Adoption papers should be on file in the locality where the adoption occurred. The Federal government does not maintain these records. They are filed permanently in a State’s vital statistics office or in a city, county, or other local office.
The National Center for Health Statistics maintains an online list of links to every State’s and territory’s vital records resources. To use this valuable tool, first determine the State or area where the adoption occurred. When you have that information, click on Where to Write for Vital Records, then click on the State or area you want.
To obtain a certified copy of adoption papers, write or go to the vital statistics office in the State or area where the adoption occurred. Addresses are given for each type of event in the State or area concerned. Because fees are subject to change, a telephone number has been included in the information for each State so that you can verify the current fee.
For all requests, make your check or money order payable to the identified office, in the correct amount for the number of copies requested. Do not send cash because the office cannot refund cash lost in transit.
Type or clearly print all names and addresses in the letter.
Give the following facts when writing for adoption records:
- Full name of person whose adoption papers are requested.
- Adopting parents’ names, including maiden name of adopting mother.
- Month, day, and year of adoption.
- Place of adoption (city or town, county, and State).
- Date and place of birth (if known, city or town, county, and State).
- Purpose for which copy is needed.
- Your relationship to person whose adoption record is requested.
- Your day-time telephone number with area code.
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