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Requesting Adoption Records

Adoption Records

Requesting your adoption records in a closed adoption records state, while sometimes daunting, is definitely worth doing.  You may obtain:

  • Non-Identifying Information (Redacted Adoption Records)
  • Information On The State Reunion Registry
  • Intermediary Program Details

Obtaining your non-identifying information (redacted adoption records) can be very helpful in finding your birth parents.  We have already written several posts covering non-id, but because this subject is so important, let’s review again (we’ll cover reunion registries and intermediary programs in our next post). 

Non-identifying information / redacted adoption records typically contains your birth family’s health history and background information.  Sometimes, it will even contain the first names of your birth family members.  If an adoption agency or a county court provide you with redacted adoption records,  you’ll likely receive your entire file, however, information such as names, addresses and telephone numbers will be blocked out (usually with a magic marker).  South Carolina is a good example of a state that will supply you with redacted adoption records.   

More often, a social worker or court clerk will prepare your non-identifying information.  They will rewrite part or all of your adoption records but removes stuff like names, addresses and phone numbers. 

Having your Non-identifying information / redacted adoption records will not typically be enough to locate your birth parents.  However, later in your search, when you develop the names of your birth family, it can help you verify you have the correct family members and enable you to track them down. 

Depending on the state or agency holding your adoption records, there will generally be a charge for your non-identifying information.  Agencies sometimes charge as much as $150.00 for non-id /redacted adoption records.  It might take a few weeks to several months to receive your records.

To elaborate a bit further, non-id / redacted adoption records usually provides the ages and physical descriptions of the birth parents.  It will also list their occupations at the time of the relinquishment, their educational background and various other important details.  Family history of the extended family members is included as well.  Sometimes your redacted adoption records will include the reason you were relinquished.  Although non-id is usually accurate, it is not completely factual.  We have found on many occasions that the age listed for the birth mother is much younger than she really is (16 years old is very common).  A social worker or court clerk generally compiles, summarizes and redacts the adoption records and many details are subject to interpretation. 

When requesting non-identifying information / redacted adoption records, you should place a letter or waiver in your file asking for contact.  Most adoptees are not aware that they can place photos, waivers or letters in their file. 

Please write or call us for more information on obtaining your non-identifying information / redacted adoption records:

Find Your Birth Family

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  1. Ann M. says:

    I contacted the California Department of Vital Statistics in search of medical information and they replied that the records were sealed and they were unable to fulfill my request.