catholic social services St. Petersburg. I’ve always wanted to know my heritage. My adoptive parents are both deceased. I did the 23 & me and discover I have a half sibling, Siblings, he indicated he knows of no half-sister and both of his parents are deceased. How would I go about getting my OBC from the State of Florida? I have my adoptive parents death certificates. But I don’t know which of his parents we share.
Thanks for any help or suggestions.
Patricia Nale says
23 & ME shows you material and paternal. Also try ancestry. I am an adoptee. I found 1/2 brother through 1/2 neice and 1/2 sister did Ancestry all same mother different father’s. There could me more out there. You can find a lot out through cousins . My 1st cousin was on father’s side. She is my father’s brothers daughter.
Renee Tone says
Do you know the names of your half brother’s parents? If so, you can send away for their death certificates. Or you could ask him for copies. You’ll also need to send for your adoptive parents’ death certificates. Then contact the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics and ask for their packet for ordering an OBC. It will include an affidavit that you’ll fill out and sign and have notarized. You’ll send the four death certificates and your affidavit, along with a check for $14 (processing fee). You should be able to get your OBC with no problem. I was born in 1951 in St. Petersburg and adopted in NY. I got mine recently. Good luck! It should be fine.
Mary Kathleen Riordan says
Great thanks Renee, yes I do know their name however I researched and the state of Iowa is strict so hopefully he will be so gracious to give me copies. I already have my adoptive parents certificates. In the meantime I send away as you indicated for the packet with the hopes of obtaining the others.
Thanks for the information and help.
Renee Tone says
Actually, only one of your half brother’s parents’ death certificates will be pertinent. But since you don’t know which parent you share, it poses a complication. One will be invalid and irrelevant. And you’ll still be missing one. I’m not sure what to suggest. Did you match with anyone else who might know something?
Yes on the 23&Me sight there’s a long list (929) but the closest is a 2nd cousin which is his mother’s…sister’s.. daughter’s. .. Child ..
I have the DNA sharing charts from both but haven’t a clue what I’m looking at. :-(((
Michelle I Want To Find Out My Biological Grandfather's Name So I Can Change My Maiden Name To The Real One says
My dad was born/relinquished in Jacksonville, FL in June 1946 and died in Philly in January 2016. I have a copy of his death certificate. To the best of my knowledge, all biological and adoptive parents are deceased. I have had my DNA tested and know what families (in Kentucky, Texas and a few other non-Floridian states) Dad belonged to. But, I am still searching for his biological parents. However, the Duval County, FL Dept. of Vital Statistics claims that Dad is the only one who can get his original unedited birth certificate. But, how am I supposed to exhume his ashes from Washington Crossing National Cemetery and rehydrate him in order to do that? I have his death certificate and my own birth certificate (proving I am his child). All I want to know are my biological grandparent’s names.
Amy Behrmann says
Hi, I was born and adopted in Miami Florida in 1973. How do I go about petitioning the court for my original bc? I have recently found my birth mom thanks to Ancestry DNA, but by birth father passed away last year…
Thanks for any help or information
Renee Tone says
You don’t need to petition the court if you can get permission from your living parents (adoptive and birth) and a copy of your birth dad’s death certificate . Contact the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics and ask for their packet for requesting your OBC. It will include several copies of the affidavit you’ll need to have all living parents sign and get notarized as permission, and one for you to do the same. Send the notarized forms, along with your birth father’s death certificate and a check for (I believe) $15, back to Vital Stats. It might take a couple of months, but you should be able to get your OBC.
Natalie Stroup says
I two yrs ago I found out that I was adopted. By my adoptive father, although my situation is unique, I was taken away from my adoptive family due to child abuse in the state of NY. I then became a emancipated minor at the age of 16., through the court in the state of New York. There was no adoption agency, the adoptive parents only paid a doctors fee of $25. And I am not sure on how to go about doing a order releasing adoption information. I have done several DNA tests no one has any answers. Please help
Wendy Giel says
It is so incredibly frustrating. I was adopted in 1965 to a family I adore. Found my birth mother at 22 and my birth father 2yrs. ago via Ancestry. If I understand the current draconian law, I must get permission from my adopted mother & birth mother to have access to my OBC (don’t know if my birth father is listed on OBC). I don’t want to involve either mother in seeking my OBC so what, I’m screwed? There are no more secrets, nobody to protect and only I suffer not having MY info. It’s well past the time that these laws were changed.
