The questions listed below are for adoptees. Birth parent information is at FAQs for Birth Parents about the New Adoption Law.
- When can I get a copy of my original birth certificate?
- If you are age 18 or older, you may receive a noncertified copy of your original birth certificate at any time as long as your birth parent has not filed an affidavit of nondisclosure or a contact preference form indicating that he or she does not want the information released.
- How much does it cost to get a copy of my original birth certificate?
- The fee is $20.
- How do I get a copy of my original birth certificate?
- Find out about ordering a copy at Original Birth Certificate for an Adopted Person. The sealed files with original birth certificates are not located in our office. It may take several weeks or more for us to access the record. The amount of time it will take us to complete your request will also increase as we anticipate a high volume of requests beginning on July 1, 2014 and lasting for several months. We cannot complete requests the same day and recommend mailing your request. Forms dropped off at our office cannot be processed any quicker than those that are mailed in.
- How long will it take?
- It can take up to five weeks for us to fill your order. We process requests in the order we receive them. We will contact you if there is a problem with your request.
- Can I order my original birth certificate online or over the phone?
- No. To order your original birth certificate, you must sign a statement certifying that you are the person for which you are requesting the original certificate. You must also attach a current photo ID with your order. Our online and phone ordering options do not allow this.
- What name do I provide on the order form?
- Provide the name that appears on your current birth certificate. This is your adoptive name.
- Can family members of the adoptee order the original birth certificate if the adoptee is deceased?
- No. The law only pertains to adoptees. Family members may have other options under the law for accessing information, such as requesting a court to appoint a Confidential Intermediary.
- What happens if you cannot find a record of my original birth certificate?
- If we do not have an original birth certificate for you on file or we are unable to locate a file, you will receive a letter explaining that we could not find a record along with a refund of $12 of the original birth certificate fee. We will retain $8 of the fee for completing a search of our records. In some cases, we may ask if you have additional information that may help us locate the record.
- What happens if my birth parent has filed a contact preference form indicating they do not want you to release my original birth certificate?
- We cannot release your original birth certificate to you if your birth parent(s) has filed a contact preference form indicating he or she does not want contact and does not want us to release your original birth certificate. You will be notified if we cannot release your original birth certificate and $12 of your fee will be refunded to you. If your birth parent filed a contact preference form, they were also required to complete a medical history form to share with you. We will also send you the completed medical history form.
- I've requested and received my original birth certificate but didn't get any medical information. Can you tell me how to obtain medical records?
- When you order a non-certified copy of your original birth certificate, we will include the medical history form and the contact preference form if your birth parent(s) filed them with us. If they haven't submitted the forms, we have no information to share. If your birth parent files a contact preference and medical history form within six months of your order, we will automatically send you the information using the address provided on your order form.
- How do I get more information about my adoption or about searching for my birth parent(s)?
- We can only provide certain information related to original birth certificate, contact preference and medical history forms (if filed) and the court information surrounding your adoption. If you would like information about searching for a birth parent, DSHS has a list of adoption resources (see Adoption Information Exchange) available on its website. You may also contact your county superior court for information about confidential intermediaries.
- What is a Confidential Intermediary?
A confidential intermediary is an individual appointed by the court to look at confidential adoption records and make discreet contact with the birth parent or family in order to determine if they would like personal information released to the adoptee. A confidential intermediary may also search for an adoptee on behalf of a birth parent.
- Am I allowed to contact my birth parents if I received my original birth certificate but no contact preference form or medical history?
If you did not receive a contact preference form and medical history form, it means that your birth parent(s) did not file them with us. We cannot provide guidance on contacting a birth parent(s). If you would like information about searching for a birth parent, DSHS has a listing of adoption resources (see Adoption Information Exchange) available on their website.
- Why is my birth father's information not on the original birth certificate?
Father's only appear on birth records if they were married to the mother and the information was provided at the time of birth. If they weren't married to the mother, additional paperwork would have needed to be done before the adoption was finalized for them to appear on the birth record.
- Why is my original birth certificate on white paper and not a certified copy?
RCW 26.33.345 only allows adoptees to receive a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate. Our office only issues certified copies of current birth records. Please see RCW 26.33.345 for more information.
- Do I get to refuse or consent to release of my identifying information to my birth parent?
RCW 26.33.347 allows an adoptee to file a refusal of consent to release any identifying information to a biological parent, sibling or relative. This law remains in place and did not change as a result of SHB1525. An adoptee can file a refusal to consent to release identifying information by completing this form and returning it to our office.
- What if I just want a copy of my original birth certificate and I do not want to contact my birth parent?
An adoptee is not obligated or required to contact a birth parent if the birth parent provides contact information. RCW 26.33.343 also allows an adoptee to petition the court to assign a confidential intermediary to contact a birth parent if he or she does not want direct contact.
- If my birth parent has filed a contact preference form, does it expire?
A Contact Preference form expires upon the death of the birth parent.
- Will you be able to tell me if my birth parent has died?
We will automatically search Washington death records each time you request an original birth certificate if your birth parent has filed a contact preference form indicating he or she does not want contact and does not want us to release the original birth certificate. You will be notified if we do not find a record of death and $12 of your fee will be refunded. We will retain $8 of the fee for completing a search of our records. We can only search death records registered in Washington because we do not have access to other state's death records.