North Carolina House Bill 1463 recently changed the North Carolina adoption statutes G. S. 48-9-101, 48-9-104 and 130A-93 that allow for the disclosure of certain adoption information. Effective October 1, 2010 adult adoptees, biological parents, full and half-siblings of adult adoptees, adult family members of a deceased biological parent, adult family members of a deceased adoptee and adoptive parents of children under the age of 18 may seek and/or share updated family health information through child-placing agencies referred to as Confidential Intermediaries. Additionally, with the written consent of all parties, individuals may also share identifying information and/or meet each other with the coordination of a Confidential Intermediary. The Confidential Intermediary statues may be reviewed at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2009/Bills/House/PDF/H1463v6.pdf.
According to North Carolina law, when an adoption is finalized the records are permanently sealed and remain closed to the public. Confidential Intermediaries, however, may access adoption records in order to assist in searches on behalf of eligible participants and to share adoption information when all parties consent.
All North Carolina adoptees are entitled to non-identifying information (also known as health history and background information). Non-identifying information, which is gathered at the time of the adoption, is maintained by the agency that approved the adoption and is available upon request of the approving agency. Adoptees have no obligation to participate in Confidential Intermediary services to obtain non-identifying information and this information will be provided at no cost. Non-identifying information may include the date; time of birth, weight at birth and the reason the adoptee was placed for adoption. In addition, background information about the birth family, including age, nationality, ethnic background, race, religious preference, educational level, general physical description and any other general information may also be disclosed. Lastly, any health history of the birth family that could affect an adoptee's mental or physical health may also be released. Names, addresses or any other information that could lead to the identity of birth family members will be redacted before being shared with the requester.
A birth family member may update non-identifying information by contacting the approving agency at any time. Should an approving agency receive updated health information from an adoptee's birth family the agency must make reasonable efforts to contact and forward the information to the adoptee or the adoptive parent of an adoptee who is under 18 years of age. With the consent of the birth parent, updated non-identifying information may also be gathered and shared with adoptees via the use of a Confidential Intermediary.
If a requester seeking post-adoption information knows the agency that approved the adoption they may contact the agency directly to make a request for non-identifying information and/or Confidential Intermediary services. Requesters that do not know the approving agency may submit a written request to the North Carolina State Division of Social Services at 325 N. Salisbury Street, 2425 Mail Service Center, and Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-2425. If the approving agency does not provide Confidential Intermediary services the Division will refer the requester to another licensed Confidential Intermediary provider.
Those seeking adoption information may wish to pursue an alternative method for obtaining identifying information. Pursuant to G. S. 48-9-105 and 48-9-106, any individual may file a motion with the Clerk of Superior Court in the county of original jurisdiction (the county courthouse where the adoption proceeding was originally filed) to request that an adoptee’s adoption record be opened and/or to obtain a certified copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate. Once the motion is filed a hearing is scheduled wherein the petitioner will present evidence to the judge. The Court, after giving primary consideration to the best interest of the adoptee with due consideration to the interest of other family members, will ultimately decide what records, if any, will be released to the petitioner. Retention of a private attorney, although not required, is advised for those who are unfamiliar with legal protocol.
In summary, the state of North Carolina currently offers two options for post-adoption searches. One includes the use of a Confidential Intermediary who serves as the facilitator in an adoption search. The other includes petitioning the Court in the original county of jurisdiction to request that the adoption records be unsealed. Listed below are two links for additional Confidential Intermediary information.
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Page Modified 10/15/2012