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Birth Parent of Adopted Child

Contact Preference Forms for Parents of Adopted Children Born in Alabama

Background:  Alabama law directs the State Registrar to establish a new birth certificate after an adoption takes place. The new birth certificate is substituted for the original birth certificate in the files, and the original birth certificate and evidence of adoption are placed in a "sealed file" that previously could only be accessed by obtaining a court order (Section 22-9A-12). In 2000, the Alabama legislature amended the vital records law to allow a person 19 years of age or older whose original birth certificate was placed in a "sealed file" to obtain a non-certified copy of that record and any other documents in the "sealed file." Therefore, the child will be able to obtain all information included on the original birth certificate including the name(s) of the parent(s) and any legal documents in the vital records file relating to the adoption.

How Can Parents State Their Preference for Contact?

The 2000 revision to the vital records law also provides for a birth parent, at his/her request, to place a parent Contact Preference and Medical History Form in the "sealed file." This form will allow a birth parent to state if he/she (1) wishes to be contacted, (2) prefers to be contacted through an intermediary, or (3) prefers not to be contacted. The parent may also complete medical history information on the form. The completed form will be placed in an envelope which will be put into the "sealed file" with the original birth certificate if the parent can provide sufficient information for us to locate that "sealed file." The Contact Preference form is considered a private communication from the birth parent to the child and no copies of the form will be given to anyone other than the child.

What Information is Necessary to Locate the Original Birth Certificate?

Since the original birth certificate is in a "sealed file," we have no index references to the names of the parent(s) on that certificate. We can only locate those files using the date of birth and the place where the child was born. Therefore, we must have the exact day of birth and the exact city or county where the child was born for us to try to locate the correct record. If we locate a possible record, we will use the mother's name as it appears on original birth certificate to confirm that we have the correct record. Thus, we must also have the mother's name exactly as it appears on the original birth certificate. Unless these three items are exactly correct, we will not be able to confirm that we have located the right birth certificate.

What Happens if the Original Birth Certificate Cannot Be Located?

If we are unable to locate the original birth certificate, we will return the Contact Preference Form to the parent with a letter stating we were unable to locate the record.

Is There a Fee for Processing Contact Preference Forms?

Yes, there is a non-refundable fee of $25.00 for searching for the original birth certificate and placing the documents in the sealed file if the record is found or reporting the result of the search to the requesting parent if the original birth certificate cannot be found.

What Information Will the Child Receive?

If the child requests a copy of his/her original birth certificate after the Contact Preference Form has been placed in the sealed file, that form will be given to the child along with copies of all other documents in the file. Generally the sealed files contain a copy of the original birth certificate and the legal documents from the court where the adoption took place. The information on the birth certificate in the file is shown as it was provided by the birth parent(s) at the time of birth.

How Should a Contact Preference Form Be Requested?

The birth parent must fill out an application to place information in a sealed file.  This file may be downloaded here or requested via mail.

Download Birth Parent Application to Place Information in a Sealed File

If you are requesting the application by mail, please send a letter containing your mailing address and a telephone number where we can reach you during the day to the following address:

Alabama Vital Records - Adoption Section
P.O. Box 5625
Montgomery, AL 36103-5625

For more information, call (334) 206-5426.


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