Home > Babies and Toddlers > Adoption > Raising an Adopted Child > Adoption: Obtaining Birth Records

Adoption: Obtaining Birth Records

In This Article:

Page 1


Keep in mind that not everyone is aware of the state registries and not everyone chooses to use them; consequently, searchers shouldn't depend solely on the state registry but may also wish to register with private organizations, such as the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISSR).

More than half the states in the United States have some sort of registry that adopters may be able to use to find information about their birthparents (and vice versa), even without information on their birthparents' names. These registries generally are managed by the state social services department (usually located in the state capital or in the state vital statistics branch). I'll explain the different kinds of registries. (States continue to change their laws on matters related to adoption, including search, so don't assume that this information is cast in granite for all time. It isn't.)

Mutual Consent

If both an adopted adult (over 18 or, in some states, over 21) and a birthparent register in a state with a mutual consent registry (also known as a voluntary consent registry), identifying information will be provided to both.

The following states offer mutual consent registries (some states with registries may be missing from this list):

  • Arkansas
  • Michigan
  • Colorado
  • Missouri
  • Connecticut
  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Georgia
  • Oregon
  • Hawaii
  • Rhode Island
  • Illinois
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • West Virginia
  • Search and Consent/Confidential Intermediary


    A search and consent or confidential intermediary system is a system whereby one person, usually the adoptee, requests that a search be made for the birthparent. The birthparent is identified, contacted, and asked whether she or he wants contact with the adoptee. If the birthparent agrees, then the identifying information is provided to the adopted adult.

    Some states provide a search and consent system, otherwise known as a confidential intermediary system. In this system, the adopted adult can request identifying information on the birthparents. The confidential intermediary locates the birthparents and asks for their permission to release identifying information. If they consent, the adopted adult is given their names. Some detractors have called this system “search and confront” because sometimes birthparents may be pressured into a rushed meeting by harried or inexperienced workers.

    States that offer confidential intermediary systems, include the following:

  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • Illinois
  • Oregon
  • Indiana
  • Vermont
  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • Wyoming
  • Mississippi
  • Note that some states offer both a mutual consent registry and a confidential intermediary system.

    Next: Page 2 >>

    More on: Adoption

    Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption © 2004 by Christine Adamec. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

    To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


    8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
    Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

    Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
    Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

    10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
    Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

    Ready for Kindergarten?
    Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

    stay connected

    Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

    Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

    Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

    editor’s picks