Adult adoptees in Maine have an unrestricted right to obtain their own original birth certificates upon request. Adoptees must be 18 years of age before requesting their OBCs. Maine allows a birth parent to file a contact preference and medical history form, which is attached to the original birth certificate. The contact preference form does not affect the release of the OBC.
Maine also maintains a voluntary adoption reunion registry that requires a “request for contact” before identifying information may be released.
Relevant Maine Law: Original Birth Certificate
Rev. Stat. Tit. 22 § 2765. New certificate of birth following adoption or legitimation
1. New certificate of birth. The state registrar shall establish a new certificate of birth for a person born in this State when the state registrar receives the following:
A. A certificate of adoption as provided in Title 18-A, section 9-304, or a certified copy of the decree of adoption along with the information necessary to identify the original certificate and establish the new certificate of birth, except that a new certificate may not be established if so requested by the adopting parents or the adopted person if the adopted person is at least 18 years of age;
B. A request that a new certificate be established and such evidence as the department may require by rule proving that the person has been legitimated.
1-A. Persons born in a foreign country. The state registrar shall establish a Maine certificate of birth for a person born in a foreign country and for whom a decree of adoption has been entered in a court of competent jurisdiction in Maine when the registrar receives the following:
A. A certificate of adoption as provided in Title 18-A, section 9-304; and
B. [1991, c. 167, §1 (RP).]
C. A request that a new certificate be established. A Maine certificate of birth may not be established, if so requested by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents or the adopted person, if the adopted person is 18 years of age or older.
1-B. Content of certificate. Any birth certificate issued under subsection 1-A shall show the true or probable foreign country of birth and shall indicate that the certificate is not evidence of United States citizenship for the child for whom it is issued or for the adoptive parents.
2. Original certificate not subject to inspection.
2-A. Certificate after adoption or legitimation. This subsection governs birth certificates after adoption or legitimation.
A. When a new birth certificate is established after adoption pursuant to subsection 1, paragraph A, or subsection 1-A, the actual place and date of birth, the names and personal data of the adoptive parents at the time of the child’s birth and the name of the child after adoption must be entered on the new birth certificate.
(1) At the request of an adopted person who is at least 18 years of age or of the adoptive parents of an adopted child under 18 years of age, the new certificate must carry a notation that it has been amended, all items that have been revised pursuant to the adoption decree must be identified, and the notation “court action” and the date of the adoption decree must be shown on the new certificate.
(2) If the birth certificate has been annotated pursuant to subparagraph (1), the annotation may be deleted in accordance with department regulations at the request of an adopted person who is at least 18 years of age or of the adoptive parents of an adopted child under 18 years of age.
B. When a new certificate is established after legitimation pursuant to subsection 1, paragraph B, the actual place and date of birth, the name of the child and the names and personal data of both parents at the time of birth must be shown. Notwithstanding section 2705, the new certificate may not be marked “amended.” The new certificate must be filed with all other birth certificates and is not subject to the provisions of section 2761, subsection 4.
C. When a new certificate of birth is established following adoption or legitimation, it must be substituted for the original certificate of birth. After that substitution, the original certificate of birth and the evidence of adoption are not subject to inspection except upon order of the Probate Court or the Superior Court or pursuant to section 2768. The application for legitimation may be released to persons listed on the original birth certificate upon completion of written application to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics or the registrar’s designee.
3. Original certificate restored. Upon receipt of notice of an annulment or revocation of adoption, the original certificate shall be restored to its place in the files and the new certificate and evidence of adoption shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a probate court or the Superior Court.
4. Delayed birth registration. If no certificate of birth is on file for the person for whom a new certificate is to be established under this section, a delayed birth registration shall be filed as provided by law before a new certificate of birth is established.
5. Copies of original certificate. When the new certificate of birth is established, the state registrar shall provide each municipal clerk who is required by law to have a copy of the certificate of birth on file with a copy of the new certificate of birth. In the case of a Maine certificate of birth established for a person born in a foreign country, a copy of the certificate must be provided to and must be maintained on file by the clerk of the municipality where the adoptive parents resided on the date of the adoption. All copies of the original certificate in the custody of any municipal clerk must be sealed from inspection, except as provided in section 2768, or surrendered to the state registrar as the state registrar directs.
Rev. Stat. Tit. 22 § 2768. Access to original birth certificate by adopted person
An adopted person, the adopted person’s attorney or, if the adopted person is deceased, the adopted person’s descendants may obtain a copy of that person’s original certificate of birth from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, referred to in this section as “the state registrar,” in accordance with this section.
1. Requirements. The adopted person must be at least 18 years of age and have been born in this State.
2. Application. The adopted person must file a written application with and provide appropriate proof of identification to the state registrar.
3. Issuance of birth certificate and forms. Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification pursuant to subsection 2 and fulfillment of the requirements of subsection 4, the state registrar shall issue a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth to the applicant. If a contact preference or medical history form has been completed and submitted to the state registrar pursuant to section 2769, the state registrar also must provide that information.
4. Fees; waiting period. The state registrar may require a waiting period and impose a fee for the noncertified copy provided pursuant to subsection 3. The fees and waiting period imposed under this subsection must be identical to the fees and waiting period generally imposed on persons seeking their own birth certificates.
5. Forms; rules. The state registrar shall develop by rule the data elements required in the contact preference form, medical history form and application form as required by this section and may adopt other rules for the administration of this section. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
Relevant Maine Law: Contact Preference and Medical History Form
Rev. Stat. Tit. 22 § 2769. Contact preference and medical history forms
The State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall provide upon request each birth parent a contact preference form and a medical history form as described in this section.
1. Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. “Adoptee” means the person who is the subject of a birth certificate.
B. “Birth parent” means the person who is the biological parent of an adoptee and who is named as the parent on the original birth certificate of the adoptee.
C. “Contact preference form” means the form developed by the state registrar pursuant to subsection 3.
D. “Medical history form” means the form developed by the state registrar pursuant to subsection 2.
E. “State registrar” means State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
2. Medical history form. The state registrar shall develop and distribute upon request to birth parents a medical history form. A birth parent may use this form to describe the medical history of the birth parent. A birth parent shall fill out a medical history form if that birth parent fills out a contact preference form.
3. Contact preference form. The state registrar shall develop a contact preference form on which a birth parent may state a preference regarding contact by an adoptee. The form must contain the following statements from which the birth parent may choose only one.
A. “I would like to be contacted. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.”
B. “I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.”
C. “Do not contact me. I may change this preference by filling out another contact preference form. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.”
4. Attachment of forms to birth certificate; treatment. Upon receipt of a completed contact preference form or medical history form, the state registrar shall attach the completed form to the original birth certificate of the adoptee. A completed contact preference form and medical history form have the same level of confidentiality as the original birth certificate.
Relevant Maine Law: Adoption Court Records
Rev. Stat. 18-C § 9-310. Records confidential
[Note: This portion of Maine law has been recodified from prior statute. The content is the same but the effective date of this recodification is July 1, 2019]
Notwithstanding any other provision of law and except as provided in Title 22, section 2768, all court records relating to an adoption decreed on or after August 8, 1953 are confidential. The court shall keep records of those adoptions segregated from all other court records. If a court determines that examination of records pertaining to a particular adoption is proper, the court may authorize that examination by specified persons, authorize the register to disclose to specified persons any information contained in the records by letter, certificate or copy of the record or authorize a combination of both examination and disclosure.
Any medical or genetic information in the court records relating to an adoption must be made available to the adopted child when the adopted child attains 18 years of age and to the adopted child’s descendants, adoptive parents or legal guardian on petition of the court.