What Happens To The Original Birth Certificate After Adoption?

Learn what happens to the original birth certificate after adoption, including sealing and issuing a new one with the adoptive parents names.

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A family with adopted childs showing an original and adoption birth certificate

Adoption is a life-changing event that involves several legal processes, one of which is the issuance of a new birth certificate. This article delves into what happens to the original birth certificate after adoption, how the adoption birth certificate is created, and the process of obtaining an amended birth certificate after adoption. We aim to provide comprehensive information on these topics and related issues.

Original Birth Certificate Post-Adoption

When a child is born, an original birth certificate is created, documenting details such as the child’s name, date of birth, and biological parents. After adoption, this original birth certificate undergoes significant changes:

Sealing of the Original Birth Certificate: In most states, once the adoption is finalized, the original birth certificate is sealed. This means it is not accessible to the public or the adoptee without a court order. The intention behind sealing the original document is to protect the privacy of all parties involved. For more on state laws regarding sealed birth certificates, visit the American Adoption Congress.

Issuance of a New Birth Certificate: Following the sealing of the original birth certificate, a new birth certificate is issued. This new document replaces the biological parents’ names with the adoptive parents’ names. The child’s name may also be changed if the adoptive parents decide to do so.

Adoption Birth Certificate

The new birth certificate, often referred to as the adoption birth certificate, serves as the legal record of the child’s birth after adoption. Here are some key points about the adoption birth certificate:

Content: The adoption birth certificate includes the child’s new legal name (if changed), the adoptive parents’ names, and the birth details such as the date and place of birth. It essentially mirrors the format of the original birth certificate but with updated information.

Legal Status: This amended birth certificate carries the same legal weight as the original birth certificate. It can be used for all legal purposes, such as enrolling in school, obtaining a passport, or proving identity.

Access: The adoption birth certificate is accessible to the adoptive parents and the adoptee. It is considered the child’s official birth certificate following the adoption.

Obtaining an Amended Birth Certificate After Adoption

The process of obtaining an amended birth certificate after adoption involves several steps:

Step 1: finalizing the adoption

Before an amended birth certificate can be issued, the adoption must be legally finalized. This involves court proceedings where the adoptive parents are granted legal custody of the child.

Step 2: filing for a new birth certificate

Once the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents or their attorney will file a request for a new birth certificate with the state’s vital records office. This request includes the final adoption decree and other necessary documents. Detailed steps on this process can be found at the National Center for Adoption.

Step 3: Check the state processing time

The processing time for issuing a new birth certificate can vary by state, generally taking a few weeks to a few months. Adoptive parents should check our birth certificate processing time page per state to understand how long it takes to receive the new birth certificate.

Step 4: Check the state fee

There may be fees associated with obtaining an amended birth certificate. These fees cover the processing and issuance of the new document. Visit our birth certificate state fees table to know how much does a birth certificate cost on every state.

Accessing the Original Birth Certificate

Access to the original, sealed birth certificate is often restricted to protect the privacy of the birth parents and the adoptee. However, there are circumstances under which the original birth certificate can be accessed:

  • Court Order: In many states, a court order is required to unseal the original birth certificate. The court will evaluate the request and determine if there is a compelling reason to grant access.
  • Adoptees’ Rights: Some states have laws that allow adoptees to access their original birth certificates once they reach a certain age, typically 18 or 21. These laws vary significantly from state to state. Check your state’s regulations at Adoptee Rights Law.
  • Mutual Consent Registries: Some states have mutual consent registries where birth parents and adoptees can register their willingness to be contacted. If both parties are registered, access to the original birth certificate may be granted.

The process of handling birth certificates post-adoption is designed to protect the privacy of all parties involved and to legally establish the new parent-child relationship. The original birth certificate is sealed, and a new one is issued, reflecting the adoptive parents’ names. While access to the original birth certificate is restricted, there are legal avenues and specific circumstances under which it can be accessed.

Understanding these processes and their implications is important for adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents alike. The amended birth certificate serves as the official document for all legal purposes, while the original remains a protected record of the adoptee’s origins.

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