Laws and Legislation

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STATE

Enacted or Current State Legislation

FEDERAL

Enacted or Current Federal Legislation

 

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Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021

This bill closes a loophole that has resulted in deportation of some international adoptees, and provides for the automatic acquisition of citizenship.

Foster Youth Legislation

Searchable database of related federal legislation.

Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978

The Congress hereby declares that it is the policy of this Nation to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families...

Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000

Requires the Department of State, through the Secretary of State, to serve as the central authority of the United States with respect to implementation of the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption done at the Hague on May 29, 1993.

Accuracy for Adoptees Act (2014)

An Act to require Certificates of Citizenship and other federal documents to reflect name and date of birth determinations made by a State court and for other purposes.

Current and Past Adoption-related Bills

Searchable database of related federal legislation.

Alabama

In 2000, AL became the fourth state after TN, OR and DE to repeal its 1990 law denying adult adoptees access to records upon request, and replaced it with a statute that includes an option for a birth parent to complete a Contact Preference Form and Medical History Statement.

Alaska

Has always provided original birth certificates to adult adoptees upon request and proof of identification.

Arizona

"Sandwich" bill that was amended by opponents to provide OBC access for prospective and pre-1968 adoptions. Order a pre-1968 OBC here

Arkansas

HB1636

A 2017 AR bill provided access to the adoption file for adoptees age 21 and up, subject to a birth parent redaction option.  Click here to learn more about how the statute works.

Colorado

Landmark prospective legislation that removes gamete "donor" anonymity and provides other protections for donor-conceived persons starting in 2025.  Signed by governor 5/31/22.

SB 14-051

Provided full prospective and retrospective access to certain adoption records to adult adoptees, their descendants, and certain other family members in 2014, following decades of incremental changes. Birth/first parents have the option to complete a Contact Preference Form. Click here to learn how to obtain records.

HB 14-1042

Provided birth/first parents access to copies of records they signed during the relinquishment process.

HB 15-1355

Provided former wards of the state with information about siblings separated by relinquishment and adoption. 

Connecticut

Repealed the state's previous "sandwich" law, provides access to OBCs for adult adoptees, regardless of when the adoption took place. Click here for instructions about how to order a CT original birth certificate.

Delaware

This 1998 bill changed Delaware law to allow adult adoptees, age 21 and over to obtain a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate, subject to a birthparent nondisclosure request/renewal within the most recent three year period. Click here  for instructions and request form.

Florida

Release of Adoption Information. Filed 12/29/21 in the Senate, 1/8/22 in the House. By Sen. Rodriguez (R - Doral) and Rep. Casello (D - Palm Beach) Did not receive a committee hearing.

Click here to learn more about Florida's legislative and case law history.

Hawaii

In 2016, HI repealed its statute which provided  birth/first parents with the opportunity to file a confidentiality request affidavit, and replaced it with "unfettered access" for  adults adopted in HI.  For details on how to apply via Family Courts, click here

Idaho

Prospective records access bill applying to adoptions finalized on and after July1, 2022. Shifts presumption of the law so that adoptees age 18 and older will have access to the OBC. Birth/first parents have the option to complete a Contact Preference/Name Redaction form. Signed by governor 3/28/22.

Illinois

In 2011, IL provided adult adoptees (age 21 or older), birth parents, and descendants access to OBCs. Birth parents have the option to provide medical history or decline release of identifying information, with no guarantee that such information has not been released after  11/15/2011.

Indiana

SB 91

This 2016 measure, signed by then-Governor Mike Pence, provided increased access to records for adoptees adopted between 1941-1994. Post-1994 adoptees already had access.  The bill took effect in 2018, following a wait period in which a birth parent could file a Contact Preference/Disclosure Form. Click here for more details.

Iowa

Provides access to adult adoptees and descendants, if the adoptee is deceased. Signed into law 5/19/21. Click here to learn how to order an OBC from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Birth/first parents have the option to complete a Contact Preference Form, including the option to request name redaction.

Kansas

Section 59-2122

Kansas has always provided adult adoptees with direct access to their OBC upon request and proof of identification.

Louisiana

Repeals 1977 statute and restores direct access to original birth certificate for adult adoptees. Birth/first parents will have the option to file a Contact Preference Form. Signed by governor 6/20/22 to become Act 470.

Maine

In 2008 Maine restored adult adoptee access to their OBC. Birth/first parents have the option to complete a Contact Preference Form and Medical History Form.

