Search and Consent Procedures

What does Search and Consent Procedures mean?

Some states have their own search and consent procedures which determine when adoption records from a closed adoption may be released. Other states do not. For instance, Alabama's search and consent procedure states, "All records are sealed and subject to inspection only upon good cause shown or as provided by law. Identifying information may be released upon mutual consent; active search and consent procedure through court-appointed intermediary is established to facilitate adult adoptees' request for identities of parents."

Virginia also has a search and consent procedure which states, "All records shall be sealed and shall not be open to inspection or be copied by anyone other than the adopted child, if 18 years or older, the child-placing agency and the adoptive parents. Only non-identifying information is available except (I) upon application of the adoptee, if 18 years or more and (ii) upon court order, if good cause is shown. The court is to consider the effects of disclosure upon the adoptee, adopters, and biological parents."

As you can see, if you have questions about your state's search and consent procedures or you are trying to determine whether you have the right to open sealed records about an adoption you will need to understand your state's laws and what you may legally be required to do to obtain adoption records.

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