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Who can access adoption records in Georgia?

A previous post here discussed the use of post-adoption agreements that may allow adopted children to have contact with, and possibly even personal visitation with, a birth parent. We touched on some of the reasons people and the state may wish to allow these types of agreements. However, in many cases, birth parents either don't wish to be involved with the child once adopted, or have abandoned the child to the state or a private agency. In these instances, Georgia may have an interest in protecting the privacy of biological parents to encourage them to give children up for adoption if it is in the child's best interests.

Georgia has laws regarding to whom information about biological parents may be released, and in what circumstances. The salient issue when thinking of these laws is whether the information requested is "identifying" or "non-identifying." Identifying information would be information which would reveal the identity of the birth parent in question, while non-identifying information may be relevant to an adoptee of other party, but would not directly identify the birth parent.

For example, an adult adoptee or an adoptive parent of a minor may request non-identifying information in writing. This information may include the adopted child's date and place of birth, and information pertaining to the birth parent's genetic, social or health history. This may be important, especially in cases in which an adoptive child may have health issues related to lineage.

When it comes to releasing names of birth parents, however, the process is a bit trickier. In Georgia, an adopted person who is 21-years-old or older may file a written request for this information. It may be granted if a birth parent has previously filed written consent to such disclosure. If no previous written consent has been filed, the state will make a diligent search for the birth parents and notify them that a request has been made so that they may file such consent. The adopted person may also petition a court for release of the information if not releasing it would be detrimental to the child's physical, emotional or psychological health. Biological parents and siblings may also use this process to gain information about an adopted child.

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