Adult adoptees in South Dakota do not have access to their original birth certificates except by court order. It is believed, however, that most court petitions for release adoption records—as outlined below–will also result in the release of an OBC.
Court adoption records are available for release to the adoptee upon petition to the court when the adoptee “reaches maturity.” This has been confirmed and supported by an official opinion of the South Dakota Attorney General.
South Dakota maintains a Voluntary Adoption Registry to facilitate contact between birth parents, birth siblings, and adoptees who are at least 18 years of age. It is a passive registry and does not provide search services.
Relevant South Dakota Law: Original Birth Certificate
34-25-8. Birth registration—Certificate of live birth—Time for filing—Availability of records
The birth of every child born in this state shall be registered as provided in this chapter. Within seven days after the date of each live birth, there shall be filed with the department by electronic means if a facility has such capabilities, or otherwise if electronic means are not available, a certificate of such birth. The certificate shall be upon the form prescribed by the department. For certificates of birth filed after seven days, but within one year from the date of birth, the department may, by rules promulgated pursuant to chapter 1-26, require additional evidence in support of the facts of birth.
Informational copies of birth records shall be available to any person who can identify the birth record by providing the name of the person on the birth record, the date of birth, the mother’s maiden name, or additional information required to locate the record. Nothing in this section prohibits the release of information contained on a birth record which would not identify any person named in the record.
If one hundred years have elapsed after the date of birth, the records of the birth in the custody of the department shall become available to the public without restriction. The department shall promulgate rules, pursuant to chapter 1-26, to provide for the continued safekeeping of these records.
34-25-16. Adoption information forwarded by clerk of courts
Within ten days after the filing of every original, amended, or annulled decree of adoption, the clerk of courts shall forward to the department such information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth on a form prepared by the department.
34-25-16.1. New birth certificate upon adoption of child born in state or foreign nation—Exception
If the birth occurred in South Dakota, the Department of Health shall issue a new certificate of birth in the new name of the child and with the name of the adopting person. However, a new certificate of birth may not be prepared if so requested by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents, or the adopted person.
If the birth occurred in a foreign nation and the adoption decree is entered in a court of this state, the Department of Health shall issue a new certificate of birth in the new name of the child and with the name of the adopting person. The birth certificate shall be prepared in accord with the facts as found and entered by the court. If the birth occurred in a foreign nation and the adoption was finalized in a foreign nation, any circuit court of this state may issue an order, ex parte and without hearing, directing that a new certificate of birth be issued upon filing the following documentation:
(1) A certified copy of the adoption order from the foreign nation;
(2) A certified translation of the adoption order if necessary;
(3) Proof of the date and place of the child’s birth;
(4) Proof of IR-3 immigration status; and
(5) Proof that each adopting person is a resident of this state.
The Department of Health shall issue a new certificate of birth in the new name of the child and the name of each adopting person upon receipt from the clerk of courts such information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth on a form prepared by the department.
The issuance of certificates pursuant to this section is conditioned upon the receipt of a fee based upon administrative cost as established by the department pursuant to chapter 1-26.
34-25-16.4. Sealing of original birth certificate after new certificate issued–Opening of sealed materials
When a new certificate of birth is established pursuant to §§ 34-25-15 to 34-25-16.2, inclusive, the original certificate of birth together with the adoption information or other evidence upon which a new certificate is made shall be sealed, filed, and may be opened only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by the secretary of health for purposes of properly administering the vital registration system.
Relevant South Dakota Law: Court Adoption Records
25-6-15. Restrictions on access to court records in adoption proceedings—Court order required for disclosure of information—Notice of hearing to department or adoption agency—Disclosure not contested nor supported
The files and records of the court in adoption proceedings are not open to inspection or copy by persons other than the parents by adoption and their attorneys, representatives of the Department of Social Services, and the child when he reaches maturity, except upon order of the court expressly permitting inspection or copy. No person having charge of any adoption records may disclose the names of any parents, or parents by adoption, or any other matter, appearing in such records, or furnish certified copies of any such records, except upon order of the court for the county in which the adoption took place or other court of competent jurisdiction except as otherwise provided by this section and §§ 25-6-15.1 to 25-6-15.3, inclusive. The court may not order disclosure of any matter appearing in adoption records unless the Department of Social Services or the licensed adoption agency has received notice of the petition for disclosure of such information and of the date fixed for hearing the petition. The Department of Social Services or the licensed adoption agency shall neither contest nor support the petition for disclosure during its hearing.
25-6-15.3. Registry of consents to release of identifying information
The Department of Social Services shall maintain a voluntary registry of those adoptees and natural parents who have presented a consent regarding the release of identifying information about themselves. Any consent shall indicate to whom the information may be released and whether the adoptee desires release of this identifying information after his death. A person who uses this voluntary register may revoke his consent at any time.