We understand how important the privacy of personal information is to our users. We understand that your privacy matters and we respect your privacy choices. We make no guarantees that your search will be successful, nor shall we be held liable for the outcome of your search results. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as official advice for any individual case or situation. To read more about our Privacy Policy, please click here

©2019 by Adoption Reunion Search & Support. All Rights Reserved.

MINNESOTA

Adoption Law

 

Access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees in Minnesota is complex and based primarily on the date of adoption. Minnesota is also strict about access to original birth records in adoptions, specifically classifying the records as “confidential data on individuals” and thus making them “inaccessible to the individual subject” (i.e., the adoptee). Access is currently available only through a complex confidential intermediary system involving the department of health, the department of human services, and individual adoption agencies.

 

Generally, adoptees who are 19 years of age and adopted on or after August 1, 1977, have restricted but greater rights to access their OBCs than those who were adopted prior to August 1, 1977. State law also requires birth parents to consent to disclosure and also provides birth parents with a right to veto the release of original birth records, no matter the date of adoption.

 

Release of identifying information from an adoption agency is also somewhat complex, based on the date of the placement and whether a birth parent objects to the release of information. An adoptee who is 19 years of age and was placed for adoption on or after August 1, 1982, is entitled to receive identifying information from an agency unless a birth parent filed an affidavit objecting to release prior to the adoptee’s 19th birthday. Even in cases where an affidavit objecting to release has been filed with the agency, an adoptee may seek release of identifying information through court action, in which the objecting birth parent may present evidence to the court as to why information should not be released. These provisions do not apply to adoptees who were placed for adoption prior to August 1, 1982.

 

Court adoption records may be released only by court order.

 

 

Relevant Minnesota Laws: Original Birth Certificates

144.218. Replacement Birth Records
Subdivision 1. Adoption. Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order, decree, or certificate of adoption, the state registrar shall register a replacement vital record in the new name of the adopted person. The original record of birth is confidential pursuant to section 13.02, subdivision 3, and shall not be disclosed except pursuant to court order or section 144.2252. The information contained on the original birth record, except for the registration number, shall be provided on request to a parent who is named on the original birth record. Upon the receipt of a certified copy of a court order of annulment of adoption the state registrar shall restore the original vital record to its original place in the file.

 

Subd. 2. Adoption of foreign persons. In proceedings for the adoption of a person who was born in a foreign country, the court, upon evidence presented by the commissioner of human services from information secured at the port of entry or upon evidence from other reliable sources, may make findings of fact as to the date and place of birth and parentage. Upon receipt of certified copies of the court findings and the order or decree of adoption, a certificate of adoption, or a certified copy of a decree issued under section 259.60, the state registrar shall register a birth record in the new name of the adopted person. The certified copies of the court findings and the order or decree of adoption, certificate of adoption, or decree issued under section 259.60 are confidential, pursuant to section 13.02, subdivision 3, and shall not be disclosed except pursuant to court order or section 144.2252. The birth record shall state the place of birth as specifically as possible and that the vital record is not evidence of United States citizenship.

 

Subd. 3.Subsequent marriage of birth parents. If, in cases in which a record of birth has been registered pursuant to section 144.215 and the birth parents of the child marry after the birth of the child, a replacement record of birth shall be registered upon presentation of a certified copy of the marriage certificate of the birth parents, and either a recognition of parentage or court adjudication of paternity. The original record of birth is confidential, pursuant to section 13.02, subdivision 3, and shall not be disclosed except pursuant to court order.

 

Subd. 4.Incomplete, incorrect, and modified vital records. If a court finds that a birth record is incomplete, inaccurate, or false or if it is being issued pursuant to section 259.10, subdivision 2, the court may order the registration of a replacement vital record, and, if necessary, set forth the correct information in the order. Upon receipt of the order, the registrar shall register a replacement vital record containing the findings of the court. The prior vital record shall be confidential pursuant to section 13.02, subdivision 3, and shall not be disclosed except pursuant to court order.

 

Subd. 5.Replacement of vital records. Upon the order of a court of this state, upon the request of a court of another state, or upon the filing of a recognition of parentage with the state registrar, a replacement birth record must be registered consistent with the findings of the court or the recognition of parentage.

 

144.2252 Access to Original Birth Record After Adoption
(a) Whenever an adopted person requests the state registrar to disclose the information on the adopted person’s original birth record, the state registrar shall act according to section 259.89.

(b) The state registrar shall provide a transcript of an adopted person’s original birth record to an authorized representative of a federally recognized American Indian tribe for the sole purpose of determining the adopted person’s eligibility for enrollment or membership. Information contained in the birth record may not be used to provide the adopted person information about the person’s birth parents, except as provided in this section or section 259.83.

