Recent advances in medicine have brought to light an issue faced by adoptees. Many feel they are denied access to the medical records of their birthparents because their original birth certificates, containing the names of their birthparents, are sealed and inaccessible even to the adoptee. Without those names, they cannot find their birthparents to learn their family medical history. They can’t, for example, obtain a variety of genetic testing based on family history because they simply don’t have the information.

Adoptee Rights in the News

New Jersey has been the focus of a legislative battle over adoptee rights. Specifically, whether or not adult adoptees are allowed to see their original birth certificates. In many states original birth certificates are sealed and adoptees are only allowed to receive the birth certificate that has their adoptive parents’ information. It’s a holdover from many years ago when infertility and adoption were issues not discussed in families.

What are adoptee rights in Arizona?

The only states offering adult adoptees unrestricted access to birth records are Alabama, Alaska, Oregon, Kansas, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island. In all other states, including Arizona, there is a restriction to the information an adoptee can receive about their birth parents. In Arizona, as stated in ARS 8-106E, it is required that an adoption attorney or agency assisting in a direct placement adoption obtain a notarized statement from the birth parent(s) granting or withholding permission for the adoptee child to obtain identifying and non-identifying information about the child and consenting parent, when the adoptee child turns eighteen (18).

Many of today’s adoption laws across the nation seem archaic but made sense when they were enacted fifty or more years ago.

Adoptee records were sealed fifty or more years ago to allow for the protection of birth parents, encouraging adoption rather than abortion. Birth parents didn’t want children just showing up on their doorstep. In many cases, their own families didn’t know about the child; children born out of wedlock weren’t socially acceptable.

Arizona’s law is a compromise between the needs of adoptees and their birth parents. The adoptees can still gain access to medical and other non-identifying information and the parents’ identities can be protected. A birth parent can, at any time, choose whether a child may or may not get information about them. They need to file a new notarized statement with the court indicating their choice. The most recent statement is honored when the file is requested by the adoptee.

If you are an adult adoptee born in Arizona or a birth parent seeking additional information about this and other family law matters, please contact us.