Updates and modifications to the 50-state review of adoptee-rights laws (plus the District of Columbia). I keep this up-to-date so you know what I am doing and tweaking—and to assure you that my information is current.
|Replaced a dead link that the Iowa Department of Health had changed.
|Corrected links to the buttons on the page.
|Updated to reflect new information about obtaining your OBC
|Revised Vermont description and category to reflect new unrestricted equal rights law effective July 1, 2023
|Revised South Dakota description and category to reflect new unrestricted equal rights law effective July 1, 2023
|Added new law allowing amendment to the OBC of a previously omitted birthparent (effective July 1, 2023)
|Added provisions from new law effective May 16, 2023
|All States and D.C.
|Complete overhaul of the states and the District of Columbia, adding more issues to track, including court records, identifying information, descendant rights, and adult adoption provisions.
|Updated to reflect new law extending the right to obtain an adoptee's original birth certificate to the direct line descendants of the adoptee, if deceased.
|Added links to Oregon state website pages for requesting records; format changes.
|Format changes; added links to Illinois statutes
|Format changes only; no substantive changes.
|Tweaked metadata language describing the 2018 law; minor formatting of text
|Revised state law listings to reflect amended text and newly recodified vital records law
|Changes to specific provisions related to the reorganization of the Colorado Juvenile Justice Code.
|Updated statutory provisions to reflect new law, effective November 1, 2021. Updated description of the status of an adopted person's rights in the state.
|Revised effective date of new law from November 21 to November 1, 2021.
|Corrected typo in the effective date of Iowa's new law.
|Added new statutory language and description of the law to reflect lowering the age to request the OBC from 25 to 18.
|Added note to call attention to new law as well as providing new section of the law, effective September 28, 2021.
|Changed to reflect a new equal rights law effective July 1, 2021
|Modified icons for Iowa to reflect new law, effective May 19, 2021
|Rewrote introduction and included text of new law, effective May 19, 2021
|Tweaked language to omit the word "access." Added additional statutory provisions.
|Changed the term "Hawaiian-born" to person born in Hawai'i.
|Added provisions that deal with birth registration of intercountry adoptees (Sec. 7-54).
|Added notation that text in the subsection of the state's adoption laws has been deemed unconstitutional.
|Tweaked summary language to remove reference to disclosure vetoes and clarify New Jersey only allows redactions. Added date-based restriction, in that adoptions finalized on or after August 1, 2015, were not subject to redaction requests.
|Tightened language in the summary to that of a right-based issue rather than "access"
|Added statutory definitions and tweaked summary of state law
|Tweaked language to clarify a right to obtain the OBC rather than limiting it to "access"
|Added text of statutory provision 192.006: Supplementary Birth Certificates. Tweaked language describing rights in Texas.
|Added important statutory definitions and tweaked language describing compromised date-based rights
|Added statutory provisions related to adoption court records, including non-identifying information
|Tweaked language to reflect amended law, added link to enrolled bill, and changed text to conform to HB89.
|Added information about the new Utah law, effective November 21, 2021.
|Tweaked language regarding rights slightly; added link to instructions for requesting records.
|Changed link to Pennsylvania Department of Health; tweaked language slightly in describing the status of the state for requesting and obtaining OBCs.
|Tweaked language describing the state by removing the words "access" and generally substituting it with "rights."
|Added notification of newly enacted law, signed by Governor Cuomo on November 14, 2019
|Added 333.2891, which deals with free copy of a vital record provided to a child-placing agency for "adoption purposes."
|Added language of new law to reflect changes to Section 31-19-25-2; also updated links to Indiana Code to reflect 2019 version
|Added section 8-129 relating to non-identifying information
|Corrected dead links to statutes; added statute related to foreign certificate of birth
|Corrected links; no substantive changes
|Clarified that implementation of Vermont's new vital records law has been delayed to July 1, 2019.
|United States of OBC
|Updated and mucked around with the icons. That's all, seriously.
