Access to Adoption Records

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (541 KB) of this publication.

Who May Access Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-304; 19-5-305

The following persons may have access to adoption records:

  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older
  • The birth parents
  • The adoptive parent, custodial grandparent, or legal guardian of a minor adopted person
  • An adult descendant of an adopted person or the adoptive parent, with the written consent of the adopted person
  • The adopted person’s spouse, adult stepchild, or adopted adult sibling, with the consent of the adopted person
  • The birth grandparent with the consent of the birth parent
  • The legal representative of any of the above listed persons
  • A former foster child who may or may not have been adopted, who is age 18 or older, and who is searching for a birth sibling who is also age 18 or older, who may or may not have been adopted and who may or may not have been in the foster care system

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-305

For adoptions finalized prior to September 1, 1999: Access to the adoption record is available through a confidential intermediary who must obtain consent from the parties before release of information.For adoptions finalized on or after September 1, 1999, all adoption records shall be open to inspection by persons listed above. Adoption records, as defined by § 19-1-103, include:

  • The adopted person’s original birth certificate and amended birth certificate
  • The final decree of adoption
  • Any nonidentifying information
  • The final order of relinquishment
  • The order of termination of parental rights

‘Nonidentifying information’ means information that does not disclose the name, address, place of employment, or any other material information that would lead to the identification of the birth parents and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The physical description of the birth parents
  • The educational background and occupation of the birth parents
  • Genetic information about the birth family
  • Medical information about the adopted person’s birth
  • Social information about the birth parents
  • The placement history of the adopted person

The State Registrar shall prescribe an updated medical history statement that a birth parent may submit with the completed contact preference form. The medical history statement shall be a brief narrative statement written by the birth parent indicating medical information about the birth parent or other biological relatives.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-304; 19-5-305

Any of the parties listed above may file a motion with the court to appoint a confidential intermediary to determine the whereabouts of such individual’s unknown relative or relatives. No one shall seek to determine the whereabouts of a relative who is younger than age 18.

The State Registrar shall make available to any birth parent named on an original birth certificate a contact preference form on which the birth parent may state a preference regarding contact by an adult adopted person, an adult descendant of an adopted person, or a legal representative of the adopted person or descendant. The contact preference form shall allow the birth parent to voluntarily include his or her contact information in the adoption record and shall provide him or her with options to indicate a preference regarding whether he or she would or would not prefer future contact with the adopted person or adult descendant of the adopted person and, if contact is preferred, whether the birth parent would prefer contact directly or through a confidential intermediary or a child placement agency. The contact preference form shall also indicate that the birth parent can change his or her contact preference form by notifying the State Registrar in writing.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-305

The contact preference form provided by the State Registrar shall include an option for the birth parent to authorize the release of the original birth certificate. An authorization to release may be exercised and submitted to the State Registrar at any time after January 1, 2006.

Where the Information Can Be Located

  • Voluntary Adoption Registry, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • The child-placing agency involved in the adoption

Leave a Reply