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New state adoption file rules to affect birth parents, adoptees
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Starting Aug. 1, individuals who have been adopted (adoptees) may request their adoption file from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Forms are now available online for birth parents who wish to redact their name from an adoption file, or update their contact or medical information.
An ADH adoption file usually includes an original birth certificate and adoption decree, although what is included in a file can vary depending on the adoption. Act 519, which became law in March 2017, gave adoptees the ability to request their files if they are at least 21 years old starting Aug.1.
The new law also allows birth parents to complete forms to redact their name from an adoption file as well as update their family history information and contact preference. They can request to be contacted by the adopted child directly, through a third party or not at all, although the ADH cannot guarantee that request will be followed.
To submit a redaction request, a birth parent must show proof of their identity, submit a notarized form and update their genetic or social history. A form cannot be submitted by one birth parent for another.
Written requests for adoption files will be accepted starting Wednesday, Aug. 1, by adoptees or, upon their death, a surviving spouse or a guardian of their child. That request must be notarized and include proof of their identity. There is a $100 fee to process an application for adoption files.
More information, as well as redaction forms to update an adoption file, may be found online at www.healthy.arkansas.gov or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-462-0599. Forms must be returned to the ADH Vital Records Department, State Registrar, 4815 West Markham St., Slot 44, Little Rock AR 72205.