Adoption Law in PA

As our country observes National Adoption Month in November, this year we’re also celebrating an exciting new law that allows adopted individuals to obtain information about their birth. For the first time since 1984, people born in Pennsylvania who were adopted have the right to receive their original birth certificate at age 18.

Effective November 3, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) may release a copy of an original birth certificate to adoptees born in the state. Lineal kin of deceased adoptees can also request a copy of the adoptee’s record.

Obtaining an Original Birth Certificate in Pennsylvania

Qualified individuals can fill out an application with the PA DOH to request an original birth certificate. The one-page form asks for the applicant’s name and contact information. The applicant must also note whether he or she is either the adopted person over the age of 18 or lineal kin of a deceased person who was adopted. Applicants must also include a few facts from the pre- and post-adoption records, including:

  • Adoptee’s name on the original birth record (if known)
  • Gender
  • Date of birth and current age
  • The adoptive parents’ names
  • The birth parents’ names (if known)

In order for the PA DOH to process the request, applicants must mail the following items along with the application:

  • A check or money order for $20 payable to “Vital Records”
  • Proof of education status for applicants between the ages of 18 and 21. A high school diploma, a GED certificate, or a document showing the legal withdrawal from secondary school will qualify.
  • A form of identification such as a valid government-issued photo ID

In addition to providing this right to Pennsylvania-born adoptees, the bill also gives birth parents certain rights. They may file a contact preference form or a request to remove their name from the original birth certificate.

As of October 2017, a PennLive article noted that more than 800 adoptees had already submitted applications to receive their birth records. The response is proof that the new law is a great move for Pennsylvania.

If you or a family member has any questions about adoption or parents’ rights, our firm would be happy to help. Feel free to contact us today.