|United States of OBC
|Updated listing for states that have pending legislation
|Added notice of pending legislation in Florida
|Added notice of pending legislation in Massachusetts
|Rearranged order of statutes listed to be more consistent; added 48.94 regarding the option of a new birth record in the case of an adoption
|Added section 382.017, Florida' vital records provisions for foreign births and adoption
|Minor typographical correction in heading; added statutory definitions related to a request for an OBC
|Added statutory provision related to request for OBC by child of deceased adopted parent (Chapter 46 section 2C)
|Changed language in vital records provisions to reflect change in the law, which replaced "certificate" with "record"
|District of Columbia
|Modified the listing of the vital records law to reflect new law, known as the Vital Records Modernization Amendment Act of 2018
|Added information about the Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition
|Added the graduation cap icon to reflect requirement of high school graduation in order to request an OBC
|Changed description of Maryland on US maps to "compromised," though effectively the state remains restricted for nearly all adult adoptees
|Changed text and description to reflect new law now in effect; changed US maps to reflect that Arkansas is now a "compromised" state
|Added information about the California Department of Social services and services it may provide
|Added the form Alaska uses for an adoptee to request an original birth certificate
|Added relevant Ohio law concerning confidentiality of court records in an adoption
|Added link to information and forms used to request an OBC under the 2005 law (allowing release if adoptee knows the names of birthparents listed on the OBC)
|Added links to statutes; added comment that birthparents have a zombie veto in the state
|Added headings and fixed bad links; added missing provisions related to adoption records
|Added subdivisions A, B, and C to "Section 8-121. Confidentiality of information" to provide additional information and context
|Updated pages and maps to outline new law, effective July 1, 2018
|Added information about the new law, which is effective July 1, 2019
|Reorganized the relevant listing of the new law and corrected omissions of certain sections that did not originally appear on page. Added notation about contact preference form prohibiting release of identifying information when contact is requested through a third-party intermediary
|Slightly changed description of the right in Alabama to obtain an OBC upon request. No substantive changes.
|Removed mention of contact veto, as newly released contact preference form does not indicate it can be construed as a veto. Updated page with links to the Arkansas Department of Health website.
|Added portion of statute related to issuance of a new amended certificate after adoption
|Described who is an authorized requester under the new law, which includes direct descendants, siblings, adoptive parents, and spouses of adoptees.
|Updated links to Montana statutes to reflect the most recent version (2017).
|Added links in the sidebar to the Adoption Records Search Program, including regulations that govern that program
|Removed information about the vetoed bill (A5036B) and added information about the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition
|Revised the description of current access to reflect full implementation of new law
|Added "Contact Preference Form" as a tag for sorting, as it was erroneously omitted in the prior summary.
|Added new icon to indicate the record requested is not the record received. Updated description on page that outlines the new law and its interpretation and implementation.
|Updated Pennsylvania information and interactive maps to reflect new law in effect on November 3, 2017
|Added statute sections dealing with issuance of new birth certificates; added statutory language regarding who may request a birth record
|District of Columbia
|Added information about U.S. District Court jurisdiction over pre-1957 adoptions; added resources for DC Code and Regulations
|Clarified that OBC access law also applies to person whose birth was legitimated or whose paternity was later established. Also clarified that the OBC is provided as well as "any evidence of the adoption, legitimation, or paternity determination held with the original records."
|Added information about petitioning the court in Orleans Parish, including a link to the information packet and blank petition form
|Added years when OBCs and court records were first sealed; added links to sessions laws for each of those years
|Corrected broken links to statutes; added statutory provision concerning birth parent contact preference forms
|Added statutory provision related to new certificates of birth; reorganized listing of statutes
|Added all statutory provisions under sections 382.015 (original birth certificates) and 63.162 (adoption records and identifying information).
|Added official attorney general opinion on application of South Dakota statute for release of adoption records to adult adoptees
|United States of OBC
|Removed pending legislation symbols from Connecticut and South Carolina, as pending bills did not advance.
|Added August 1, 2018, as the date adoptees may request their adoption file under the new Arkansas law
|Renamed "Conditionally Restricted" states to "Compromised Access" for better clarification
|Reclassified South Dakota from "Restricted" to "Compromised." Court orders are required but are routinely granted. Court discretion, however, may still be available.
|Updated to provide language from new law that expanded who may request or obtain identifying information from the state's public adoption agency. Removed reference to pending legislation that would have provided unrestricted access to the OBC (bill did not advance).
|Removed pending legislation information and link, given SB329 did not advance to a vote in the Texas legislature
|United States of OBC
|Removed pending legislation symbols from Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and Texas, as pending bills did not advance.
|Added pending legislation symbol and information on House Bill 823.
|Added information about redaction in cases where birthparent requests contact through intermediary. Also added "Redaction" as a tag and provided link to Missouri regulations that implement the law.
|Tagged Rhode Island as a "Voluntary Adoption Registry" state
|Added statutory provision on "Replacement Birth Record" and clarified information on data privacy act
|Added IC § 31-9-2-54 (definition of "identifying information")
|Removed "Restricted" symbol on state listing and replaced it with "Conditional" along with date-based access and disclosure veto
|Listed additional statutory provisions for vital records law; tweaked summary in response to advocate feedback
|Listed additional California statutory provisions related to issuance of new birth certificate
|Removed redaction symbol for OBCs on overall state listings