Original Birth Certificates. Nevada is a Restricted State. It takes a court order for Nevada-born adopted persons to obtain copies of their own original birth records.
Court Records. Court adoption records are only available by court order or by request if a birthparent and the adopted person are eligible to obtain information through the Adoption Reunion Registry.
Identifying Information. Upon request, adoption agencies may provide a copy of the court’s adoption decree and inform the adopted person if any birthparents are deceased. Otherwise, it takes a court order to obtain identifying information about the adoption, other than what can be obtained through the use of Nevada’s Adoption Reunion Registry.
Descendant Rights. Except through use of the state’s mutual consent adoption registry, descendants and relatives of an adopted person do not have specific rights to obtain the adopted person’s original birth record or any other identifying information.
Adoption Reunion Registry. Nevada maintains a free state adoption reunion registry that adoptees and birth relatives can use to seek identifying information and contact. It is available to adult adopted people, birthparents, and to “relatives within third degree of consanguinity.” The registry website has additional information about petitioning a court for records, including sample form packets that may be used.
Adult Adoption. Nevada law provides for the adoption of adults. The adopting parent must be older than the adoptee. Consent of the parties is required, as is the consent of the spouses of the adoptee and the adopting parent, unless the spouse does not have the capacity to consent.
Nevada Law: Vital Records and Birth Certificates
Relevant parts of Nevada vital records law. The entire Nevada vital records statute is available here.
NRS 440.303. Certificate of birth: Replacement of certificate written in foreign language; application for and preparation of new certificate written in English
1. A person whose birth certificate or other evidence of birth is written in a language other than English, or the parent or guardian of the person, may apply to the State Registrar for a birth certificate in the English language.
2. Application for a birth certificate pursuant to this section must be made in writing on a form supplied by the State Registrar and be accompanied by:
(a) The document for which a replacement is sought.
(b) A translation of the document.
(c) An affidavit executed by the translator before a person who is authorized to administer oaths, attesting to the accuracy of the translation.
(d) A certificate from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security which establishes that the person who is the subject of the document has entered the United States legally.
(e) The fee required by this chapter for the making and certification of the record of any birth by the State Registrar.
3. When the State Registrar receives an application and the documents required by this section, the State Registrar shall prepare a birth certificate and clearly mark it on its face: “ISSUED TO REPLACE A BIRTH RECORD FROM …………… IN THE ……………. LANGUAGE.”
§ 440.310. Certified reports and other documents pertaining to adoption: Duties of State Registrar; opening of sealed documents upon order of court
1. Whenever the State Registrar receives a certified report of adoption or amendment of adoption filed in accordance with the provisions of NRS 127.157 or the laws of another state or foreign country, or a certified copy of the adoption decree, concerning a person born in Nevada, the State Registrar shall prepare and file a supplementary certificate of birth in the new name of the adopted person which shows the adoptive parents as the parents and seal and file the report or decree and the original certificate of birth.
2. Whenever the State Registrar receives a certified report of adoption, amendment or annulment of an order or decree of adoption from a court concerning a person born in another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory or possession of the United States, or Canada, the report must be forwarded to the office responsible for vital statistics in the person’s place of birth.
3. Whenever the State Registrar receives a certified report of adoption or amendment of adoption filed in accordance with the provisions of NRS 127.157 concerning a person born in a foreign country other than Canada, the State Registrar shall, if the State Registrar receives evidence that:
(a) The person being adopted is a citizen of the United States; and
(b) The adoptive parents are residents of Nevada,
prepare and file a supplementary certificate of birth as described in subsection 1 and seal and file the report.
4. Sealed documents may be opened only upon an order of the court issuing the adoption decree, expressly so permitting, pursuant to a petition setting forth the reasons therefor.
5. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, upon the receipt of a certified copy of a court order of annulment of adoption, the State Registrar shall seal and file the order and supplementary certificate of birth and, if the person was born in Nevada, restore the original certificate to its original place in the files.
NRS 440.330. Registration of foundling; contents of report
1. Whoever assumes the custody of a living child of unknown parentage shall immediately report, on a form to be approved by the Board, to the local registrar of the registration district in which such custody is assumed, the following:
(a) Date of finding or assumption of custody.
(b) Place of finding or assumption of custody.
(d) Color or race.
(e) Approximate age.
(f) Name and address of the person or institution with whom the child has been placed for care, if any.
(g) Name given to the child by the finder or custodian.
2. The place where the child was found or where custody has been assumed shall be known as the place of birth, and the date of birth shall be determined by approximation.
3. The foundling report shall constitute the certificate of birth for such foundling child, and the provisions of this chapter relating to certificates of birth shall apply in the same manner and with the same effect to such report.
