Who may order preadoption birth records
- Must be the adoptee or their legal representative - not other family members. Legal representatives should include a notarized permission note from the adoptee.
- Adoptee must be 21 years of age
- Adoptee must be born in Oregon
- Order must be for a birth record where an adoption report was received, a new birth certificate was created and the original birth record was placed in a sealed file.
How to order
Applicants who request records should clearly identify themselves as an "ADOPTEE SEEKING A PRE-ADOPTION BIRTH RECORD." Without this information we will send the current legal record.
- Enclose a $20 non-refundable search fee payable to OHA/Vital Records.
- Download and complete a Preadoption Birth Record Order Form. Include your current legal birth record information:
- Full legal name (after adoption)
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Adopted mother's full name before marriage
- Adopted father's full name
- Adoptee or legal representative must sign the application.
- Attach a copy of your current, valid driver’s license, official DMV ID card or alternative identifying documents.
- Each order should show the adoptee's mailing address and daytime telephone number. Our office will call if we find the applicant has not given us correct and complete record information that matches the legal birth certificate. Pre-adoption birth records may only be ordered by the adoptee and will only be mailed to the adoptee or their legal representative.
- All legal representatives should include a notarized permission note from the adoptee and the current legal birth record information listed above.
We recommend that applications be submitted by mail. Additional fees apply when orders are submitted by telephone, on the Internet, or at the public counter.
Processing time to receive a record
Processing of orders for preadoption birth records takes approximately six to eight weeks. In a few cases where the sealed file is not easily identified or found, additional time may be needed to research and locate the file.
How records are issued
- Orders are reviewed for completeness of current legal birth record information, appropriate fees, signature of applicant, and for copies of ID or notarized permission notes.
- The current legal birth certificates are located and sealed file numbers are identified.
- Sealed files are requested by number from an off-site storage facility.
- Sealed files are opened, matched to orders and the certified copies are made. Sealed files are checked for contact preference forms from the biological parents. If a match is found, a copy of the contact preference form is included with the pre-adoption birth record.
- Records are mailed to the applicant.
What the applicant will receive
In a few cases the sealed file is opened but no original birth certificate is found. Frequently this means that no birth record was found at the time the adoption occurred. Certified copies of the original birth record will be clearly marked as a pre-adoption record from a sealed file. These records will not be accepted by government agencies as legal birth certificates for purposes of identification.
The information on a pre-adoption birth certificate was provided by the birth parent(s) at the time of birth. The information may or may not be accurate. A birth parent may have chosen to leave the name of the child blank or to give them the last name of a person not listed on the birth record. The mother's name and the father's name on this document, may or may not be accurate. After an adoption is finalized, there is no legal way to make changes to the pre-adoption birth record.
If you want more information about locating birth parent(s), you may want to contact an Oregon volunteer adoption registry. If you know what adoption agency handled your adoption, you should contact that adoption agency directly. If you do not know that information, you should contact Adoption Services/Registry at (503) 945-6643.
Other adoption records
The Voluntary Adoption Registry was created in 1983 to assist adoptees, birth parents, biological siblings, and other eligible persons who wish to learn more about an adoption that was completed in the State of Oregon. The registry is maintained by the State Children, Adults and Families and creates a method of communicating information if both parties consent.
If you were party to an adoption completed in Oregon and would like more information, contact:
Department of Human Services
Adoption Services/Registry, 2nd Floor South
500 Summer Street NE, E71
Salem, OR 97301-1068
If the adoption was arranged by Albertina Kerr, Boys and Girls Aid Society, or Waverly, contact that agency directly. Many other private agencies in the state maintain their own mutual consent registries.
If you would like to speak with a counselor about meeting a biological parent, you can obtain a list of counselors from any adoption agency, or from Adoption Services in the Department of Human Services.