Adoption Records Becoming More Open in Texas

Adult adoptees in Texas can now obtain a copy of their original birth certificate thanks to a new law that took effect Sept. 1st.
The 79th Legislative Session passed House Bill 240 which affects adult adoptees wanting a copy of their original birth certificate.

The Vital Statistics Unit Adoption Team works with attorneys and district clerks to process adoption in Texas. If you are an attorney or district clerk and need a sample adoption-related document you can go to on the web. Interested parties may complete a form on the site and mail it in with a $9 fee to the Department of State Health Services, Texas Vital Statistics, Box 12040, Austin, TX 78711-2040. Requests for non-certified copies of original birth certificates take eight to ten weeks to process.

The Health and Safety Code was amended by changing Subsection D and adding another section to reflect the change which states that an adult adoptee applying for access to an original birth certificate who knows the identity of each parent named on the original certificate is entitled to a non-certified copy of the original form without a court order.

One day an adult adoptee by the name of R.W. Lombard was chatting in and two of the other chatters started to get real excited as they realized that they were mother and daughter who had been looking for each other and had both joined in on the chat line at the same time.

The Texas Vital Statistics Central Adoption Registry is part of a voluntary mutual consent registry system mandated during the state’s 68th Legislation Session in 1983. It is unique in that it has the authority without a court order to view a sealed or confidential record. The Voluntary Adoption Registry system is open to people 18 years old or order who are adoptees born and placed for adoption in Texas, birth parents, and biological siblings. In Texas over 30 child-placing agencies operate their own voluntary adoption registry. The registry provides an avenue for adult adoptees, birth parents, and biological siblings to locate each other without having to go through the court system or spend excessive amount of time and effort trying to find each other through other sources.

A match occurs when an adopted person and his or her birth parent or a biological sibling voluntarily register. The registry sends a biography on the participant’s life to the other participant at the same time identifying information is exchanged.

Applicants complete an application on the website, submit a copy of a photo i.d, and a $30 payment payable to Texas Vital Statistics to Central Adoption Registry, Box 140123, Austin, TX 78714-0123.

You just never know, said Tony Host. His cousin’s wife was helping in the local family history library when in walked a woman in her 40s asking for help searching a particular family line. Half an hour later the woman approached her again and asked for the same information. Turned out they were twins separated at birth and adopted by different families who chose that day to visit the family history library and were both wearing almost identical clothing.

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