4. If a foundling child shall later be identified and a regular certificate of birth be found or obtained, the report constituting the certificate of birth shall be sealed and filed and may be opened only upon the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
Nevada Law: Adoption and Adoption Records
Relevant parts of Nevada adoption law related to court records and other adoption-related records. The entire Nevada adoption statute is available here.
§ 127.140. Confidentiality of hearings, files and records
1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 239.0115, all hearings held in proceedings under this chapter are confidential and must be held in closed court, without admittance of any person other than the petitioners, their witnesses, the director of an agency, or their authorized representatives, attorneys and persons entitled to notice by this chapter, except by order of the court.
2. The files and records of the court in adoption proceedings are not open to inspection by any person except:
(a) Upon an order of the court expressly so permitting pursuant to a petition setting forth the reasons therefor;
(b) If a natural parent and the child are eligible to receive information from the State Register for Adoptions; or
(c) As provided pursuant to subsections 3, 4 and 5.
3. An adoptive parent who intends to file a petition pursuant to NRS 127.1885 or 127.1895 to enforce, modify or terminate an agreement that provides for postadoptive contact may inspect only the portions of the files and records of the court concerning the agreement for postadoptive contact.
4. A natural parent who intends to file a petition pursuant to NRS 127.1885 to prove the existence of or to enforce an agreement that provides for postadoptive contact or to file an action pursuant to NRS 41.509 may inspect only the portions of the files or records of the court concerning the agreement for postadoptive contact.
5. The portions of the files and records which are made available for inspection by an adoptive parent or natural parent pursuant to subsection 3 or 4 must not include any confidential information, including, without limitation, any information that identifies or would lead to the identification of a natural parent if the identity of the natural parent is not included in the agreement for postadoptive contact.
§ 127.157. Report of adoption, amendment or annulment of adoption to State Registrar
1. After an order or decree of adoption has been entered, the court shall direct the petitioner or his or her attorney to prepare a report of adoption on a form prescribed and furnished by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. The report must:
(a) Identify the original certificate of birth of the person adopted;
(b) Provide sufficient information to prepare a new certificate of birth for the person adopted;
(c) Identify the order or decree of adoption; and
(d) Be certified by the clerk of the court.
2. The agency which provides child welfare services shall provide the petitioner or his or her attorney with any factual information which will assist in the preparation of the report required in subsection 1.
3. If an order or decree of adoption is amended or annulled, the petitioner or his or her attorney shall prepare a report to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, which includes sufficient information to identify the original order or decree of adoption and the provisions of that decree which were amended or annulled.
4. The petitioner or his or her attorney shall forward all reports required by the provisions of this section to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics not later than the 10th day of the month next following the month in which the order or decree was entered, or more frequently if requested by the State Registrar, together with any related material the State Registrar may require.
Nevada Law: Adoption Generally
Relevant parts of Nevada adoption law. The entire Nevada adoption statute is available here.
§ 127.005. Applicability
The provisions of NRS 127.010 to 127.1895, inclusive, govern the adoption of minor children, and the provisions of NRS 127.190, 127.200 and 127.210 and the provisions of NRS 127.010 to 127.1895, inclusive, where not inconsistent with the provisions of NRS 127.190, 127.200 and 127.210, govern the adoption of adults.
§ 127.020. Adoption of minor children; ages and consent
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2:
(a) A minor child may be adopted by one or more adults subject to the rules prescribed in this chapter.
(b) A person adopting a child must be at least 10 years older than the person adopted, and the consent of the child, if over the age of 14 years, is necessary to its adoption.
2. A court may approve the adoption of a child without regard to the age of the child and the ages of the prospective adoptive parents if:
(a) The child is being adopted by a stepparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle or first cousin and, if the prospective adoptive parent is married, also by the spouse of the prospective adoptive parent; and
(b) The court is satisfied that it is in the best interest of the child and in the interest of the public.
§ 127.160. Rights and duties of adopted child and adoptive parents
Upon the entry of an order of adoption, the child shall become the legal child of the persons adopting the child, and they shall become the child’s legal parents with all the rights and duties between them of natural parents and legitimate child. By virtue of such adoption the child shall inherit from his or her adoptive parents or their relatives the same as though the child were the legitimate child of such parents, and in case of the death of the child intestate the adoptive parents and their relatives shall inherit the child’s estate as if they had been the child’s natural parents and relatives in fact. After a decree of adoption is entered, any parent who has signed a relinquishment or given consent to terminate his or her parental rights is relieved of all parental responsibilities for the adopted child and shall not exercise or have any rights over the adopted child or the property of the adopted child. The child does not owe a parent whose parental rights have been terminated any legal duty and may not inherit from a parent whose parental rights have been terminated or his or her kindred. Notwithstanding any other provisions to the contrary in this section, the adoption of a child does not in any way change the status of the relationship between the child and any legal parent who is a petitioner and whose parental rights have not been terminated.
