Adoption law opens access to birth certificates

A new law will open access to original, pre-adoption birth certificates for all Washington-born adult adoptees beginning in July.

Adoptees may start pre-ordering their original birth certificates now. However, it could take several weeks after July 1 to process a request because of the expected high volume and because each record must be located and retrieved from an off-site storage location.

Many adoptees have waited a long time for the opportunity to get information about their birth parents, and state health officials expect many requests.

All adoptees 18 and older will be able to request a copy of their original birth certificate when the new law takes effect on July 1.

Adoptees are encouraged to get a head start on the process now by completing the adoption certificate request form that’s on the Department of Health website at

Birth parents are allowed to choose whether to release personal information or keep their identity confidential under the new law by filing a contact preference form. Parents who file a contact preference form must provide information about their family medical history, regardless of whether they choose to disclose their identity. If a birth parent doesn’t file a contact preference form, the adoptee will be able to get a copy of their original birth certificate.

This change means some adoptees won’t have to go through the court system to get information about a birth parent. However, that option remains available for birth parents and adoptees who prefer discreet contact.


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