How to Get a Birth Certificate in Arizona if You Were Adopted
Arizona OBC Access Status: Sealed with Confidential Intermediary System
Arizona is a “closed record” state. That means that vital records are not public record. Arizona law restricts the public’s access to vital records as follows to protect the confidentiality rights of their citizens. There are currently no bills in the Arizona legislature for Adoptee Rights or extending access to original birth certificates.
Who May Access Birth Certificate Information in Arizona
Arizona Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-129
The following persons may have access to family information:
The adoptive parents or a guardian of the adoptee
The adoptee who is age 18 or older
If the adoptee has died, the adoptee’s spouse if he or she is the legal parent of the adoptee’s child or the guardian of any child of the adoptee
If the adoptee has died, any child of the adoptee who is age 18 or older
The birth parents or other birth children of the birth parents
Access to Non-Identifying Adoption Information in Arizona
Arizona Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-121; 8-129
Non-identifying information may be released upon request to any of the persons listed above. Non-identifying information may include the health and genetic history of the birth parents and members of the birth parents’ families.
Arizona Mutual Access to Identifying Adoption Information
Arizona Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-121
Court personnel, the division, an attorney assisting in a direct placement adoption, or an agency may provide partial or complete identifying information between a birth parent and adoptive parent when the parties mutually agree to share specific identifying information and make a written request to the court, the division, or the agency.
A person may petition the court to obtain information relating to an adoption in the possession of the court, the division, or any agency or attorney involved in the adoption. The court shall not release identifying information unless the person requesting the information has established a compelling need for disclosure or consent has been obtained.
An adoptee age 18 or older or a birth parent may file at any time with the court and the agency, division, or attorney who participated in the adoption a notarized statement granting consent, withholding consent, or withdrawing a consent previously given for the release of confidential information. If an adoptee who is 18 or older and the birth mother or birth father have filed consent to the release of confidential information, the court may disclose the information, except identifying information relating to a birth parent who did not grant written consent.
When the Adoption Records are Sealed in Arizona
After the adoption process is completed, the Office of Vital Records will amend the child’s birth certificate to reflect the information that was agreed upon in court. Court-ordered adoption records are forwarded to the Office of Vital Records by the 10th of the following month so the adoptive birth certificate can be finalized. After the adoptive birth certificate is finalized, the original birth certificate and any documentation from the court order authorizing the adoption is sealed.
Arizona’s Confidential Intermediary Program for Adoptees and Birth Parents Searching
Birth parents who wish to regain contact with their children who went to adoptive families, or adopted children who wish to restore contact with their birth parents or siblings, must contact a Confidential Intermediary certified by the Arizona Supreme court. The Confidential Intermediary Program was established to protect the identity of birth parents, and to provide a means for adoptive children to establish and maintain contact with their siblings. The intermediary must gain consent from both sides of the relationship before contact can be established.
The Confidential Intermediary Program was established by the Arizona State Legislature in 1992, by enacting A.R.S. §8-134 (adoption triad member searches). In 2007, the Arizona State Legislature extended the role of the Confidential Intermediary Program to include the Sibling Information Exchange Program (SIX) by enacting A.R.S. §8-543, which provides former dependent children the ability to locate, and stay in touch with, siblings separated by a dependency action. Under both statutes, Confidential Intermediaries are provided access to court records in order to obtain information necessary to locate the sought after party. Consent from all parties is required for the sharing of identifying and non-identifying information.