How to get sealed adoption records unsealed.
For men and women who have been adopted, there often comes a time in their lives that the desire to know who their biological parent(s) are/were will become something of great importance to them. Being married to a man who was adopted, I know that there can be a tremendous amount of emotion involved in the issue, not just curiosity, but far more than that. Your heritage is a part of you and often, especially as you get older, it becomes very important for you to figure out who you are and where you’ve come from. There are also other reasons that finding out genetic heritage becomes important, such as a complete and accurate medical history.
Sealed adoption records are not usually easy to get unsealed, though. They have been kept sealed, typically at the request of the biological parent(s), although some that are older adoption records were just sealed because that is how things were always done in those days.
The first step that you will need to take is to get a copy of your birth certificate, if you don’t have this already. You will then be able to find out what hospital you were born in and from that, the county and state of your birth. If you were placed in foster care awaiting your family, contact that agency and see what information they can release to you. You may not know which agency it was, but with the county and state information, you should be able to narrow it down significantly and start making calls. If you were taken straight from the hospital to your adoptive parents, try and get as much information as you can from them, while keeping their feelings in mind.
If you can get in touch with someone at a foster care or adoption agencies that is adept at their job and willing to help you, they will send you a packet of whatever information they are legally allowed to. This may be satisfactory to you and if not, you are going to need to go a step further.
You will need to next contact the courthouse located in the county where your adoption took place. Write a letter explaining your reasons for wanting the records unsealed. Just a hint, curiosity is not usually going to be an acceptable reason. A medical condition can help you out, so if you have one, be sure and include it in your letter. Make sure that your letter is written with proper grammar and use a spell checker. You want it to look as professional as possible.
In the end, it will be up to the judge to decide whether there is adequate reasoning to have the records unsealed. The courts are slow, so you will need to be very patient in waiting for a response. In the meantime, there are also websites that you can place your name on with as much information as you can about the circumstances of your birth and adoption. If your birth parent is also there, this can be a way that you will find one another, as well, thus foregoing the need to get the record unsealed at all.
Published in: Family