Vermont

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 6-104; 6-105

Nonidentifying information is available to:

  • The adoptive parent or legal guardian of an adopted person
  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older or has been emancipated
  • A deceased adopted person’s direct descendant who is age 18 or older, or a parent or guardian of a descendant who is under age 18
  • The adopted person’s birth parent, grandparent, or sibling

Identifying information may be disclosed to:

  • An adopted person who is age 18 or older or has been emancipated
  • A deceased adopted person’s direct descendant who is age 18 or older or the parent or guardian of a direct descendant who is younger than age 18
  • The birth parent
  • A birth sibling who is age 18 or older

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 6-104; 2-105

Any person listed above may request a detailed summary of any relevant report about the adopted person, the birth parents, and the adopted person’s genetic history, including the information required by § 2-105 of this title. This report shall exclude identifying information concerning an individual who has not signed a waiver of confidentiality. The report shall include all of the following nonidentifying information that is reasonably available:

  • A social and health history of the child
  • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse known to have been suffered by the child
  • Enrollment and performance in school, results of educational testing, and any special educational needs
  • An account of the child’s past and existing relationships with any relative, foster parent, or other persons
  • A social and health history of the minor’s parents and extended family, including:
    • Health and genetic history, including any known hereditary condition or disease
    • Racial, ethnic, and religious background and general physical description
    • Educational, vocational, athletic, artistic, or scientific achievement or interests
    • The existence of any other child of the parents

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 6-105; 6-106

For adoptions finalized prior to July 1, 1986, the registry shall disclose identifying information if the birth parent has filed any kind of document that clearly indicates that he or she consents to such disclosure.For adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 1986, the registry shall disclose identifying information without requiring the consent of the birth parent unless the birth parent has filed a request for nondisclosure in accordance with the provisions of § 6-106 of this title and has not withdrawn the request.

Identifying information about the adopted person shall be disclosed to the birth parent if the adoptive parent of the adopted person who is younger than age 18 consents to the disclosure. Identifying information about a deceased adopted person shall be disclosed to the birth parent or sibling upon request if the deceased adopted person’s direct descendant is age 18 or older and consents to the disclosure; or the parent or guardian of a direct descendant who is younger than age 18 consents to the disclosure. Identifying information about a birth sibling shall be disclosed to the adopted person upon request if both the sibling and the adopted person are age 18 or older and the sibling consents to disclosure.

A birth parent may prevent disclosure of identifying information by filing a request for nondisclosure with the registry. A request for nondisclosure may be withdrawn by a birth parent at any time.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 6-107

The original birth certificate may be released upon request to an adopted person who is age 18 or older and who has access to identifying information.

The original birth certificate is unsealed and becomes public record 99 years after the date of the adopted person’s birth.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Vermont Adoption Registry, Department for Children and Families

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 2-105
The parent or agency placing the child shall provide in writing to the prospective adoptive parent nonidentifying information that is reasonably available from the parents, relatives, or guardian of the child; the agency; any person who has had physical custody of the minor for 30 days or more; or any person who has provided health, psychological, educational, or similar services to the child.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 2-105
The report shall provide the social and health histories of the child, including:

  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • First and middle name as given by the parent
  • Current health history, including an account of the child’s prenatal care, medical condition at birth, and any drug or medication taken by the child’s mother during pregnancy
  • Any subsequent medical, psychological, psychiatric, and dental information and diagnosis
  • A record of any immunizations and health care received while in foster or other care
  • Any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse known to have been suffered by the child
  • Enrollment and performance in school, results of educational testing, and any special educational needs
  • An account of the child’s past and existing relationship(s) with any relative, foster parent, or other person with whom the child has lived or visited on a regular basis

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 2-105
The report shall provide the social and health histories of the child’s parents and extended family, including:

  • Health and genetic history, including:
    • Any known hereditary condition or disease
    • The current health of each parent
    • A summary of the findings of any medical, psychological, or psychiatric evaluation of each parent completed prior to placement
    • History of use of drugs and alcohol
    • If a parent is deceased, the cause of and the age at death
  • Racial, ethnic, and religious background
  • A general physical description
  • The levels and types of educational, vocational, athletic, artistic, or scientific achievement or interests, including academic performance and diagnosed learning problems
  • The date of birth and sex of any other child of the parents and whether or not those children have been removed from the parent’s custody or placed for adoption
  • The facts and circumstances related to the consent or relinquishment or termination of parental rights
  • Any information necessary to determine the child’s eligibility for State or Federal benefits, including financial, medical, or other assistance

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 2-105
The report must be provided in writing to the prospective adoptive parent before the child is placed for adoption.Before the final hearing on a petition for adoption, a person or agency that placed a minor for adoption shall provide to the prospective adoptive parent a supplemental written report containing any information that was unavailable before the child was placed but becomes reasonably available after the placement.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 1-105 4-102
All parental rights and duties of the former parent of the adopted person terminate, including the right of inheritance and intestate succession from or through the adopted person, upon final decree of adoption. The child’s right to inherit through intestacy from or through the former parents and their kindred also terminates.An adoption by a stepparent does not affect:

  • The legal relationship between the adopted person and his or her parent who is the adoptive stepparent’s spouse or deceased spouse
  • The right of the adopted person or his or her descendant to inheritance or intestate succession through or from the adoptee’s former parent

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 1-104
The adoptive parent(s) and the adopted person have the legal relation of parent and child and have all the rights and duties of that relationship, including the right of inheritance and succession from or through each other and the kindred of the adoptive parent(s).

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 14, § 556
When a testator omits to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children, or for the issue of a deceased child, and it appears that such omission was made by mistake or accident, such child or its issue shall have the same share of the estate of the testator as if he or she had died intestate, to be assigned as in case of intestate estates.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A § 1-108

A decree or order of adoption entered by a court or administrative entity in another country acting pursuant to that country’s law or to any convention or treaty on intercountry adoption that the United States has ratified, has the same effect as a decree or order of adoption issued by a court of this State. The rights and obligations of the parties as to matters within the jurisdiction of this State shall be determined as though the decree or order were issued by a court of this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 3-802; Tit. 18, § 5078a

Upon receipt of a report of an adoption prepared in accordance with the law of another State or country or a certified copy of a decree of adoption together with information necessary to identify the adopted child’s original birth certificate and to issue a new certificate, the Supervisor of Vital Records shall issue a certificate of foreign birth for an child adopted in this State and who was born outside the United States and was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth.The Supervisor of Vital Records shall establish a Vermont birth certificate for a person born in a foreign country when the supervisor receives:

  • A written request that a new certificate be established from the adoptee, if he or she is age 18, or from the adoptive parent or parents, if the adoptee is younger than age 18
  • A record of the adoption

The new Vermont birth certificate shall be on a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Health. The new birth certificate shall include:

  • The true or probable foreign country of birth and true or probable date of birth
  • The adoptive parents as though they were natural parents
  • A notation that it was issued by authority of this chapter
  • A statement that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship

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