Texas Adoption Laws
Page 1 of 9
Access to Adoption RecordsWho May Access Information Citation: Fam. Code §§ 162.018; 162.406
Nonidentifying information may be provided to:
- The adoptive parents
- The adoptee who is age 18 or older
Identifying information may be accessed by:
Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Fam. Code § 162.018
- The adoptee who is age 18 or older
- A birth parent
- An alleged father who acknowledges paternity
- A birth sibling who is age 18 or older
The adoptive parents
are entitled to receive copies of the records and other information relating to the history of the child maintained by the department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing the child for adoption.
The adoptive parents and the adoptee, after the adoptee is an adult, are entitled to receive copies of the records that have been edited to protect the identity of the birth parents and any other person whose identity is confidential and other information relating to the history of the child maintained by the department, licensed child-placing agency, person, or entity placing the child for adoption.
At the time an adoption order is rendered, the court shall provide to the parents of an adoptee information provided by the Bureau of Vital Statistics that describes the functions of the voluntary adoption registry. The licensed child-placing agency shall provide to each of the child's birth parents, as known to the agency, the information when the parent signs an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights or affidavit of waiver of interest in a child. The information shall include the right of the child or birth parent to refuse to participate in the registry. If the adopted child is age 14 or older, the court shall provide the information to the child.
Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Fam. Code §§ 162.407; 162.413; 162.414; 162.416
The persons listed above may register with a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry. A registration remains in effect until the 99th anniversary of the date the registration is accepted unless a shorter period is specified by the applicant or the registration is withdrawn. A registrant may withdraw his or her registration in writing at any time.
The applicant must participate in counseling for not less than 1 hour with a social worker or mental health professional with expertise in postadoption counseling before the release of confidential information.
The administrator shall process each registration in an attempt to match the adoptee, the birth parents, and the birth siblings. The administrator shall determine that there is a match if the adult adoptee and the birth mother, father, or sibling has registered.
When a match has been made, the administrator shall mail a written notice to each registrant:
- Informing the registrant that a match has been made
- Reminding the registrant that he or she may withdraw the registration before disclosures are made, if desired
- Notifying the registrant that before any identifying disclosures are made, he or she must sign a written consent and participate in counseling
Identifying information about a registrant shall be released without the registrant's having consented to disclosure after the match if the registrant is dead, his or her registration was valid at the time of death, and he or she had in writing specifically authorized the postdeath disclosure. Identifying information about a deceased birth parent may not be released until each surviving child is an adult or until each child's surviving parent or guardian consents in writing to the disclosure. Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Health & Safety Code § 192.008
If you wish to obtain a non-certified copy of your original birth certificate, you must be able to meet all of the following criteria:
1. Identify the name of each parent listed on your original birth certificate,
2. Be at least 18 years old,
3. Submit a copy of a valid photo ID issued by a government entity, and
4. Provide other legal documentation if your name has changed due to marriage or other legal reasons. (Examples of legal documentation include copies of your official supplementary birth certificate based on the adoption, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court-ordered name change.)
Please complete the Application for Non-Certified Copy of Original Birth Certificate form (Word 50K) and mail it to the following address along with a copy of a valid photo ID issued by a government entity and a $10 check or money order, payable to DSHS, to:
Department of State Health Services
Texas Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 12040
Austin, TX 78711-2040
Requests for non-certified copies of original birth certificates take 6-8 weeks to process.
Central Adoption Registry
Bureau of Vital Statistics
TX Department of Health
PO Box 140123
Austin, TX 78714-0123
(512) 458-7111 http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/bvs/car/car.htm