M.E Hanley says
I agree wholeheartedly Wendy!!
Kelly Kalapp says
I agree. First the law should not have made all records before 1979 sealed.
I have to produce 3 death certificates and have my birth mother, who doesn’t seem to want contact with me, sign an affidavit.
Renee Bennett Tone says
They make us jump through absurdly antiquated hoops for information that is rightfully ours to begin with! It’s infuriating and deeply wrong!
Michelle S. Lowrie says
My dad was adopted. His amended birth certificate says he was “born” in Jacksonville, Florida. But, we believe he was born in East St. Louis, Illinois sometime in 1945/1946 and relinquished in Jacksonville on June 6, 1946 (because my grandmother and her husband were living in Illinois at the time). Dad is dead and so are all of my biological and adoptive grandparents. But, Florida tells me only Dad can get his OBC.
I’ve had my DNA tested and have confirmed Grandma. Her nieces see her husband in my brothers. But, the genetic genealogist who worked with me thinks it may have been another man (a lot of cousin marriages in the family). Regardless, everyone is dead, and I just want to fulfill a promise that I made to my father 25 years ago.
Do you think if I get the package, fill it out, and sent them certified copies of everybody’s death certificate and my birth certificate, Vital Statistics might actually work with me this time? I mean, Dad would have been 72, and all of my grandparents would have been over the age of 97 if they were still alive (but they aren’t).
I’m a bit confused about how ‘sympathetic’ –if any–the State of Florida may be in regards to adult (nearly geriatric!) adoptees. How does one actually ‘know’ what information to send/request in regards to birth parents (especially birth Fathers) if they don’t previously know their names??!! So crazy. The need to keep records ‘sealed’ seems to be a moot point in light of modern-day DNA testing and all. Even so, if one discovers the name(s) of biological birth parent(s) who is to say what name the Mother (or person giving information) actually gave to the clerk as the ‘birth father’? What if she just guessed? Or deliberately gave a false name? In such cases it seems nearly impossible that all listed parties would be able to give consent and/or a death certificate obtained. —Feeling hopeless.
Michelle S Lowrie says
I hear ya! My (deceased) father would have been 73 this year had he not died in 2016. His adoptive parents would have been 97 and 101 if they hadn’t already died. And, his biological parents (whom I found as a result of my DNA test) would have been 104 and 105. All are dead. I am Dad’s oldest child. And, I have his and his biological parents’ death certificates. Yet, Florida won’t release anything to me without a court order. That’s not right. My biological grandmother’s nieces and nephews are upset about this as well. There is no reason to keep Dad’s original unamended birth certificate from me.
I definitely wish Florida would change the law. I was able to receive my original birth certificate after sending in the packet and my biological father’s birth and death certificate with the help of my paternal cousins it wouldn’t be possible as well as getting the documents from Mr. Luce. My biological father’s was killed two weeks after I turned two. My mom remarried and honest lied to the man I thought was my father . Had I not done an ancestry dna test I would never know. My mom had no intention on telling me. I’m grateful, however sad at the same time .
Renee Tone says
Michelle, did you try what you’d suggested back in January? Is Florida still saying no, even with all the death certificate documentation you have? If that’s true, that is crazy!
Michelle Lowrie says
Yes, Florida continues to refuse – even with the death certificate and my birth certificate to prove I am his daughter.
Renee Tone says
So essentially, they’re telling you that you have no right to this document and that you will never have a right to it. Talk about bureaucratic bullshit! That’s insane! I’m so sorry you’re being put through this! It’s such a shame that your dad didn’t pursue this himself while he was still able to.
Renee Bennett Tone says
If you have your biological grandparents’ death certificates, and if you get your adoptive grandparents’ death certificates, there should be no reason whatsoever that Florida should deny you your father’s OBC! Get your adoptive grandparents’ death certificates ASAP, if you haven’t already. And then contact the Bureau of Vital Stats in Jacksonville, FL, for an application and instructions. You should have no problem.
