Oklahoma denies adult adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. Currently, nearly all adult adoptees in Oklahoma must obtain a court order and show good cause for the release of their original birth certificates.
Adoptees whose adoptions were finalized after November 1, 1997, however, may request their original birth certificates, which are subject to birth parent affidavits of non-disclosure. The law also prevents access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees who have any birth siblings under age 18 if those birth siblings are in an adoptive family and are also known to the adoptee.
Relevant Oklahoma Law: Original Birth Certificates
63 § 1-316—New Certificate of Birth
A. The State Commissioner of Health shall establish a new certificate of birth for a person born in this state, when the Commissioner receives the following:
1. An adoption certificate as provided in the Oklahoma Adoption Act, or a certified copy of the decree of adoption together with the information necessary to identify the original certificate of birth and to establish a new certificate of birth; except that a new certificate of birth shall not be established if so requested by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person; and
2. A request that a new certificate be established and such evidence as required by regulation proving that such person has been legitimated, or that a court of competent jurisdiction has determined the paternity of such a person.
B. When a new certificate of birth is established, the actual place and date of birth shall be shown. It shall be substituted for the original certificate of birth:
1. Thereafter, the original certificate and the evidence of adoption, paternity, or legitimation shall not be amended, nor shall it be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as otherwise specifically provided by law; and
2. Upon receipt of notice of annulment of adoption, the original certificate of birth shall be restored to its place in the files and the new certificate and evidence shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. The original certificate shall be restored and may be amended in accordance with Section 1-321 of this title.
10 § 7505-6.6. Certificate of Decree Filed
A. 1. For each adoption or annulment of adoption, the attorney or child-placing agency handling the adoption or annulment of adoption shall prepare and the clerk of the court shall prepare, within thirty (30) days after the decree becomes final, a certificate of such decree on a form furnished by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
2. Before the fifteenth day of each calendar month, the attorney or child-placing agency handling the adoption or annulment of adoption shall forward to the State Registrar the certificates prepared by the attorney or agency handling the adoption or annulment of adoption during the preceding calendar month. If a biological parent has filed an affidavit of nondisclosure pursuant to Section 7503-2.5 of this title, the attorney or agency handling the adoption shall attach the affidavit of nondisclosure to the certificate of such decree and forward it with the certificate to the State Registrar.
B. The State Registrar, upon receipt of a certificate of a decree of adoption, shall prepare a supplementary birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person with the names of the adoptive parents listed as the parents. The city and county of the place of birth, the hospital, and the name of the physician shall not be changed from the information provided on the original certificate of birth. If the adopted person was born in a foreign country, the State Registrar shall prepare a certificate of foreign birth.
C. The State Registrar shall seal and file the original certificate of birth, if any, with the certificate of decree of adoption and the affidavit of nondisclosure, if any, attached thereto. Upon receipt of a certificate of a court order of annulment of adoption, the State Registrar shall restore the original certificate to its original place in the files.
D. For adoptions finalized after November 1, 1997, the State Registrar shall provide an adopted person at that person’s request, with an uncertified copy of the person’s original certificate of birth at any time after the adopted person’s eighteenth birthday, if all of the following conditions are met:
- The adopted person has submitted satisfactory proof of identity;
- The adopted person has submitted an affidavit in which the adopted person state under oath that such person does not have a biological sibling under the age of eighteen (18) who is currently in an adoptive family and whose location is known to the adopted person; and
- The State Registrar has ascertained that at the time of the request there is no unrevoked affidavit of nondisclosure by a biological parent on file. However, if an unrevoked affidavit of nondisclosure from only one biological parent is on file and the other conditions have been met, the State Registrar may release to the adopted person an uncertified copy of the person’s original certificate of birth after deleting from that copy of the birth certificate any identifying information regarding the biological parent who filed the unrevoked affidavit of nondisclosure, including, if necessary, the original surname of the adopted person.
E. The State Registrar shall not disclose an original certificate of birth or other sealed adoption records, except as permitted by subsection D of this section, or upon order of the court for good cause shown pursuant to Section 7505-1.1 of this title.
