5 FAQs about California Adoption Records

California adoption records provide details about the adoption story you’ve always wondered about. By petitioning the court for access, you can get the answers you have been seeking for a long time.

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Adoption records in California can be tricky to navigate. Whether you’re a birth parent or an adoptee, trying to open those records may come with some legal headaches. But, you’re not alone. Although this article is not intended as legal advice, it should help you learn a lot more about the process.

To get more adoption information now, contact us online at any time. We’re here to help you whenever you need us. Below, we’ve compiled five common questions about California adoption records that we hear all the time.

1. What Are California Adoption Records?

Adoption records in California provide all the specifics of an adoption story. They detail who the birth mother is and when they placed the baby for adoption. Up until a few decades ago, most adoptions were closed, meaning that adoptees grew up not knowing who their birth family was.

In a closed adoption, no identifying information is exchanged, making the adoption process 100% confidential. Closed adoptions still happen today, but they are much rarer. Instead, the vast majority of adoptions today contain some degree of openness. So, most adoptees now have a relationship with their birth families.

2. Are Adoption Records Public in California?

No, California adoption records are not open to the public. Although adoption records in California are sealed, there are several ways that adult adoptees can release those documents. By meeting certain criteria, you can learn how to get adoption records in California and discover your adoption story.

Despite the fact that adoption records are confidential under the state’s laws, you can petition the court to unseal those records if you are an adult adoptee. To learn more about what that process entails, fill out our online contact form today.

3. How Do You Obtain Adoption Records in California?

When it comes to how to obtain adoption records in California, there are several steps that you’ll need to take. Here is the process for how to find adoption records in California:

  • Step 1: In the county where you were adopted, contact the county clerk and request a petition to unseal your adoption records through the California Department of Health.
  • Step 2: File the petition with the court of record in the county where you were adopted.
  • Step 3: Meet with a county judge to discuss the reasons why you want to unseal your adoption records in California. For the most part, successful petitions often involve medical necessity.
  • Step 4: In case the judge denies your request, you can ask the court to provide a confidential intermediary, which is a licensed professional who acts on behalf of one or more members of the adoption triad to unseal California adoption records. They can see if the birth mother consents to getting in touch with you.

If you’re looking to unseal your California adoption records, then you’re likely interested in building a relationship with the birth mother you have always wondered about. That’s the point of a confidential intermediary, who will determine if all parties in the adoption triad consent to this communication. If that’s the case, then the intermediary can coordinate the start of that.

4. Are Adoption Records in California Free?

Whether your adoption records in California are free will depend on what county you were adopted in. If your request to unseal your California adoption records is successful, then you may have to pay a small fee for a copy of those records. Remember, the amount of money you’ll need to pay will vary based on the county.

5. How Do I Get Started on Unsealing California Adoption Records Today?

We aren’t here to provide legal advice, but we can explain how opening your adoption records in California works. Because we operate throughout the Golden State, we have a solid grasp of the process and can connect you with a reputable adoption attorney. They will know those adoption and family laws inside and out.

Although California’s adoption records are closed, that shouldn’t prevent you from being able to unseal them and learn more about your adoption story. If you want to get more free information now about your California adoption records, then fill out our online contact form today. We’d love to help you out in any way that we can.