Renee Tone says
I understand your frustration, believe me! In my case, I was born in Florida but my adoption was finalized six months later in New York. I was able to get my OBC a year ago because I was nearly positive I knew my birth mother’s name and had sent away for her death certificate. I definitely knew my birth father’s name, because I’d confirmed it by having his son do a DNA test. I also sent for that death certificate. And my adoptive parents are also both deceased, so that part was simple. However, the potential complication was that I suspected my birth mother had lied about names. I included a letter expressing my suspicions. It took a couple of months, but I did receive a copy of the OBC, and it confirmed what I’d suspected: my birth mother had falsified her maiden name, had given a fake surname for my birth father, falsified his age and occupation, and their marital status. However, she did use their real first names. And the fake names were close enough to the originals that it was obvious what she had done, in an effort to protect her identity. I was lucky that the people at the Office of Vital Statistics didn’t simply refuse my request because on the face of it, the last names didn’t exactly match. They actually used common sense and realized I had the right people.
Renee Bennett Tone says
I understand how you feel, believe me! That said, however, it actually isn’t completely impossible. In my case, I had already figured out who my birth parents were through an Ancestry DNA search. Both of them were long since deceased when I found out who they were. I strongly suspected that my birth mother would have falsified her name and my birth father’s name as well, based on my surname listed on my adoption papers, which by then I already knew was not my birth father’s actual surname. When I submitted my application for my OBC, I included a letter indicating that their last name(s) might very well not match up with those on their death certificates. Fortunately, the people at Vital Statistics in Jacksonville had common sense and realized that the information I was submitting was valid after all (my birth mother HAD falsified the last names, but the first names were the same, and the fake last names were not so different from the rightful surnames). I was lucky. They might have been absurdly bureaucratic and rules-driven and refused my request. Go for it. It’s definitely worth a shot!
Michelle S Lowrie says
Oh, but he did. He requested his original unamended birth certificate, but they sent him the amended one. He was not happy when he called them and they refused to correct their error. But, by then, Dad was in the 4th stage of emphysema and was too tired to fight.
We were estranged (again) at that time, but reconnected a few months later. He died eleven months after we reconnected. But, not before agreeing that I continue to try to get his original unamended birth certificate, while also having my DNA tested and using my (then) 37 years of genealogy skills to find his parents without the paper.
Renee Tone says
Do you have the original paperwork that your father had, when he first sent away for his OBC? I mean a letter that he himself wrote and signed, requesting his OBC. Because it seems to me that if you could produce that, it would the nearest thing to your dad still being alive and requesting the document today. I can’t see how they could refuse you. You can prove that your father’s specific wish was to have his OBC.
Do you have his adoptive parents’ death certificates as well? Because you’d need all four, not just the death certificates of the birth parents.
My experience with the Office of Vital Statistics in Florida was very positive and reasonable. I feel like they would have to listen if you could produce all the documents, with special emphasis on a written request from your father.
Penny Dowell says
I have been searching for my brother who was born in Pennsylvania in 1970. He was relinquished at birth but was not adopted until he was a year old. I just found a close match to my information that I have but the adoptee that I found has a Florida birth certificate. I have read some of the above posts where it seems there is some speculation that Florida could have issued their own birth certificate instead of using the original state of birth on the certificate. I also read where it is mentioned that Georgia has a law allowing this to happen. Is it possible that in 1970 Florida may have also practiced this ?
Gregory D. Luce says
I have seen only one birth certificate that lists a birth from a different state, but it was Colorado. It is highly unusual, and I doubt that the match is the person born in Pennsylvania. It’s certainly possible but highly unlikely. The law in Georgia allows the state to change the location of birth to that of the residence of the adoptive parents but that can only be done if the birth was also in Georgia.
I think you probably have a close match but not the adoptee who was born in Pennsylvania.
Jeff R Jones says
Want to get my OBC and adoption file. Was born in Florida in 1966. I have located my birth mother recently. My adoptive parents have passed away. Should be a no brainer right? Is there a path available for this to happen without wasting a lot of time in the courts?
