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 Changes in Missouri Adoption Records Disclosure to Take Effect August 28, 2011

HCS/SS/SCS/SB 351 - This act modifies provisions regarding adoption records.

Current law allows for non-identifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed biological parents or siblings to be furnished by the child placing agency or the juvenile court to the adoptive parents, legal guardians or adopted adult upon request. This act allows such non-identifying information to also be furnished to the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased. SECTION 453.121.3

This act modifies the provisions regarding adopted adults obtaining identifying information of the undisclosed biological parents by making a request to the circuit court having original jurisdiction. This act provides that such identifying information shall also be furnished to the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased. SECTION 453.121.4

Current law allows the adopted adult to make a request and prescribes a procedure for obtaining consent from both the adoptive and biological parents if prior consent has not been given either through the adoption information registry or through contact by the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel. This act modifies current law by requiring just the biological parents to be notified about the request for identifying information. SECTION 453.121.4 AND 5

If a biological parent authorizes the release of information or if a biological parent is found to be deceased, the court shall disclose the identifying information as to that biological parent to the adopted adult so long as the other biological parent either:

-Is unknown

-Is known but cannot be found and notified

-Is deceased or

-Has filed with the court an affidavit authorizing the release of information. SECTION 453.121.7

This act provides that adopted adults may obtain identifying information on adult siblings with the sibling's consent without the court having to find that such information is necessary for health-related purposes. SECTION 453.121.8

Missouri Adoptee Rights Movement sent questions to the Children's Division of the Circuit Courts regarding implementation of this new Bill. Their questions and answers can be found here:

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 193.125

The State Registrar shall file the original certificate of birth with the certificate of decree of adoption and such file may be opened by the State Registrar only upon receipt of a certified copy of an order as decreed by the court of adoption.

Access to Non-identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121

Non-identifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed birth parents or siblings shall be provided upon written request. Non-identifying information can include the physical description, nationality, religious background, and medical history of the birth parents or siblings.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121

An adult adoptee may make a written request for information identifying his or her birth parents. If the birth parents have consented to the release of identifying information, the court shall disclose the information. If the birth parents have not consented, the court shall notify in writing, within 10 days of receipt of the request, the adoptive parents and the child-placing agency or court personnel having access to the information. For adoptions completed prior to 8-13-1986, the adoptive parents must consent to contacting the birth parents unless there is proof that the adoptive parents are deceased or incapacitated.

If the agency or court is unable to notify the birth parent within 3 months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the adult adoptee. If an affidavit executed by a birth parent authorizing the release of information is filed with the court, the court shall disclose the identifying information.

An adult adoptee may request identifying information about an adult sibling when such information is necessary for urgent health-related purposes. Identifying information pertaining exclusively to the adult sibling shall be released only upon consent of that adult sibling.

The department shall maintain a registry for birth parents, adult siblings, and adult adoptees to indicate their desire to be contacted by each other. At the time of registration, a birth parent or adult sibling may consent in writing to the release of identifying information to an adult adoptee. If such consent has not been executed and the division believes that a match has occurred, the division shall make confidential contact with the birth parents or adult siblings and with the adult adoptee. The birth parent, adult sibling, or adult adoptee may refuse to go forward with any further contact between the parties when contacted by the division.