Adult adoptees in Kentucky do not have unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. A court order is required.
Adult adoptees may request to inspect their adoption records, but inspection is contingent upon on birth parent consent or court order.
Relevant Kentucky Law: Original Birth Certificate
199.570(2-3). Adoption records confidential — Exception — New birth certificate
(2) After entry of the adoption judgment, the clerk of the Circuit Court shall promptly report to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services of Kentucky full information as called for on forms furnished by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, necessary to make a new birth certificate conforming to the standard birth certificate form. Upon receipt of this information, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall cause to be made a new record of the birth and it shall be filed with the original certificate, and the original certificate shall be stamped with the words, “CONFIDENTIAL — subject to copy and/or inspection only on written order of the court.”
(3) The new certificate shall set forth the new name, if any, of the adopted child, the names of the adoptive parents, and such other information deemed necessary in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in issuing of birth certificates. If the adopted child is under eighteen (18) years of age, the birth certificate shall not contain any information revealing the child is adopted and shall show the adoptive parent or parents as the biological parent or parents of the child. If requested by the adoptive parents, the new birth certificate when issued shall contain the location of birth, hospital, and name of doctor or midwife. This information should be given only by an order of the court in which the child was adopted. The new birth certificate shall recite the residence of the adoptive parents as the birthplace of the child and this shall be deemed for all legal purposes to be the birthplace of the child. If no birth certificate is on file for a child born in Kentucky, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall prepare a certificate of birth in accordance with the information furnished the cabinet by the clerk of the Circuit Court which issued the adoption order. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall furnish to the clerks of the Circuit Courts the necessary forms to carry out the provisions of this section. If the child was born in another state, the order of adoption shall be forwarded to the division of vital statistics of the state concerned to be changed in accordance with the laws of such state. If the child was born in a foreign country, the report of adoption shall be returned to the attorney or agency handling the adoption for submission to the appropriate federal agency.
Relevant Kentucky Law: Adoption Records
199.572 Inspection of adoption records — Limitations
(1) At the time the biological parents give up the child for adoption, they shall be asked by the cabinet whether they consent to the inspection of the adoption records, to personal contact by the child, or to both when he becomes an adult. If consent is then given, it can later be revoked. If consent is withheld at that time, the biological parents may give consent at any later time. The initial written statement of consent or refusal of consent to inspection of records and personal contact shall be filed with the Circuit Court not later than the date of finalization of the adoption proceedings. When a written consent is on file, the records shall be available to the adult adopted person, upon his request therefor in writing.
(2) When any adult adopted person applies in person or in writing to the Circuit Court for authorization to inspect all papers and records pertaining to the adoption proceedings of that adult adopted person as provided in KRS 199.570(1), and the biological parents have previously refused consent to inspection of records and to personal contact, the court may, if satisfied as to the identity of the adult adopted person, authorize the adult adopted person to inspect the papers and records if written consent is obtained from the biological parents identified on the adult adopted person’s original birth certificate.
(3) The Circuit Court shall, within seven (7) working days of the receipt of the request, direct the secretary of the cabinet to notify each biological parent identified on the adult adopted person’s original birth certificate that the person has applied to the court for information identifying the biological parent. Within six (6) months of receiving the notice of the request of the adult adopted person, the secretary of the cabinet shall make complete and reasonable efforts to notify each biological parent identified on the adult adopted person’s original birth certificate. The secretary may charge a reasonable fee not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) to the adult adopted person for making this search. Every child-caring facility and child-placing agency in the Commonwealth shall cooperate with the secretary in his efforts to notify these biological parents.
(4) If the cabinet utilizes the services of another person or entity to perform a search under subsection (3) of this section, the cabinet shall enter into a formal contract with that person or entity. A person or entity contracted to perform a search shall be licensed under the provisions of KRS Chapter 329A.
(5) The notification of the biological parents shall not be by mail and shall be by personal and confidential contact by the cabinet. The notification shall be done without disclosing the identity of the adult adopted person. The personal and confidential contact with the biological parents shall be evidenced by filing with the Circuit Court an affidavit of notification executed by the person who notified each parent and certifying each parent was given the following information:
(a) The nature of the information requested by the adult adopted person;
(b) The date of the request of the adult adopted person;
(c) The right of the biological parent to file, within sixty (60) days of receipt of the notice, an affidavit with the Circuit Court stating that the adult adopted person shall be authorized to inspect all papers and records pertaining to his adoption proceedings;
(d) The right of the biological parent to file at any time an affidavit authorizing the adult adopted person to inspect all papers and records pertaining to his adoption proceedings; and
(e) The right of a biological parent to file an affidavit with the Circuit Court stating that all papers and records pertaining to the adoption proceedings of the adult adopted person shall not be open for inspection by the adult adopted person.
(6) The adult adopted person shall not be authorized to inspect the papers and records pertaining to his or her adoption proceedings unless those biological parents identified on the original birth certificate agree in writing to that inspection.
(7) If after diligent and reasonable effort, the secretary of the cabinet certifies that both biological parents identified in the original birth certificate are deceased or the secretary is unable to locate said parents, then a judge of the Circuit Court, upon motion of the adult adopted person, may order that all papers and records of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and those of the Circuit Court pertaining to the adoption shall be open for inspection to the adult adopted person. In any case, the court shall order that only identifying information about the biological parents be shared with the adult adopted person.