Yes. Contact the FLA Bureau of Vital Statistics and indicate you want to apply to receive your OBC. You will need to submit either a death certificate or a notarized letter of permission from your adoptive parents and your birth parents. You will fill out and have notarized a statement of your intent and include a copy of your photo ID, like a driver’s license. Submit all those things and you will get your OBC. I did this successfully a year ago. Good luck!
JoAnn Ballard says
I have a question. I was born and adopted in Florida. I live in Powderly,Texas. Where or who can I write to start the process of petitioning the court for my obc? Don’t know where to start since I am so far away
Robert Driscoll says
So what I am reading is – if you do not know your biological birth parents names, it is virtually impossible to get your OBC? I was born in Miami, FL in 1966; adopted in 1967, but the only information I have is that my adoption was a result of my birth parents having me as a result of an affair sooooooo there is no telling who my biological mom put down as my father.
Renee Tone says
Yes, you need to know your birth parent(s) name(s). It’s really unfair. I was able to get my OBC because I had figured out who my birth parents were, following a long search on Ancestry. I was able to get copies of their death certificates, plus those of my adoptive parents, and submit them to Florida’s Bureau of Vital Statistics. And even then, it was iffy, since I suspected my mother had lied about last names. She had. Fortunately, she kept the correct first names, and the people at Vital Stats used common sense instead of having a knee-jerk bureaucratic response.
Have you done a DNA test? That’s vital. And do it through Ancestry. Their database is the largest. Good luck!
Robert Driscoll says
Thanks for the response; definitely going to be a long process…haha
Kimberly A Hill says
I was adopted, in Florida, at birth, in 1964. My adoptive parents are deceased as is my biological mother. She refused to name my biological father. I assume, from what I’ve read here, that I stand no chance of getting my OBC, (which I think is total bs. I’m 55 yrs old for heaven’s sake!!). Correct?
Kelly Kalapp says
Have you done dna? If you are able to figure out who he is that might help.
I’m no expert but if he wasn’t named and you have all the other death certificates give it a shot.
I have to get my birth Mom to fill out and get notarized an affidavit that she is okay with me getting mine. I found her a year ago and we still haven’t met even though she lives 5 miles from me.
Charles Benton says
I was born in Fla in 1942 and adopted in Ohio in 1948 on my 6th Bday. I ran away from my adoptive home when I was 16 and started using my birth name. If I were born in Ohio they have a sunset law that would permit me to get my adoption file simply by request. Since I was born in Fla as I understand it, I don’t qualify. I have nothing in my adoptive name and cant get my original BC from Fla without a court order as I understand it.
I kno3 and have known since day one all parties concerned. They all knew and were aware of each other. My birth mother’s older sister was my adoptive mother. My Birth parents are deceased and so are my adoptive parents. I have not maintained contact with any of my family either adoptive or natural for over 60 years. I presently live in ca and i have very limited resources so lawyers are out of the question. The upcoming dealing to travel on airplanes requires that I have my birth records for proof of citizenship. I need a passport to get out of this Godforsaken country. If I stay here I will starve to death or end up living in a ally. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appricieated.
I should add that it’s very easy to send away for a death certificate. As long as you have the name and you know where the person died and pay a nominal fee, you can get it.
You CAN get your OBC in Florida. All you need are your adoptive parents’ death certificates and also your birth parents’ death certificates. You contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville and request the necessary forms to apply for your OBC. Fill out the application and a form you will need to get notarized, and submit them , along with a copy of your driver’s license and the death certificates. (Make copies for your own records.). I was born in Florida and adopted in NY. This is what I did to get my OBC.
ALL you need? I am trying to find out who my birth parents were/are.
Born in Miami Beach and adopted in NYC 6 months later. Adoptive Dad was an attractive and had all records “lost” in NY. Both adoptive parents deceased. Adoption was in 1965.
Have done 23 and me and only briefly connected with a second cousin who will not tell me anything .
What are reasons that a court would accept for allowing me to get my OBC?
I have spoken several times over the past 20 years to the Florida vital records; at one point a sweet lady told me that she had my original in front of her but could tell me nothing.
