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Help for Older Adoptees

From the State of California's Department of Social Services Website...

I WAS ADOPTED. HOW CAN I GET INFORMATION ABOUT MY ADOPTION AND ABOUT MY BIRTH PARENTS?

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS), or the licensed public or private adoption agency that handled the adoption can provide non identifying background information on birth parents to adoptees. The information provided includes general facts about the birth parents and their medical history. This service is available only for adoptions that were finalized in California. Some licensed private adoption agencies may charge a fee for this service. You must request this information by writing directly to the licensed adoption agency, if known, or to the CDSS at the following address:

California Department of Social Services
Adoptions Support Unit
744 P Street, MS 8-12-31
Sacramento, CA 95814

If you do not know the name of the licensed adoption agency, you can request the name from the CDSS. Your letter must include your name, birth date, and the full names of both of your adoptive parents. Also, your signature must be notarized by a Notary Public. This service is not available through e-mail.

I AM AN ADULT ADOPTEE. HOW CAN I MAKE CONTACT WITH MY BIRTH PARENTS?

California has a Mutual Consent Program that is administered by either the CDSS or the licensed public or private adoption agency that handled the adoption. In addition to the Mutual Consent Program, the Adoptions Information Act applies to adoptions in which birth parents signed the relinquishment for adoption or consent to adoption, or in which the birth parents' rights were involuntarily terminated by court action on or after January 1, 1984.

  • Mutual Consent Program: An adoptee may complete a Consent for Contact form (AD 904) and submit it to the CDSS or the licensed adoption agency that handled the adoption, if known. If the CDSS or the licensed adoption agency receives a consent form from the adult adoptee (18 years of age or older) and one from his/her birth parent(s), names and addresses can be disclosed to both parties so they may contact one another. The law prohibits the CDSS and the licensed adoption agencies from soliciting consents and providing search services for adoptees or birth parents.
  • Adoptions Information Act: An adoptee may complete an Adoptions Information Act Statement (AD 908A) requesting disclosure of the name and address of his or her birth parent(s). The CDSS or the licensed adoption agency which handled the adoption can disclose the name and address of the birth parent(s), if the birth parent signed a relinquishment or consent for adoption, or the parent's rights were involuntarily terminated by court action on or after January 1, 1984, and the birth parent signed an Adoptions Information Act Statement (AD 908) granting permission for such disclosure. The adoptee must be 21 years of age or older in order to complete the AD 908A.

I AM THE SIBLING OF AN ADOPTEE OR I AM AN ADOPTEE. HOW CAN I MAKE CONTACT WITH MY SIBLING?

Through the Mutual Consent Program, adoptees and siblings may submit a Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality for Siblings form. Please see below for the appropriate form you should complete.

  • For Adoptees or Siblings 18 Years of Age or Older: If the CDSS or the licensed adoption agency receives a Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality for Siblings form (AD 904A) from the adult adoptee (18 years of age or older), and one from his/her sibling, names and addresses can be disclosed to both parties so they may contact one another. The law prohibits the CDSS and licensed adoption agencies from soliciting waivers.
  • For Adoptees or Siblings Under 18 Years of Age: If the CDSS or the licensed adoption agency receives a Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality for Siblings - Under 18 Years of Age form (AD904B) from the adoptee and one from his/her sibling, names, addresses, and phone numbers can be disclosed to both parties so they may contact one another. The law prohibits the CDSS and licensed adoption agencies from soliciting waivers.

I AM A SIBLING OF AN ADOPTEE OR AN ADOPTEE. CAN I PETITION THE COURT FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF A CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARY?

If you have knowledge of a sibling and wish to seek contact with him or her, you must first submit a waiver to the CDSS or the California licensed agency who handled the adoption. If your sibling has not submitted a form to the CDSS or the California licensed adoption agency, you may petition the county superior court where the adoption was granted under Family Code 9205 to request that a confidential intermediary be appointed to locate the sibling. The confidential intermediary will attempt to contact the sibling and ask if he or she would be interested in completing a waiver form.

An adoptee or sibling who seeks contact with the other for whom no waiver is on file with the CDSS or the licensed adoption agency, may petition the California Superior Court where the adoption was granted under Family Code 9205 to request that a confidential intermediary be appointed to locate the sibling. The confidential intermediary will attempt to contact the sibling and ask if he or she would be interested in completing a waiver form.

Please contact the County Clerk's office of the Superior Court for information on petitioning the court for information.

I AM AN ADOPTEE. HOW CAN I OBTAIN A COPY OF MY ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND/OR DOCUMENTS FROM MY ADOPTION FILE?

You may be able to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate by filing a petition under Health and Safety Code Section 102705 in the county clerk's office of the Superior Court in the county where you reside or the county where your adoption was finalized. In your petition, you must show good and compelling cause for the granting of the order. It is at the sole discretion of the court as to whether the original birth certificate will be unsealed.

You may also file a petition under Family Code Section 9200 in the Superior Court of the county where your adoption was granted, for access to documents contained in the adoption file that is maintained by the Superior Court. Again, it is at the sole discretion of the court as to whether any documents are released to you.

Please contact the County Clerk's office of the Superior Court for information on petitioning the court for information.

I AM A BIRTH PARENT. I WOULD LIKE INFORMATION ON THE CHILD THAT I PLACED FOR ADOPTION AND ABOUT THE FAMILY THAT ADOPTED THE CHILD. WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION AM I ENTITLED TO?

The CDSS or the licensed public or private adoption agency that handled the adoption can give birth parents' information on the status of the adoption and general non identifying background information regarding the adoptive parents, including information on the progress of the child at the time of the adoption. This service is available only for adoptions that were finalized in California. Some licensed private adoption agencies may charge a fee for this service. You must request this information by writing directly to the licensed adoption agency, if known, or to the CDSS at the following address:

California Department of Social Services
Adoptions Support Unit
744 P Street, M/S 8-12-31
Sacramento, CA 95814

If you do not know the name of the licensed adoption agency, you can request the name from the CDSS. Your letter must include the name you used at the time of the adoption, the child's name (if named) and date of birth. Also, your signature must be notarized by a Notary Public. This service is not available through e-mail.

I AM A BIRTH PARENT. HOW CAN I MAKE CONTACT WITH MY CHILD?

California has a Mutual Consent Program that is administered by either the CDSS or the licensed public or private adoption agency that handled the adoption. A birth parent may complete a Consent for Contact form (AD 904) and submit it to the CDSS or licensed adoption agency. If the CDSS or the licensed adoption agency receives a consent form from the adult adoptee (18 years of age or older) and one from his/her birth parent(s), names and addresses can be disclosed to both parties so they may contact one another. The law prohibits the CDSS and the licensed adoption agencies from soliciting consents and providing search services for adoptees or birth parents.

HOW TO OBTAIN FORMS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Forms may be obtained by contacting the CDSS at (916) 651-8088, by writing to the address below, by contacting the licensed public or private adoption agency that handled the adoption, or by clicking here Consent For Contact, Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality For Siblings, Waiver of Rights to Confidentiality For Siblings - Under The Age Of 18, and Adoptions Information Act Statement.

California Department of Social Services
Adoptions Support Unit
744 P Street, MS 8-12-31
Sacramento, CA 95814