 

259.89 Access to Original Birth Record Information
Subdivision 1. Request. An adopted person who is 19 years of age or over may request the commissioner of health to disclose the information on the adopted person’s original birth record. The commissioner of health shall, within five days of receipt of the request, notify the commissioner of human services’ agent or licensed child-placing agency when known, or the commissioner of human services when the agency is not known in writing of the request by the adopted person.

 

Subd. 2. Search. Within six months after receiving notice of the request of the adopted person, the commissioner of human services’ agent or a licensed child-placing agency shall make complete and reasonable efforts to notify each parent identified on the original birth record of the adopted person. The commissioner, the commissioner’s agents, and licensed child-placing agencies may charge a reasonable fee to the adopted person for the cost of making a search pursuant to this subdivision. Every licensed child-placing agency in the state shall cooperate with the commissioner of human services in efforts to notify an identified parent. All communications under this subdivision are confidential pursuant to section 13.02, subdivision 3.

 

For purposes of this subdivision, “notify” means a personal and confidential contact with the birth parents named on the original birth record of the adopted person. The contact shall be by an employee or agent of the licensed child-placing agency which processed the pertinent adoption or some other licensed child-placing agency designated by the commissioner of human services when it is determined to be reasonable by the commissioner; otherwise contact shall be by mail or telephone. The contact shall be evidenced by filing with the commissioner of health an affidavit of notification executed by the person who notified each parent certifying that each parent was given the following information:

(1) the nature of the information requested by the adopted person;
(2) the date of the request of the adopted person;
(3) the right of the parent to file, within 30 days of receipt of the notice, an affidavit with the commissioner of health stating that the information on the original birth record should not be disclosed;
(4) the right of the parent to file a consent to disclosure with the commissioner of health at any time; and
(5) the effect of a failure of the parent to file either a consent to disclosure or an affidavit stating that the information on the original birth record should not be disclosed.

 

Subd. 3. Failure to notify parent. If the commissioner of human services certifies to the commissioner of health an inability to notify a parent identified on the original birth record within six months, and if neither identified parent has at any time filed an unrevoked consent to disclosure with the commissioner of health, the information may be disclosed as follows:

(a) If the person was adopted prior to August 1, 1977, the person may petition the appropriate court for disclosure of the original birth record pursuant to section 259.61, and the court shall grant the petition if, after consideration of the interests of all known persons involved, the court determines that disclosure of the information would be of greater benefit than nondisclosure.

(b) If the person was adopted on or after August 1, 1977, the commissioner of health shall release the requested information to the adopted person.

 

If either parent identified on the birth record has at any time filed with the commissioner of health an unrevoked affidavit stating that the information on the original birth record should not be disclosed, the commissioner of health shall not disclose the information to the adopted person until the affidavit is revoked by the filing of a consent to disclosure by that parent.

 

Subd. 4. Release of information after notice. If, within six months, the commissioner of human services’ agent or licensed child-placing agency documents to the commissioner of health notification of each parent identified on the original birth record pursuant to subdivision 2, the commissioner of health shall disclose the information requested by the adopted person 31 days after the date of the latest notice to either parent. This disclosure will occur if, at any time during the 31 days both of the parents identified on the original birth record have filed a consent to disclosure with the commissioner of health and neither consent to disclosure has been revoked by the subsequent filing by a parent of an affidavit stating that the information should not be disclosed. If only one parent has filed a consent to disclosure and the consent has not been revoked, the commissioner of health shall disclose, to the adopted person, original birth record information on the consenting parent only.

 

Subd. 5. Death of parent. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions 3 and 4, if a parent named on the original birth record of an adopted person has died, and at any time prior to the death the parent has filed an unrevoked affidavit with the commissioner of health stating that the information on the original birth record should not be disclosed, the adopted person may petition the court of original jurisdiction of the adoption proceeding for disclosure of the original birth record pursuant to section 259.61. The court shall grant the petition if, after consideration of the interests of all known persons involved, the court determines that disclosure of the information would be of greater benefit than nondisclosure.

 

Subd. 6. Determination of eligibility for enrollment or membership in a federally recognized American Indian tribe. The state registrar shall provide a copy of an adopted person’s original birth record to an authorized representative of a federally recognized American Indian tribe for the sole purpose of determining the adopted person’s eligibility for enrollment or membership in the tribe.

 

Subd. 7. Adult adoptions. Notwithstanding section 144.218, a person adopted as an adult shall be permitted to access the person’s birth records that existed prior to the adult adoption. Access to the existing birth records shall be the same access that was permitted prior to the adult adoption.