It’s absolutely maddening! I have the resources to go to court . Do you have any ideas on what reasons the court would allow?
Michelle Lowrie says
But, how long ago did you obtain in it, because that’s all they told me I would need when I called them about 1998, but when I called again shortly before my father (the adoptee) died in 2016, they said that the law had changed, and now only the adoptee can request the original. Dad was terminal and unable to talk to them at the time.
Pam Betts says
Can you tell me if a birth certificate in Florida showing the adopting parents (Not the OBC) will have anything different on it than the OCB? I gave my daughter up for adoption in Mississippi in 1971. She has been unable to get her OCB but the birth certificate showing her adoptive parents has a letter added to number on it. I’m assuming it is the certificate number.
Gregory D. Luce says
They can change significantly, usually with information from the original deleted and substituted with different information or left blank. It’s possible that is the certificate number but it’s hard to say without seeing the certificate. Was she born in Florida?
Amy E Behrmann says
What if one birth parent is deceased? I am in contact with my birth mom, but she has drug/alcohol issues and is flighty. I have the paperwork for her to sign to release them, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get with her to have them signed…
Gregory D. Luce says
If you are trying to get the OBC and a parent listed on the birth certificate is deceased, Florida requires that you include that parent’s death certificate in an application to get the OBC. As for getting a signed affidavit from a non-cooperative birthparent, that’s part of the ridiculousness of Florida law, which obviously disempowers adult adopted people and then shifts that power to parents.
Renee Bennett Tone says
I can’t speak definitively to your question, but I can answer based on my own experience, having been born in Florida and adopted in New York. In my case, the information on my amended birth certificate was different with regard to my adoptive parents’ names, addresses, and ages. That would be the information you’d expect would change, of course. Unexpectedly, the doctor’s name was different, however, although certificate number was the same.
I had hoped, when I finally did get my OBC, that it would contain information not included on my amended birth certificate: my time of birth and my birth weight. Disappointingly, my OBC contained neither. I guess such information wasn’t mandated back then.
Sloane Joseph says
Hi, I’ve read through most of these comments and none are quite the situation I’m in. I want my birth mother’s OBC. She is deceased and I’m not sure what city she was born in but I know she lived in Florida her entire life. I know Florida is a sealed state. Do I still petition the court with my adoptive parent’s notarized permission to unseal her OBC or is there another route I need to take? Thank you.
Michelle Lowrie says
Florida flat out told me that regardless of the fact that my father is deceased, state law only allows the adoptee to obtain the original OBC. So, there is no other recourse than to petition the courts.
Veronica Houck says
I was born in Florida in 1986. I know my biological parents names, however I am not 100% sure that the man listed on my OBC is my actual biological dad. I don’t really want to talk to my biological mom and have to ask her permission, but I guess I have no choice. It’s so messed up.
Gregory D. Luce says
This is why consent-based systems like Florida are so insidious, for the exact reasons you state. Asking for permission from a parent—when you are an adult—is ridiculous and sets up a dynamic that could become abusive or manipulative. I’m sorry you have to deal with Florida law. It is messed up.
Renee Bennett Tone says
It’s just so ridiculous that we adult adoptees are treated like babies in Florida, to require that we get permission from our four parents in order to see and obtain a document that is rightfully ours to begin with! We shouldn’t have to hope that our birth parents are already dead in order to make things easier. I would suggest that since you already know both your birth parents’ names, you include a letter with the application (and affidavits of permission or death certificates, whichever applies to your adoptive parents), stating that you suspect that the name listed as your bio dad’s on your OBC might be different than his real name. That was what I did, since I was pretty sure that my birth mother would have falsified her and my birth father’s names on the OBC. The kind people at Vital Statistics in Jacksonville, FL had enough common sense to know that the man named on the death certificate was actually the same person as the man named as my father on my OBC.
Veronica Houck says
Thanks! I am having a hard time getting the clerk of courts in the county I was born in to call me back 🙁
My dad (the adoptee) and all four of his parents are dead. Dad’s adoption took place in 1946. Florida still will not release his original, un-amended birth certificate to me, because their law requires that it only be released to him. Does anyone know how to rehydrate human ashes back into the form of a living, breathing human being, so I can get his certificate?
