How to Find Adoption Records

If you were adopted, you likely have questions about your birth parents, where you were born, your citizenship, and more. To answer those questions you’ll need to obtain your adoption records.

To find those records you’ll have to contact the county clerk or Vital Records Office where the birth took place.

By doing so you can find out very meaningful information about your parents and yourself. Depending on the laws of your state and county it may be more or less challenging to access this information.

If you need any adoption records you will have to complete a few steps to obtain the documentation.

Information Found on Adoption Records

Most people who want access to adoption records are interested in obtaining their original birth certificate. It holds a lot of critical details that can be essential when it comes to finding out more about an adoptee’s family history and even medical outlook.

At a minimum, an adoption record will typically include an:

Not all states allow for the original birth certificate to be accessed unless in an emergency or for medical purposes.

However, non-identifying information is available in every state including those that have restrictions on access to adoption records.

Information that is considered non-identifying includes:

  • Date and location of the adoptee’s birth
  • Physical description and age of birth parents
  • Ethnicity and religion of the birth parents
  • Medical history of the birth parents
  • Siblings of each birth parent
  • Educational level and occupation of the birth parents when the adoption occurred

With these details, you can still learn about your genealogy and receive essential medical information

Ways to Access Adoption Records in an Open State

In 9 different US states there is currently unrestricted access to adoption records or original birth certificates. That means as an adult you can simply request an original birth certificate at your local Vital Records Office and be given access to key identifying information.

Identifying information includes:

  • Current and or/past names
  • Addresses
  • Employment

You will need to meet the state requirements for accessing adoption records in an open state.

These states typically request that you provide a form of identification, such as a birth certificate and payment of a fee.

The fastest way to receive your birth certificate is with our online application, allowing you to apply for your vital record without any delays due to errors.

Once you have your birth certificate you can then access your adoption records.

The Process to Obtain a Closed Adoption Record

If you are looking for records concerning a closed adoption the process of obtaining any of these documents will be more difficult.

If you were adopted and would like to get your sealed adoption records, follow these steps:

  1. Go to where the adoption took place and find out the requirements that must be met to access the records from the county clerk.
  2. Complete the petition form and submit it for review by the county court.
  3. Explain to the judge in the county court the reason you need to access closed adoption records.
  4. If you are permitted to view the records, you can see them yourself or select a private intermediary.

A judge has the authority to not allow you or anyone else access to the closed adoption records. However, you will normally be permitted if it is for medical or emergency purposes.