The security and legal structures surrounding access to original birth certificates are immense, complex, confusing, and humiliating, specifically for adult adoptees who are forced to maneuver through such systems.
I’m initiating a project today to collect stories and facts about the adoptee experience in getting what’s rightfully theirs. Including stories of people who don’t want to request anything.
Indiana does not recognize adult adoptees’ unrestricted right to obtain their own original birth certificate. While a new law expands the release of “identifying information,” which includes an OBC, a birthparent may prohibit release of that information at any time.
Illinois does not provide all adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. The state uses tiered-access and redactions to limit unrestricted access to certain adult adoptees.
Wyoming does not provide adult adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. It takes a court order for release of an OBC, and there are no specific standards or procedures outlined for seeking such an order.
Wisconsin law does not provide adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. Wisconsin “impounds” original birth certificates after adoptions and releases them only by court order or through Wisconsin’s Adoption Records Search Program.
West Virginia does not provide adult adoptees with unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. A court order, requiring good cause, is required before the release of an OBC.
Washington does not allow adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. An OBC is available through the Department of Health but release is subject to birth parent disclosure vetoes as well as to corrupt contact preference forms.
Virginia does not provide adult adoptees an unrestricted right to request and obtain their own original birth certificates. Release of an OBC requires either a) a state agency’s decision, upon good cause shown, to release identifying information from the adoption records; or b) a court order upon good cause shown.
Vermont does not allow adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. Access may be obtained through a probate court order or by adoptees who are at least 18 years of age and who have already obtained identifying information from Vermont’s Adoption Registry.