As of August 1, 2000, adults adopted in Alabama can request and
receive their original birth records
Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman signed HB-690, a bill that allows adult
adoptees unconditional access to their orginal birth certificates
and other documents in their files held by the Department of Vital
Services, at 6:34PM, Thursday, May 25th, 2000. The law went into
effect on August 1, 2000, and makes Alabama the fourth state to
allow adult adoptees unrestricted access to original birth
information (the other states are Alaska, Kansas, and Oregon).
The law opens records to any adult with a sealed original birth
certificate (OBC), and gives the person named on that OBC access
to the entire file held by the Department of Vital Statistics.
This file includes some of the court documentation and the final
Unlike the recent legislation in
which includes vetoes, the Alabama law has a contact
preference form similar to that in Oregon. Oregon's form allows a
birth parent to express a preference for unrestricted contact,
contact through an intermediary, or no contact; however, if the
birth parent desires no contact, he/she must complete an Updated
Medical History form.
Credit for this success must go to the bill's sponsors in the
House: Rep. Jeff Dolbare of Bigbee, and Rep. Bill Fuller of
LaFayette, in the Senate: Sen. Phil Poole of the 21st District,
and the adoption advocacy group
- Alabamians Working for Adoption Reform and Education,
as well as to the birthparents who spoke up, and the full House
and Senate membership which voted decisively and expeditiously.
In an announcement sent out from AWARE, an explanation of the bill
and its implementation contained the following:
HB-690 allows any adult who has a sealed original birth
certificate at the Department of Vital Statistics to request and
receive a copy of that OBC, as well as the entire contents
of the Department of Vital Statistics file.
This is not the same as the Department of Human Resources
file. The Dept. of Vital Statistics file will contain your OBC
and some Court documents pertaining to your adoption, such as
the Final Decree and the Court Reportof Adoption which is filed
by the Court of adoption finalization. DVS told us that in
some cases there may be other information, especially for
adoptees whoare 40 +, such as letters from the agencies. It
sounds like that will be rare. In most cases you will get your
OBC and some Court papers. Many of you already have your Final
Decree, since it was routinely given to the adoptive parents.
There are no exceptions to the above. Every adult adoptee
will get these documents on written request to DVS in
The contact preference form is simply a checkbox that the
birthparent can fill out if requested from DVS. It allows
them to state whether they want to be contacted or not (or only
by intermediary). It also allows them to provide updated name
and address, etc. if they do want contact. Inaddition, they will
also be allowed to provide updated medical history on a standard
medical form to DVS. That medical history form will be filed
with your OBC, along with the Contact Preference form. The way
the amendment isworded, a birthparent who wants to file a "no
contact" form will have to also file the updated medical
Please note that the contact preference form will be a private
communication from the birthparent to you. It is simply a means
for them to express their wishes. They cannot block release of
your own records to you in any way.They are simply allowed to
voice their wishes regarding contact.
Release of the records will not be delayed in any way by this
amendment to the bill. If a birthparent wants to file a form,
then they have to request one from Montgomery.
Center for Health Statistics
P. O. Box 5625
Montgomery, AL 36103-5625