Birth Certificates for Adoptees

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What you need to know about birth certificates

In any adoption-related search, birth certificates help establish a starting point. What we hope to determine is information about:
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • place of birth
  • and perhaps other details about weight, length, time, single/multiple birth, hospital, attending physician, etc.
Original and Amended

When a child is born, an original birth certificate (OBC) is issued showing date of birth, time, parents' names, etc. Birth parents should be given (and should request) this original document.

When a child is adopted, along with finalization papers, an amended birth certificate (ABC) is issued which can show any or all of the information on the original, but replaces the birth parents' names with those of the adoptive parents, and the child's name given at birth with the new name (if this is being changed). This is given to the adoptive parents.

The original birth certificate is then placed with other adoption records and the file is sealed by the court. The original birth certificate is generally not available to the adopted person... ever.

The birth certificate that adoptees use throughout their lives - to enroll in school, to obtain drivers' licenses, passports, and other documents, is the amended birth certificate.
Those searching hope that matching information birth parents have from the OBC and adoptees/adoptive families have from the ABC will help lead to reconnection.

Not All Birth Certificates Are Equal

According to research by Kate Workman, some states have been known to change information when issuing amended birth certificates. Several states (GA, FL, NC) have routinely shown place of birth as the residence of adoptive parents, even if that differs from the actual place of birth. Other changes have also been noted. These changes can also include date of birth. While differences in date of birth are not common, it's important to keep in mind that they have been known to occur.

Every State is Different

Remember that the OBC/ABC from another state may not look anything like yours. The information included and format can vary greatly from state to state.

Search Note: Many birth parents do not have copies of the OBC; therefore, when searching they may be working with old memories and some inaccurate information. Some were not even told the (correct) gender of child they bore.
Glossary Reference:

Credits: by Nancy S. Ashe

Visitor Comments (2)
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michael s - 5 months ago
0 0 2
IM a adoptee 55 years old, how can I get my original birth certificate and health history that mine it wasn't my choise to be put up for adoption dose anyone know how I can get it what mine contact me on Facebook if YOU can Help Thank You for reading my note #1
Tabitha m - 2 months ago
I'm 26 and need to know how to get my birth certificate if I was born in California ,but live in R.I. I don't know the exact place in California . Is there any way I can contact someone ? Please help ! Any information is better then nothing . #2
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