§ 127.165. When action to set aside adoption may be brought; presumption of child’s best interest after adoption is granted
1. A prior parent of a child may not bring an action to set aside an adoption after a petition for adoption has been granted, unless a court of competent jurisdiction has previously, in a separate action:
(a) Set aside the consent to the adoption;
(b) Set aside the relinquishment of the child for adoption; or
(c) Reversed an order terminating the parental rights of the parent.
2. After a petition for adoption has been granted, there is a presumption for the purposes of this chapter that remaining in the home of the adopting parents is in the child’s best interest.
Nevada Law: Adult Adoption
Relevant parts of Nevada adoption law related to adult adoptions. The entire Nevada statute related to adult adoptions is available here.
§ 127.190. Adoption of adults: Ages; agreement of adoption
1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any adult person may adopt any other adult person younger than himself or herself, except the spouse of the adopting person, by an agreement of adoption approved by a decree of adoption of the district court in the county in which either the person adopting or the person adopted resides.
2. The agreement of adoption shall be in writing and shall be executed by the person adopting and the person to be adopted, and shall set forth that the parties agree to assume toward each other the legal relation of parent and child, and to have all of the rights and be subject to all of the duties and responsibilities of that relation.
§ 127.200. Adoption of adults: Consent required
1. A married person not lawfully separated from his or her spouse may not adopt an adult person without the consent of the spouse of the adopting person, if such spouse is capable of giving such consent.
2. A married person not lawfully separated from his or her spouse may not be adopted without the consent of the spouse of the person to be adopted, if such spouse is capable of giving such consent.
3. Neither the consent of the natural parent or parents of the person to be adopted, nor of the Division, nor of any other person is required.
§ 127.210. Petition for approval of agreement of adoption; notice, investigation and hearing; decree of adoption
1. The adopting person and the person to be adopted may file in the district court in the county in which either resides a petition praying for approval of the agreement of adoption by the issuance of a decree of adoption.
2. The court shall fix a time and place for hearing on the petition, and both the person adopting and the person to be adopted shall appear at the hearing in person, but if such appearance is impossible or impractical, appearance may be made for either or both of such persons by counsel empowered in writing to make such appearance.
3. The court may require notice of the time and place of the hearing to be served on other interested persons, and any such interested person may appear and object to the proposed adoption.
4. No investigation or report to the court by any public officer is required, but the court may require the Division to investigate the circumstances and report thereon, with recommendations, to the court before the hearing.
5. At the hearing the court shall examine the parties, or the counsel of any party not present in person. If the court is satisfied that the adoption will be for the best interests of the parties and in the public interest, and that there is no reason why the petition should not be granted, the court shall approve the agreement of adoption, and enter a decree of adoption declaring that the person adopted is the child of the person adopting him or her. Otherwise, the court shall withhold approval of the agreement and deny the prayer of the petition.
Nevada Law: Adoption Reunion Registry
§ 127.007. State Register for Adoptions: Establishment; contents; release of information
1. The Division shall maintain the State Register for Adoptions, which is hereby established, in its central office to provide information to identify adults who were adopted and persons related to them within the third degree of consanguinity.
2. The State Register for Adoptions consists of:
(a) Names and other information, which the Administrator of the Division deems to be necessary for the operation of the Register, relating to persons who have released a child for adoption or have consented to the adoption of a child, or whose parental rights have been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, and who have submitted the information voluntarily to the Division;
(b) Names and other necessary information of persons who are 18 years of age or older, who were adopted and who have submitted the information voluntarily to the Division; and
(c) Names and other necessary information of persons who are related within the third degree of consanguinity to adopted persons, and who have submitted the information voluntarily to the Division.
Any person whose name appears in the Register may withdraw it by requesting in writing that it be withdrawn. The Division shall immediately withdraw a name upon receiving a request to do so, and may not thereafter release any information to identify that person, including the information that such a name was ever in the Register.
3. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, the Division may release information:
(a) About a person related within the third degree of consanguinity to an adopted person; or
(b) About an adopted person to a person related within the third degree of consanguinity,
if the names and information about both persons are contained in the Register and written consent for the release of such information is given by the natural parent.
4. An adopted person may, by submitting a written request to the Division, restrict the release of any information concerning himself or herself to one or more categories of relatives within the third degree of consanguinity.
