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Colorado Adoption Laws

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Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-304; 19-5-305

The following persons may have access to adoption records:
  • The adoptee who is age 18 or older
  • The birth parents
  • The adoptive parent, custodial grandparent, or legal guardian of a minor adoptee
  • An adult descendant of an adoptee or the adoptive parent, with the written consent of the adoptee
  • The adoptee's spouse, adult stepchild, or adopted adult sibling, with the consent of the adoptee
  • The birth grandparent with the consent of the birth parent
  • The legal representative of any of the above listed persons
  • A former foster child who may or may not have been adopted, who is age 18 or older, and who is searching for a birth sibling who is also age 18 or older, who may or may not have been adopted and who may or may not have been in the foster care system


Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-305

For adoptions finalized prior to 9-1-1999: Access to the adoption record is available through a confidential intermediary who must obtain consent from the parties before release of information.

For adoptions finalized on or after 9-1-1999, all adoption records shall be open to inspection by persons listed above. Adoption records, as defined by § 19-1-103, include:

  • The adoptee's original birth certificate and amended birth certificate
  • The final decree of adoption
  • Any nonidentifying information
  • The final order of relinquishment
  • The order of termination of parental rights

'Nonidentifying information' means information that does not disclose the name, address, place of employment, or any other material information that would lead to the identification of the birth parents and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The physical description of the birth parents
  • The educational background and occupation of the birth parents
  • Genetic information about the birth family
  • Medical information about the adoptee's birth
  • Social information about the birth parents
  • The placement history of the adoptee

The State registrar shall prescribe an updated medical history statement that a birth parent may submit with the completed contact preference form. The medical history statement shall be a brief narrative statement written by the birth parent indicating medical information about the birth parent or other biological relatives.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-304; 19-5-305

Any of the parties listed above may file a motion with the court to appoint a confidential intermediary to determine the whereabouts of such individual's unknown relative or relatives. No one shall seek to determine the whereabouts of a relative who is younger than age 18.

The State registrar shall make available to any birth parent named on an original birth certificate a contact preference form on which the birth parent may state a preference regarding contact by an adult adoptee, an adult descendant of an adoptee, or a legal representative of the adoptee or descendant. The contact preference form shall allow the birth parent to voluntarily include his or her contact information in the adoption record and shall provide him or her with options to indicate a preference regarding whether he or she would or would not prefer future contact with the adoptee or adult descendant of the adoptee and, if contact is preferred, whether the birth parent would prefer contact directly or through a confidential intermediary or a child placement agency. The contact preference form shall also indicate that the birth parent can change his or her contact preference form by notifying the State registrar in writing.

Using a Confidential Intermediary:

Adopted adults, adoptive parents, birth parents, and birth siblings and half-siblings age 18 or older may file a motion in the court to appoint a confidential intermediary to search for birth relatives who are older than 18. After the two parties consent, contact will be made after the court consents.

Contact:

Colorado Confidential Intermediary Services
PO Box 260460
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 237-6919
http://www.cocis.org

Using the Adoption Registry:

The following parties may use the adoption registry:
  • adopted adults;
  • descendants of a deceased adopted adult;
  • birth siblings;
  • adoptive parents for the purpose of obtaining medical information that affects an adopted person;
  • birth parents and their lineal ascendants; and
  • descendents of deceased genetic parents.
Both birth parents must consent for either to be matched with an adopted adult unless only one parent is named on the original birth certificate or the other birth parent is deceased or cannot be contacted.

Contact:

Colorado Voluntary Adoption Registry
Colorado Department of Health
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 692-2188

Obtaining an Original Birth Certificate:

For adoptions finalized after September 1, 1999, an adoptee 18 or older will automatically have access to original birth records unless a birth parent has filed a confidentiality request within 3 years of relinquishment. If an adoptee is part of an adopted sibling group, all members of the sibling group must be 18 before records can be released. If a confidentiality request is on file, the parties can still use the confidential intermediary process and mutually agree to contact and release of the original birth records. For adoptions finalized prior to September 1, 1999, birth parents and adoptees will have access to original birth records by mutual consent. Confidential intermediaries will be able to secure release of adoption records to mutually consenting parties. If the party being sought is deceased, records will be available to the searching party.

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

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