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Alabama Adoption Laws

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Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Non-Identifying Information Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-31:

Non-identifying information is available to birth parents, adopted adults age 19 or older, and adoptive parents.

Nonidentifying information is limited to:

  • The health and medical history of birth parents and the adoptee
  • General family background
  • Physical descriptions
  • The length of time the child was in out-of-home care other than with the adoptive parents
  • The circumstances resulting in the adoption

If the court finds that any person has a compelling need for nonidentifying information that can be obtained only through contact with the adoptee, the birth parents, or the adoptive parents, the court shall direct the agency or a mutually agreed upon intermediary to establish contact with the adoptee, the birth parents, or the adoptive parents in order to obtain the information needed without disclosing identifying information. The information then shall be filed with the court and released to the applicant at the discretion of the court. The identity and whereabouts of the person or persons contacted shall remain confidential.

Obtaining Identifying Information:

If either birth parent has given consent under oath to disclose identifying information, then an adopted adult age 19 or older can receive identifying information along with a copy of the original birth certificate relating to the consenting birth parent. If no consent is on file, an adopted adult age 19 or older may petition the court to release identifying information. The court will then hire a confidential intermediary to contact the birth parents for consent. If the birth parents are deceased, cannot be found, or do not consent, the court will decide whether to release identifying information. The court may decide to grant consent to the petition to release identifying information but include a provision to restrict or prohibit contact between the parties.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ala. Code § 22-9A-12(c)-(d)
Any person age 19 or older who was born in Alabama and who has had an original birth certificate removed from the files due to an adoption may, upon written request, receive a copy of that birth certificate and any evidence of the adoption held with the original record.

A birth parent may at any time request from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics a contact preference form that shall accompany a birth certificate. The contact preference form shall indicate one of the following:

  • He or she would like to be contacted.
  • He or she would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary.
  • He or she would prefer not to be contacted at this time, but may submit an updated contact preference at a later time.

A medical history form shall be supplied to the birth parent upon request of a contact preference form. The medical history form and the contact preference form are confidential communications from the birth parent to the person named on the sealed birth certificate and shall be placed in a sealed envelope upon receipt from the birth parent. The sealed envelope shall be released to a person requesting his or her own original birth certificate.

Where the Information Can Be Located
  • Alabama Department of Human Resources
  • The licensed investigating agency appointed by the court per § 26-10A-19(b), (c)

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov)

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