10 § 7503-2.5. Consent to Adoption or Permanent Relinquishment
A. At the time that a written consent to adoption or permanent relinquishment is acknowledged by a biological parent before a judge of a court of this state, the judge shall advise the biological parent:
B. That an adult person born in the State of Oklahoma whose decree of adoption is finalized after November 1, 1997, may obtain such person’s original certificate of birth;
C. That, if affidavits of nondisclosure have been filed by both biological parents and have not been revoked by either biological parent at that time that the request for the original birth certificate is made by the adult adopted person, the original birth certificate will not be released to the adult adopted person; and
D. That if an unrevoked affidavit of nondisclosure by only one biological parent is on file with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics at the time that the request for the original birth certificate is made by the adult adopted person, identifying information regarding the parent who filed the unrevoked affidavit of nondisclosure will be deleted from the original birth certificate before it is provided to the adult adopted person. The identity of the parent who does not have an unrevoked affidavit of nondisclosure on file, if it is contained in the original birth certificate, will be disclosed.
E. 1. The judge shall ascertain whether the biological parent wishes to execute an affidavit of nondisclosure. If so, an affidavit of nondisclosure form shall be made available to the biological parent by the court and may be executed in the presence of the judge at the time the written consent to adoption or relinquishment for adoption is acknowledged.
2. An affidavit of nondisclosure signed at the time a consent or relinquishment is acknowledged shall be filed in the adoption action with the consent or relinquishment for adoption.
F. Affidavit of nondisclosure forms shall also be available in each district court clerk’s office and may be executed and filed by a biological parent in the court in which an adoption action is pending.
G. An affidavit of nondisclosure may be filed after a final decree of adoption has been entered.
H. A biological parent who has executed an affidavit of nondisclosure may revoke the affidavit of nondisclosure at any time by filing a revocation with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. Upon receipt of a revocation of an affidavit of nondisclosure and file it with the original certificate of birth and other records of the adoption.
I. The failure to follow any provisions of this section shall not be grounds to challenge a decree of adoption.
Relevant Oklahoma Law: Adoption Records
10 § 7505-1.1. Confidential character of hearings and records—Release—Exceptions—Misdemeanor
A. Unless otherwise ordered by the district court exercising jurisdiction over the adoption proceeding, all hearings held in proceedings pursuant to the Oklahoma Adoption Code shall be confidential and shall be held in closed court without admittance of any person other than interested parties and their counsel.
B. All papers, records, and books of proceedings in adoption cases and any papers, records, and books relating to such proceedings:
1. Shall be kept as a permanent record of the court and maintained in a separate file by the court clerk; and
2. Shall be confidential and shall not be open to inspection or copy except as authorized in Sections 7504-1.2, 7505-3.2, 7505-6.6, 7508-1.2 and 7508-1.3 of this title or upon order of a court of record for good cause shown.
C. Upon application and notice to the person or agency in whose possession the records being sought are held, and for good cause being shown, any court of record may, by written order reciting its findings, permit the necessary information to be released, or may restrict the purposes for which it shall be used. The findings shall include the reasons the information being sought cannot be obtained through the methods authorized by Sections 7504-1.2, 7505-3.2, 7505-6.6, 7508-1.2 and 7508-1.3 of this title.
D. The provisions of this section shall not prohibit persons employed by the court, the Department of Human Services, a child-placing agency, an attorney participating or assisting in a direct placement adoption or any physician, minister or other person or entity assisting or participating in an adoption from providing partial or complete identifying information between a biological parent and prospective adoptive or adoptive parent if a biological parent and a prospective adoptive or adoptive parent mutually agree to share specific identifying information and each gives written, signed notice of their agreement to the court, the Department of Human Services, the child-placing agency, or any attorney participating or assisting in the direct placement adoption pursuant to the Oklahoma Adoption Code.
E. Any person in charge of adoption records or having access to adoption records or information who discloses any information, including, but not limited to, all records and reports relevant to the case and any records and reports of examination of the minor’s parent or other custodian pertaining to an adoption proceeding, contrary to the provisions of this section, upon conviction thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
A. All records of any adoption finalized in this state shall be maintained for ninety-nine (99) years by the child-placing agency, entity, organization or person arranging or facilitating the adoption.
B. Child-placing agencies, attorneys, or other entities that facilitate adoptions who cease to operate or to practice in this state shall transfer their adoption records to the Department of Human Services, Adoption Division, or, after giving notice to the Department of Human Services, to a transferee agency that is assuming responsibility for the preservation of the agency’s adoption records.