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Adoption Law

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

Nonidentifying information may be released, upon request, to:
 The adoptive parents.
• The birth parents.
• The adopted person who is 19 or older.

Only the adult adopted person may access identifying information.

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-31

Nonidentifying information is limited to:
• The health and medical history of birth parents and the adopted person.
• 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 only can be obtained through contact with the adopted person, the birth parents, or the adoptive parents, the court shall direct the agency or a mutually agreed upon intermediary to establish contact with the adopted person, 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 within the discretion of the court. The identity and whereabouts of the person or persons contacted shall remain confidential.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information 
Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-31

If either birth parent has given consent in writing to disclosure of identifying information, the State Department of Human Resources or a licensed child-placing agency shall release such identifying information. When an adopted person reaches age 19, he or she may petition the court for the disclosure of identifying information if the birth parent has not previously given consent. The court shall direct an intermediary to contact the birth parents to determine if they will consent to the release of identifying information. If the birth parents consent to the release of identifying information, the court shall so direct. If the birth parents are deceased, cannot be found, or do not consent, the court shall weigh the interest and rights of all of the parties and determine if the identifying information should be released without the consent of the birth parents.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ala. Code § 22-9A-12(c)-(d)

Any person 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:

The licensed investigating agency appointed by the court per § 26-10A-19(b), (c)


Alabama Vital Records Information


Obtaining Pre-adoption and Other Birth Certificates from Alabama Sealed Files

Background:  Alabama law directs the State Registrar to establish a new birth certificate after an adoption, legitimation or paternity determination takes place. The new birth certificate is substituted for the original birth certificate in the files, and the original birth certificate and evidence of adoption, legitimation, or paternity determination are placed in a "sealed file." (Section 22-9A-12). In 2000, the legislature amended the vital records law to allow an adult whose original birth certificate was placed in a "sealed file" to obtain a non-certified copy of that record and any other documents in the "sealed file." 

Who May Request a Copy?
•The person named on the birth certificate - no other family member. 
•Person must be 19 years of age or older. 
•Person must have been born in Alabama. 
•Person must have had an original birth certificate removed from the files due to an adoption, legitimation or paternity determination. 

What Will the Applicant Receive? 
The applicant will receive a copy of the original birth certificate clearly marked that it is not a certified copy and it may not be used for legal purposes. Note that the information on the birth certificate in the file is shown as it was provided by the birth parent(s) at the time of birth. The applicant will receive copies of all other documents in the "sealed file" which often include the legal documents from the court where the adoption or paternity determination took place or other legal documents for a legitimation. These files do not contain medical or other information about the birth parents. In the case of persons who were adopted, the revision of the law in 2000 allows birth parents to submit a Contact Preference Form which will be placed in the sealed file upon receipt. If a Contact Preference Form is in the file at the time the original birth record is requested, it will be sent to the applicant.

How Should These Records Be Ordered?
Applicants must clearly state they are seeking their original birth record prior to adoption, legitimation or paternity determination. Without this information, we will send the current legal record. Complete the "Request for a Pre-adoption or Other Birth Certificate from an Alabama Sealed File" form.

Request for Pre-adoption or Other Birth Certificate from an Alabama Sealed File  
Please note: These records cannot be ordered over the Internet since we must have the applicant's original signature on the request. Instead of the application form, you may send a letter containing the following information to locate your current legal record: Your full name as it appears on your current legal birth certificate 
•Date of birth 
•County of birth 
•Full maiden name of mother as it appears on your current legal birth certificate 
•Full name of father as it appears on your current legal birth certificate 
•Your mailing address and telephone number where we can reach you during the day 
Please be sure to sign and date the request. The request will not be processed unless it is signed by the applicant.  Include the non-refundable fee of $25.00 for processing the request. Checks or money orders should be made payable to "Alabama Vital Records." Mail the application or letter of request to: Alabama Vital Records - Adoptee Section P.O. Box 5625 Montgomery, AL 36103-5625

•For more information, call (334) 206-5426 or visit here.