imagesAdoptee Search Information

Information courtesy of: Kentucky’s Adoption Search Services and the Kentucky Department for Social Services

Can non-identifying information be released?

Can adult adopted persons request that searches be made for birth parents?

Can searches be made for brothers or sisters?

Can a medical or genetic condition affecting an adopted person be provided to the adoptee?

How do you request Kentucky adult adoptee services?

Are records kept of all inquiries?

Kentucky Adoption Laws require Kentucky’s private adoption agencies, the Department for Social Services, and Circuit Courts to release certain information from adoption records to adult adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents, and siblings.

All adoption records are sealed, by statute, at the time the adoption is finalized and are not available for review by the adoptee or other requesting parties.

Non-identifying information is available upon written request from the requestor. Identifying information is available only if the adult adopted person’s (over 21 years of age) birth parents, and birth siblings each consent. All requests for information from adoption records must be submitted to the agency that placed the adoptee, or to the Circuit Court that finalized the adoption.

Traditionally, birth parents receive little or no information about their child’s placement or progress. Adoptive parents receive minimal information about the birth family background and adoptees only receive information provided by the adoptive parents.

Recent changes in Kentucky’s law now make access to some information easier. Motivation to search varies for each individual. Under Kentucky’s current law, the Department for Social Services is able to conduct birth parent searches and provide certain background information to adult adopted persons, birth relatives and other professionals in the field of adoption.

Can non-identifying information be released?

Yes. Non-identifying medical and birth family information may be released to adopted persons who are 18 years of age or older and to adoptive parents of minor children without a court order. Non-identifying information that may be released includes the date, time, and weight at birth in addition to the reason the adoptee was placed for adoption. Background information about the birth family, including age, nationality, ethnic background, race, religious preference, educational level, general physical description and any other general information will be provided. The health history of the birth parents and other relatives that might have an affect on the adoptee’s mental or physical health may also be included if contained in the case record.

Can adult adopted persons request that searches be made for birth parents?

Yes. A search for the birth parents may begin when the adoptee obtains a court order from the Kentucky Circuit Court where the adoption was finalized. The adoptee must be 21 years or older. The Circuit Court reports the search findings to the adoptee once the search is completed.

The birth parent search fee is $150, non-refundable, and may be waived for hardship circumstances. KRS 199.572 requires that the search be completed and the results reported back to the court within six months from issuance of the court order. If the birth parent is located, she or he must give their written permission before any identifying information can be released to the adoptee.

If the Department for Social Services is unable to locate or contact the birth parent, identifying information about them that appears on the adoptee’s original birth certificate may be released by the court to the adoptee. The original birth certificate is not released.

Can searches be made for brothers or sisters?

No. In situations where a pre-adoptive brother or sister relationship existed, the sibling can seek information about the adopted sibling. In order for the Department to release any information, an adoption record must be on file for the adopted sibling (must be 18 years or older). The record must contain information confirming that a sibling relationship existed before the adoption and contain a matching request from the adoptee.

If the adoptee has made a like request and authorized the release of information about himself, the Department for Social Services will release this information to the pre-adoptive sibling making the request.

Can a medical or genetic condition affecting an adopted person be provided to the adoptee?

Yes. If the Department receives physician verified written information from the biological parent, adult biological sibling of an adopted person, or a provider of medical services concerning a medical or genetic condition which has affected or may affect the physical or mental health of genetically-related persons, the Department shall make a diligent effort to notify the adoptive parent if the adoptee is a minor, the adult adoptee, or the adult adoptable person in order to share this health information.

The Department shall submit the health information to the clerk of the Circuit Court which issued the adoption order to place in the court record. In addition, if the child-placing agency or the court receives health information, it shall notify and send the information to the Department.

How do you request Kentucky adult adopted persons services?

Requests for adult adopted persons services must be made in writing and signed by the adoptee or other requesting parties. The request should state what information you’re seeking and include the requestor’s current name, address and telephone number.

All requests must include:

  • adoptee’s full name and birth date
  • adoptive parents full names
  • county and year adoption was finalized
  • birth parent’s name, if known
  • any other birth family information

Hundreds of requests for adoption information are received each year. As a result, it can sometimes take a while to get the information you are requesting. Because each request and each adoption record is different, it is impossible to suggest an “average” waiting period, but each request will be handled as quickly and fairly as possible.

Are records kept of all inquiries?

The Department for Social Services maintains a file of all written inquiries from, or on behalf of, an adoptee. It is important to remember that archived records are sealed at the time of adoption. New information is seldom added to the case record after the adoption is finalized.

Birth relatives are encouraged to put information in the closed records of the court, the Department for Social Services, or private adoption agencies that shows their interest in reuniting with the adoptee or other information about changes in names, addresses or major family health problems.

Additional Adoptee Search Resources
Kentucky Deptartment
Social Services
275 E. Main
St. Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-214

International Soundex
Reunion Registry
Box 2312, Carson City
NV 89702-2312
Phone: (702) 882-7755

People Searching News
Box 100444
Palm Bay, FL 32910-0444
Phone: (407) 768-2222

Concerned United
Birth Parents
200 Walker Street
Des Moines, IA 50317
Phone: (800) 822-2777

National Adoption
Information Clearinghouse
11426 Rockville Pike Suite
410 Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: (301) 231-6512

American Adoption Congress
1000 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite 9
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (732) 842-4448

KAC Mailing Address
Kentucky Adoption Coalition
P.O. Box 8056
Louisville, KY 40257-8056