Leslie Marot says
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this situation: a child was adopted by a couple from Florida in the early 1970s from an orphanage in Ethiopia. The child was ~ 2.5 years old (preassembly born in March-May 1969). Most of the paperwork has been lost or stolen. How can this adoptee obtain a copy of her Florida birth certificate and proof of US citizenship?
Gregory D. Luce says
This is a very complicated case and I’d only advise securing an attorney. It’s highly unlikely the adoptee has a Florida-issued birth record unless it is a certificate of foreign birth. And the first step in these cases is always to make a FOIA request to USCIS for any immigration records. Again, with intercountry adoptees and citizenship issues, I highly recommend the adoptee find an attorney before taking any additional steps.
Ralph Maylott says
I was born in 1955 in Orange County, Florida, and adopted that same year in a step-parent adoption. Birth parents were never married, but my birth mother married and that man adopted me. I do not know my birth father’s name for certain, and believe that he is deceased. My birth mother and step-father are both deceased and I have their death certificates. Is that a circumstance in which I could obtain my OBC without a court order? Thanks for all that you do for adoptees.
Gregory D. Luce says
Under those circumstances you should be able to apply for your OBC with your mother’s death certificate. You would be denied, however, if your birth father was also named on the OBC.
Renee Bennett Tone says
Just curious: why would this adoptee be denied the OBC if the birth father was named? My birth father was named on my OBC. I was able to provide a death certificate for him, and I received my OBC, even though my birth mother altered his last name so that it was different from what was on the death certificate. If this person’s birth father is deceased, why wouldn’t a death certificate be enough for the OBC to be granted?
Gregory D. Luce says
It’s my understanding he doesn’t know the name of his birthfather, or at least not fully. If he does know the name and can obtain a death certificate for him then that would work, but if he’s not correct and his father (with a different name) is listed on the OBC then he wouldn’t get the OBC (I’m not sure if Florida is redacting names in such cases—I have not come across any).
Rich Williams says
I am an adult adoptee born in Florida in 1958. Both of my adopted parents are dead and I have copies of their death certificates. I have no knowledge of my birth parent names other than that my last name was listed as Wilson on my adoption court documents. Without knowledge of the identity of my birth parents, can I still request and get an OBC?
Gregory D. Luce says
Under current law you must have permission of birthparent(s) listed on the original birth record to request and receive your own original birth record. Permission can be by affidavit (if the birthparent is alive) or, as is my understanding of how Florida interprets the law, by providing a death certificate (if the birthparent is deceased). So, unless you can provide that “permission” to vital records the only recourse is to apply for a court order.
Sandra Farquhar says
What if you had an open adoption?
Gregory D. Luce says
All original birth certificates in Florida are sealed after an adoption, even in open adoptions.
Winford Nettles says
I was born in Plant City, Florida (Hillsborough County) on February 08, 1958. I was adopted on February 13, 1958 and the records indicate that the adoption was recorded on August 14, 1958 in the Circuit Court of Columbia County, Florida. My adoptive parents died many years ago, and, my birth parents are most likely deceased. Without a court order that gives me access to my original birth certificate, I have no way of tracking down who my birth parents were, and, thus, cannot obtain a certified copy of their death certificates, which is required to obtain a copy of my original birth certificate. This appears to be an injustice that is perpetrated by the court system in order to deny adult adoptee access to the information that is rightfully theirs. How can I obtain copies of death certificates for birth parents when their names are not known to me? I did obtain non-identifying information (a small amount) from the State of Florida Department of Children and Families, however, it is of little assistance in tracking down my birth parents names. Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m not getting any younger, you know.
Tammy Brown says
I was adopted in Florida in 1960, it was an closed adoption. My birth certificate has no doctor/hospital/midwife name on it it just says Jacksonville, FL which I heard all closed adoptions in 1960 would say Jacksonville no matter where you were born.
Both my adopted parents are dead, they never told me that I was adopted. An I assume my birth parents are dead too.
Can I find out how my birth parents were?