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Illinois Adoptees Can Receive Original Birth Certificates Thanks to Illinois Adoption Law

DuPage County Adoption Lawyers

Adoption is one of the deeply appreciated aspects of our legal system because it results in creating life-long families. Parents who could not otherwise have children or simply wish to help a child in need are blessed with a new addition to their home. Children are welcomed into their adopted parents’ lives as if the children were the parents’ own. The commonality of adoptions has increased to the point where, in the vast majority of aspects, natural-born children and adopted children in Illinois share the same rights.

One area of the law that had not caught up to this notion until recently involved an adopted child’s right to obtain his or her original birth certificate. Less than 20 states allow adoptees to obtain the birth certificates that bear the names of their birth parents. Those states that continue to disallow the practice cite privacy concerns of the birth parents as the reason for non-disclosure. In order to encourage adoptions, allowing the anonymity of the birth parents is a paramount consideration.

Illinois Allows Birth Certificate Release to Adoptees

In 2010, the Illinois legislature passed a law allowing adoptees to request a non-certified copy of their original birth record once they reach the age of 21. The law allows disclosure to both adoptees and surrendered persons born in the state of Illinois, unless the birth parents specified they did not wish to have such information released. This provision allows birth parents of adopted or surrendered persons born on or after January 1, 1946 to determine whether this contact information will be made available. Despite this provision, less than 500 birth parents actually requested to maintain their anonymity, and only 43 requests prevented an adoptee from obtaining information about their past.

Despite the few unsuccessful attempts to obtain birth certificates, many requests have resulted in happy reunions. Adopted individuals raised as only children learned of biological siblings, and those who discovered their birth parents were deceased found other members of their family still alive and willing to be contacted. It is reassuring that so many happy stories emerged, especially considering that Illinois is only considered an “access state with restrictions” by the American Adoption Congress. This just means that there are some limitations, as described above, such as opt-out provisions for birth parents. Other states do not have such provisions, although as of now, no state allows adoptees to obtain certified copies of their original birth certificates. Despite the few limitations, a law favoring disclosure is better than none at all—none of Illinois’ neighboring states have any type of access provision, restricted or unrestricted.

I Was Adopted. How Can I Get a Copy of my Birth Certificate?

The Illinois Department of Public Health allows adoptees to submit a request to obtain their original birth certificates by filling out a simple form and submitting a $15 fee along with a copy of a valid government issued identification. Like many access states, Illinois may also allow adoptees to obtain death records of their biological parents, if deceased. It is important to note that per Illinois law, even if one parent “opts out” in order to protect their privacy, this does not automatically extend to the other parent. That is, even if one of your adopted parents did not wish to be contacted, you still may be able to obtain information about your other biological parent. Consequently, even if both of your biological parents are deceased, you may be able to locate other members of your family such as siblings. If you were adopted and at all interested in your biological history, this law gives you the opportunity to access information about your biological family.

DuPage County Adoption Attorneys You Can Trust

Adoption is a happy, fulfilling, and exciting time for families gaining a new member of their home. While adoptees often find themselves grateful for their adopted families, many still have questions about their birth parents. Illinois birth certificate disclosure laws allow adoptees the opportunity to locate their birth parents, while still protecting the privacy of those birth parents who wished to remain anonymous. If you were adopted and have questions about your rights in contacting your birth parents and family, or if you are interesting in pursuing adoption, our experienced DuPage County adoption lawyers at Mulyk Laho Law, LLC have the knowledge necessary to guide you through the process as effortlessly as possible. Adoptions can be time consuming, complicated, and require patience, but the end result is worth the effort. Contact our experienced family law attorneys today and let us help you navigate the adoption process and be a part of uniting you with your new family. Call 630-852-1100 or fill out the online contact form to set up an initial consultation.

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The law offices of Mulyk Laho Law, LLC
45 S. Park Blvd., Suite 230, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Phone: (630) 852-1100
Fax: (630) 852-1128