 

 

Relevant Minnesota Law: Adoption Court Records

259.61 Hearings, Confidential
All hearings held in proceedings under sections 259.21 to 259.63 shall be confidential and shall be held in closed court without admittance of any persons other than the petitioners, their witnesses, the commissioner of human services or an agency, or their authorized representatives, attorneys, and persons entitled to notice by sections 259.21 to 259.63, except by order of the court. The files and records of the court in adoption proceedings shall not be open to inspection by any person except the commissioner of human services or the commissioner’s representatives, an agency acting under section 259.47, subdivision 10, or upon an order of the court expressly so permitting pursuant to a petition setting forth the reasons therefor. In a stepparent adoption, upon receiving a written request from a parent whose parental rights would be or have been severed by the adoption under section 259.59, the court or the commissioner may confirm in writing whether or not an adoption decree has been granted and, if so, the date of the adoption decree.

 

 

Relevant Minnesota Law: Identifying Information

259.83 Postadoption Services
Subdivision 1. Services provided. Agencies shall provide assistance and counseling services upon receiving a request for current information from adoptive parents, birth parents, or adopted persons aged 19 years and over. The agency shall contact the other adult persons or the adoptive parents of a minor child in a personal and confidential manner to determine whether there is a desire to receive or share information or to have contact. If there is such a desire, the agency shall provide the services requested. The agency shall provide services to adult genetic siblings if there is no known violation of the confidentiality of a birth parent or if the birth parent gives written consent.

 

Subd. 1a. Social and medical history.
(a) If a person aged 19 years and over who was adopted on or after August 1, 1994, or the adoptive parent requests the detailed nonidentifying social and medical history of the adopted person’s birth family that was provided at the time of the adoption, agencies must provide the information to the adopted person or adoptive parent on the form required under section 259.43.

(b) If an adopted person aged 19 years and over or the adoptive parent requests the agency to contact the adopted person’s birth parents to request current nonidentifying social and medical history of the adopted person’s birth family, agencies must use the form required under section 259.43 when obtaining the information for the adopted person or adoptive parent.

 

Subd. 1b. Genetic siblings.
(a) A person who is at least 19 years old who was adopted or, because of a termination of parental rights, was committed to the guardianship of the commissioner of human services, whether adopted or not, must upon request be advised of other siblings who were adopted or who were committed to the guardianship of the commissioner of human services and not adopted.

(b) Assistance must be provided by the county or placing agency of the person requesting information to the extent that information is available in the existing records at the Department of Human Services. If the sibling received services from another agency, the agencies must share necessary information in order to locate the other siblings and to offer services, as requested. Upon the determination that parental rights with respect to another sibling were terminated, identifying information and contact must be provided only upon mutual consent. A reasonable fee may be imposed by the county or placing agency.

 

Subd. 2. Health information. When the agency receives information about a medical or genetic condition which has affected or may affect the physical or mental health of genetically related persons, the agency shall make a diligent effort to contact those persons in order to transmit the health information.

 

Subd. 3. Identifying information. In adoptive placements made on and after August 1, 1982, the agency responsible for or supervising the placement shall obtain from the birth parents named on the original birth record an affidavit attesting to the following:

(a) that the birth parent has been informed of the right of the adopted person at the age specified in section 259.89 to request from the agency the name, last known address, birthdate and birthplace of the birth parents named on the adopted person’s original birth record;

(b) that each birth parent may file in the agency record an affidavit objecting to the release of any or all of the information listed in clause (a) about that birth parent, and that parent only, to the adopted person;

(c) that if the birth parent does not file an affidavit objecting to release of information before the adopted person reaches the age specified in section 259.89, the agency will provide the adopted person with the information upon request;

(d) that notwithstanding the filing of an affidavit, the adopted person may petition the court according to section 259.61 for release of identifying information about a birth parent;

(e) that the birth parent shall then have the opportunity to present evidence to the court that nondisclosure of identifying information is of greater benefit to the birth parent than disclosure to the adopted person; and

(f) that any objection filed by the birth parent shall become invalid when withdrawn by the birth parent or when the birth parent dies. Upon receipt of a death record for the birth parent, the agency shall release the identifying information to the adopted person if requested.

 

Subd. 4. Confidentiality. Agencies shall provide adoptive parents, birth parents and adult siblings, and adopted persons aged 19 years and over reasonable assistance in a manner consistent with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations regarding the confidentiality and privacy of child welfare and adoption records.

Subd. 5. Charges. The commissioner, the commissioner’s agents, and licensed child-placing agencies may require a reasonable expense reimbursement for providing services required in this section. Reimbursements received by the commissioner according to this subdivision shall be deposited in the general fund.

 

ARSS-LOGO-October-2018-t.png