Laws generally require adoption records to be sealed if the adopting parents request that they be sealed. "Sealing" documents means that no one will have access to the information contained within them and that they will remain confidential.

How do I get my adoption records unsealed so I can locate my birth mother?

You can either file a petition to unseal adoption record or fill out a form with the probate or county court requesting that the file be examined. If your file contains a notice that your birth parent is looking for you, the records will be unsealed. Where a petition is required, you must show the court "good cause" to unseal the records, such as medical necessity.

Sidebar: Laws have been enacted in some states that allow adoptees to request and obtain non-identifying information from the adoption records. Additionally, some states have laws that allow adoptees access to their original birth certificate. Check your state laws for recent legislation allowing access to adoption records.

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