The adoption process in the United States involves several specific processes and steps. People wanting to adopt have to go through interviews, a home study, and other such procedures to ensure the home would be suitable for a child.
In addition, they have to select an adoption agency for handing the paperwork to finalize the process. People who are not yet ready to become parents must also go through interview processes and find an agency to work with to help find a suitable home for their child.
Once the baby is born, an original birth certificate is issued that includes:
An original birth certificate is issued, regardless of when the adoption will take place. During the adoption processes, an amended birth certificate is issued that replaces the birth parents’ names with the names of the adoptive parents. The other details on the original birth certificate may also be changed, depending upon the nature and circumstances of the adoption.
The birth certificate is changed after the adoptive parents submit their adoption certificate through their local district court. The courts will review the certificate to ensure all information and documentation is provided, and, once approved, then the court notifies the state’s registrar’s office to create the amended birth certificate. The original birth certificate is stilled filed, but it is sealed and will remain confidential.
After this point, the information on the birth certificate only shows the amended details, not the original. For example, if the adoptive parents lose the amended birth certificate and need to order a birth certificate online because their child wants to get their driver’s license, it will show them as the birth parents—not the parents on the original birth certificate.
Currently, the process in the majority of the states is to seal the original birth certificate permanently and, in most cases, it will require a court order to have it unsealed. This means if access is needed, it can be an uphill battle to get the court to unseal the details of the original certificate, as courts will only unseal the original in unique situations.
For instance, a court will not unseal an original birth certificate just because the adopted child wants to know who their birth parents were, but it will consider unsealing it if is it for specific medical reasons.
However, in Oregon, Alaska, New Hampshire, Maine, Kansas, and Alabama, the process is not as restrictive. When an adopted child turns 18, they can petition the court to receive their original birth certificates and have them unsealed. There are various organizations working to try to get laws changed in the other states, so unsealing of an original birth certificate is not a complicated and complex process.
For assistance in obtaining a copy of your state issued birth certificate, please feel free to contact Fast Birth Certificates using our online submission form or call us at (415) 528-2585.