Saturday, January 1, 2000

Virginia OBCs

Virginia Birth Certificates

How to Get Birth Certificate in Virginia if You Were Adopted  How to Get Birth Certificate in Virginia if You Were Adopted

Virginia OBC Access Status: Sealed Adoption Records; can be open upon age 21 with consent

Access to Original Birth Certificate in Virginia

Per Virginia Citation: Ann. Code § 32.1-261– Upon receipt of notice of a decision or order granting an adult adopted person access to identifying information regarding his or her birth parents from the Commissioner of Social Services or a circuit court, and proof of identification and payment, the State Registrar shall mail an adult adopted person a copy of the original certificate of birth.
In parental placement adoptions, where the consent to the adoption was executed on or after 7-1-1994, the entire adoption record shall be open to the adoptive parents, the adopted person who is age 18 or older, and a birth parent who executed a written consent.

Who may have access to information from a finalized adoption record in Virginia?

The adult adoptee that is (eighteen and over), the adoptive parent, the birth parent, and adult birth siblings have certain rights under Virginia law.
The Permanency Unit at the Virginia Department of Social Services keeps a permanent record of all adoptions finalized in Virginia since July 1, 1942. In addition, if the adoptee was placed for adoption through an agency with the legal authority to consent to the adoption, that agency may also have a copy of the record. The parties identified in this document have the right to identifying and non-identifying information from the adoption record under the conditions described below:
  • Identifying information includes names and addresses of birth family members.
  • Non-identifying information includes narrative information about the circumstances surrounding the placement, adoption and birth family, but it does not include names or trace information

Rights of Adoptees Who are Age Eighteen & Older in Virginia

Adult adoptees have the right to request and receive non-identifying background information about themselves and their birth family from their finalized adoption record.
Adult adoptees have the right to apply to the Virginia Department of Social Services for identifying information on their birth family, such as names and addresses. Good cause must be shown for the release of this information. Good cause means consent from the birth family member on whom identifying information is being sought.
Adult adoptees have the right to request that an attempt be made by the agency initially involved in the adoption, to convey critical medical, psychological, and genetic information to their birth parents or adult birth siblings. However, a physician or licensed mental health provider must certify in writing with a clear explanation as to the reasons, that it is critical that the information be conveyed.
Confidentiality of all parties is to be maintained by the agency.
In parental placement adoptions, where the consent to the adoption was executed on or after July 1, 1994, the adult adoptee may view the entire adoption record. However, any criminal record checks for the adoptive parent(s) which show a criminal record conviction cannot be released.
The Adoptee Application for Disclosure may be found at the following web address and should be used to initiate the search:http://www.dss.virginia.gov/files/division/dfs/ap/intro_page/forms/032-02-0018-02-eng.pdf

Rights of Adult Birth Siblings in Virginia Adoptions

Birth siblings have the right to send letters to the Virginia Department of Social Services to be included in the adoptee’s adoption record. In cases where the adoptee was placed for adoption through an agency and that agency maintains a record, the sibling may also send letters for inclusion in the agency’s record.
The adult birth sibling has the right to request that an attempt be made by the agency initially involved in the adoption, to convey critical medical, psychological and genetic information to the adult adoptee or adoptive parent(s). However, a physician or licensed mental health provider must certify in writing, with a clear explanation as to the reasons, that it is critical that the information be conveyed.
For adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 1994, when the adult adoptee is twenty-one years of age or older, the adult birth sibling may apply to the Virginia Department of Social Services for identifying information on the adoptee, such as his/her current name and address. Good cause must be shown for the release of this information. Good cause means consent of the adult adoptee for release of the identifying information.
The Adult Birth Sibling Application for Disclosure may be found at the following web address and should be used to initiate the search:http://www.dss.virginia.gov/files/division/dfs/ap/intro_page/forms/032-04-0070-00-eng.doc

Rights of Birth Parents in Virginia Adoption

Birth parent(s) have the right to send letters to the Virginia Department of Social Services to be included in their child’s adoption record. In cases where the child was placed for adoption through an agency and that agency maintains a record, the birth parent(s) may also send letters for inclusion in the agency’s record.
For adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 1994, when the adult adoptee is twenty-one years of age or older, the birth parent(s) may apply to the Virginia Department of Social Services for identifying information on the adoptee, such as his/her current name and address. Good cause must be shown for the release of this information. Good cause means consent of the adoptee on which identifying information is being sought.
The Birth Parent Application for Disclosure may be found at the following web address and should be used to initiate the search:http://www.dss.virginia.gov/files/division/dfs/ap/intro_page/forms/032-04-0071-00-eng.doc
Birth parent(s) may also request that an attempt be made, by the agency initially involved in the adoption, to convey critical medical, psychological and genetic information to the adult adoptee or adoptive parent(s). In order for the agency to provide this service, a physician or licensed mental health provider must certify in writing, with a clear explanation as to the reasons, that it is critical that the information be conveyed. Confidentiality of all parties is to be maintained by the agency.
If the agency that was involved in the adoption is willing, the birth parent(s) may allow that agency to act as an intermediary for the purpose of exchanging pictures and non-identifying information, such as letters, with the adoptive parent(s). The adoptive parent(s) and birth parent(s) must both sign a written agreement to that effect.

Assistance on Virginia Adoption Records

If you need further clarification, you may call Jackie Gill, Adoption Disclosure Specialist at: (804) 726-7526 or e-mail her at jackie.gill@dss.virginia.gov
Applicants must submit their Application for Disclosure to:
  • Virginia Department of Social Services
  • Permanency Program – Adoption Services—11th Floor
  • 801 East Main Street
  • Richmond, Virginia 23219
All applications must be notarized.

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