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When an adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate for the child is customarily issued to the adoptive parents. The original birth certificate is then sealed and kept confidential by the State registrar of vital records. In the past, nearly all States required a court order for adopted people to gain access to their original birth certificates. In approximately 26 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico, a court order is still required. However, in many States, the laws are changing to allow easier access to these records. Some of those laws allow information access:

1. Through a court order when all parties have consented
2. At the request of the adult adopted person
3. At the request of the adopted person unless the birth parent has filed an affidavit denying release of confidential records
4. When eligibility to receive identifying information has been established with a State adoption registry
5. When consents from the birth parents to release identifying information are on file

Please check with your State's registrar of vital records for up to date information regarding access in that particular state.

List of States with Partial, Full Open Records or Original Birth Certificates Available to Adoptees

Also see:

For those states with no-contact vetoes, please check with that particular state's regulations.  Some states consider it criminal offense if you make contact when a veto is in place.