Nevada Administrative Code: Non-Identifying Information
The full set of regulations that govern Nevada adoptions is here.
NAC § 127.371. Information provided by agency to public, biological parents, adoptive parents and adopted persons
An agency which provides child welfare services:
1. Shall inform the general public of the types of adoptions it provides.
2. Shall inform the biological parents, adoptive parents and adopted children it serves regarding the State Register for Adoptions.
3. May, upon request, provide to any biological parents it serves copies of any documents those parents execute relating to an adoption and advise those parents if the child has been adopted.
4. Shall, upon request, provide to the adoptive parents or other legal guardians of an adopted child, and to an adopted person who is at least 18 years of age, the following information, if available, in a form that does not divulge the identity of the biological parents:
(a) The location, date and time of birth of the adopted person.
(b) The weight, the length, and the size of the head and chest of the adopted person at birth.
(c) The scores obtained from any administration of an Apgar test of the adopted person near the time of birth.
(d) The type of blood, any known hereditary conditions, and the medical and psychological history of the adopted person.
(e) Whether the adopted person has siblings and, if so, their age and sex when the adopted person was placed for adoption.
(f) The age, race, height, weight, build, complexion, color of eyes and hair, marital status, religion, and educational, medical and psychological history of the biological parents when the adopted person was placed for adoption.
(g) The ethnic history of the biological parents.
(h) Any special interests or talents of the biological parents.
5. May, upon request, provide to an adopted person a copy of the court order for the adoption and may inform him or her if his or her biological parents are deceased.
Glenda Kramer says
I would like my original birth certificate in Nevada and i know I need a court order. I live in Texas, where do I need to get this court order? Here in Texas Or Nevada?
Gregory D. Luce says
If you were born and adopted in Nevada, the court order would need to come from the Nevada court where the adoption was finalized. If the birth was in Nevada but the adoption was in a different state, that gets a bit more complicated and it would be tough for anyone to figure out without getting a lawyer involved.
Anna Tully says
I was born/adopted in Nevada; fostered/adopted through Catholic Charities Las Vegas, but the adoption never finalized. I managed to get my obc from Nevada, but not a lot of answers from Catholic Charities about the information contained in my file of record with them. QUESTION: Do I have a legal right to the information in my file? QUESTION: Does confidentiality (per Section 127.140) still apply if all parental parties are deceased? How can I get access to review what is in my file? Thank you.
Glenda Dee Kramer says
I was also adopted in Nevada and now have the names of both my birth parents
I was born and adopted in Nevada. With the help of DNA from Ancestry (and several amazing Search Angels), we’ve been able to find a name for my birth mother. She was apparently a very reclusive woman. As of yet, we’ve not been able to positively identify if she’s deceased or not. Would the state confirm or deny our finding without getting a court order?
Bonnie Lee Cromwell says
I am a BM searching for my son. I have no info on whether he was adopted in NV although he was born in NV. What steps should I take to locate him?
Gary Peterson says
That sounds familiar. I did an ancestryDNA test to search utilizing the assistance of search angels and dna detectives.
Bonnie Lee Cromwell says
Not sure that reply was meant for my question or if so would you explain why.
Janis Wagner says
I gave birth to 2 children in the state of Nevada. I remarried and my husband at the the time adopted my children this was in the late 80s. My child want there birth names back. There bio father passed away in 2005. How can I help them get there OBC back so they can change there names. They are now 33 and 34 yrs of age.
Anna Senn says
They can start online to the Nevada Office of Vital Statistics and request their OBCs. Good luck.
DuBravac Gayle says
I just learned that NY changed its laws to give out the preadoption birth certificates to the adoptee and others. Is there anything in the works in NV or NC for such a law to be passed. I have adopted family members from both of those states.
Gregory D. Luce says
Both of those states have had legislation introduced in the last two years, but the legislation has been badly flawed (the North Carolina bill only applied to adoptees over 40 who knew who their birthparents were). I’m not sure who is leading those efforts or if it is organized.
Paul Peretic says
I was born in Ohio but adopted in Nevada. Both of my parents have passed, and I need a copy of the adoption paperwork in order to get a passport or a federal ID. Do I still need a court order to get a copy of my records?
Gregory D. Luce says
It is likely you’ll need a court order. But in cases where you only need the adoption decree for proof of adoption, they’re typically pretty lenient and provide a copy after writing a letter to the court. You should contact the court where the adoption occurred (it’s usually where the adoptive parents lived at the time of the adoption) and ask what you need to do to obtain a copy of your decree of adoption.
Paul Peretic says