Massachusetts

An Act granting equal access to original birth certificates to all persons born in Massachusetts. Repeals "sandwich"law in favor of unfettered direct access for adult adoptees. Signed by Gov. Baker.

Minnesota

Adult adoptee governing provisions modified relating to accessing original birth records and other adoption-related information. Carryover bill from 2021, withdrawn before a committee vote.

Missouri

In 2016, adult adoptees and their descendants gained increased access to original birth certificates without a court order. A birth parent has the option to file a Contact Preference Form and Medical History Statement. The form states that a birth parent may still be contacted, regardless of nondisclosure preference. A 2011 bill, SB 351, had previously  increased access to other adoption records. Click here for more details.

Montana

Section 42-6-109

Hybrid "sandwich" law.  Provides OBC access to persons adopted before 10/1/85, or age 30 or older. For persons adopted on or after 10/1/97, OBC is available upon request at age 18, subject to birth parent nondisclosure request. OBC is available to adopted persons seeking to become enrolled in an Indian tribe.

New Hampshire

NH restored access to the OBC for adult adoptees in 2005. The statute provides birth/first parents the option to complete a non-binding Contact Preference Form.

New Jersey

P.L. 2014, C.g

NJ changed its law in 2014, and began releasing records to adult adoptees in 2017, after a period in which birth/first parents were allowed to file a contact preference/disclosure form. Click here for more details.

New York

Provides prospective and retrospective access to the OBC for adult adoptees upon request and proof of identification. Signed by governor 11/14/19.  Click here to order a NY OBC.

Ohio

In 2013, OH repealed a 1964 statute that had prospectively sealed records from adult adoptees.  The measure, which allows some birth parents to request non-disclosure of identifying information, based on the date of the adoption, went into full effect in 2015. Click here for more details.

Oregon

Measure 58

In 1998, OR voters made it the second state to provide adoptees (age 21 or older) with prospective and retrospective access to original birth certificates, culminating in a 2000 State Court of Appeals ruling. A Contact Preference Form was later added by the state legislature.

SB623

In 2013, OR expanded records access for adult adoptees to lower the age of access from 21 to 18, and  include the adoption file, except the Home Study, which became available via court order. It also provided birth/first parents with copies of documents they signed upon request, rather than court order.

Pennsylvania

Act 127

This 2017 bill repealed a 1984 law that sealed records from adult adoptees. Birth parents have the option to complete a Contact Preference/Nondisclosure and Medical History Form. High school graduates over age 18 are eligible to receive a limited summary of information contained in the OBC.

Rhode Island

Lowers required age for OBC access from 25 to 18. Signed by governor 7/8/21. RI made OBCs available to adoptees age 25 and older upon request in 2011. Birth/first parents may file a Contact Preference Form. Click here for more details. 

South Carolina

A retrospective bill to allow adult adoptees access to original birth certificates under certain circumstances, similar to prospective mutual consent bill H3775, signed by governor 5/7/18.

Tennessee

TN was the first state to restore access to records for adult adoptees in 1996, culminating in a State Supreme Court ruling. This bill removes the contact veto registry and the advance notice registry and makes other related changes to adoptions records, as described. Signed by governor 4/7/21.

Texas

The TX House unanimously passed this bill, which stalled in the Senate, in 2021. Current TX law allows access to the OBC by mutual consent, if the adult adoptee knows the name of the birth parent  listed on the OBC, or by court order.

Utah

Effective November 2021, Utah no longer requires a court order for an adoptee to obtain a non-certified copy of the OBC if a birth parent consents or is deceased. Get more details here.

Vermont

Divides conditions of access to identifying information via the state registry into pre- and post-1986 adoptions. Signed by governor 5/3/22. Birth/first parents have the option to file a Contact Preference Form, and until 7/1/23 may file a request for nondisclosure of identifying information.  Starting 7/1/23, adult adoptees have "unrestricted access" to their OBC via Vital Records, regardless of when the adoption took place.

Washington

In 2013, WA state amended its statute to provide adult adoptees with access to their OBC upon request, subject to a birth parent nondisclosure request, which expires upon the death of the birth parent. A birth parent may receive a copy of the OBC, and  may also file a Contact Preference Form and updated Medical History Statement.

Wisconsin

Relating to an adult adoptee's impounded original birth certificate. Heard in committee without a vote.

SB524/AB527   

Relating to: access to a deceased adoptee's original birth certificate and information about birth parents by an adult child of the adoptee.  Signed by governor 3/4/22.

Search Open States Database

Use this helpful resource to view current and past bills.  

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