Texas Adoption Records
How to Access Information on Your Texas Adoption
Often, adoptees, birth mothers and biological siblings wish to find information about their adoption. If identifiable information was kept private, how do you unseal adoption records in Texas?
Voluntary Texas state registries can provide adoption information for adults.
- Redacted state records are available through the Department of Family and Protective Services.
- Open adoption helps children, birth mothers and adoptive families have an open connection and maintain a lifelong relationship.
In adoptions where identifiable information was kept anonymous, there may come a time where an adoptee, birth mother or biological sibling wants information on their adoption. But, how do you go about accessing Texas adoption records?
In many cases, a birth mother kept her adoption private for a specific reason, but that doesn’t mean the feeling of wanting to remain anonymous lasts forever. Individuals seeking information about their adoption have options in Texas.
This article will provide information on Texas adoption records, what options are available for obtaining adoption records and how open adoption means you never have to worry about locating Texas adoption records. You can also call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak to one of our adoption specialists about Texas adoption laws and records.
Can I Find Adoption Records in Texas?
The answer to this question is yes, but it comes with certain parameters and limitations in the state of Texas. Accessing Texas adoption records can be done but in terms of the information you can find, it depends on whether or not the individuals involved registered their information through the Central Adoption Registry (CAR).
Does Texas Adoption Law Allow Public Access to Texas Adoption Records?
Texas adoption law seals adoption records to the public. Adoptees can obtain a redacted copy of their adoption record, but certain amounts of personal information are deleted to ensure privacy.
Texas denies the right of adult adoptees to request and access their own birth certificates unless the adoptee knows the names of the birth parents listed on the birth certificate. In this case, a petition can be filed to the court in which the adoption occurred.
If you are hoping to request a copy of these records, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services must have been involved in the placement of the adoptee.
How Can I Open Texas Adoption Records?
Because Texas adoption laws keep records protected and only offer redacted copies, the Central Adoption Registry is your main source for finding information on your Texas adoption. This registry provides adoptees, birth parents and biological siblings over the age of 18 the chance to provide contact information that is made available to the other party in their adoption that has also registered contact information.
A match is made and each individual is notified. The CAR is maintained by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and is the official registry for obtaining Texas adoption records.
Once a match is made through the CAR, identifiable information is released on three conditions:
- Written consent to allow the disclosure
- A minimum of one hour of counseling
- Certification showing completion of counseling
“Open” and “Semi-Open Adoption” [You Never Have to Search for Adoption Records in Texas]
The choice of a birth mother to have a closed adoption is always hers to make. There might be circumstances in which having an anonymous adoption is best, however, closed adoptions have become far less common since the 1980s.
How society views adoption has shifted dramatically and as one of the leading national adoption agencies, we strongly encourage our birth mothers to have an “open” or “semi-open” adoption.
There are many benefits to openness in adoption. Some of which are:
- The ability to maintain open communication with the adoptive family
- Remaining a fixture in the child’s life
- Giving the child a better chance at avoiding identity issues later in life
- Providing access to important family background and medical history
- And more
A birth mother is in complete control of her adoption. How much contact and communication she has with the adoptive family and her child is up to her. But through open adoption, there is never a concern for the availability of identifiable information.
Most states—Texas included—make accessing adoption records difficult once they are sealed and kept private. While the CAR in Texas is a viable option for finding records of adoption in Texas, it relies heavily on the others involved also submitting their information for matching.
Finding Support When Searching Records of Adoption in Texas
Finding a family member long after an adoption takes place comes with a great deal of emotion, but it can also be an amazing experience. Because many of our adoption specialists are adoptees, birth mothers or adoptive parents, we understand the life-changing decision of adoption, as well as what it’s like to reconnect with biological family members later in life.
Our Director of Social Work, Jennifer Van Gundy, was placed for adoption as a child. Many years later, as a wife and mother of two children, she was able to unseal her adoption records in Colorado and find her birth mother.
“For most of my life, I had wondered about my birth mother. Was she okay? Did she have a healthy adoption process? I got the answers to these questions and those about my personal health history, and we’re tentatively getting to know each other better through our new contact,” Jennifer said.
“My recent experience only confirms my belief in the positive power of open adoption. While my closed adoption wasn’t a negative experience by any means, knowing what I know now would have helped solve the unknowns and alleviate the feelings of shame I had at times growing up. Having contact with my birth mother now is an unexpected step in my adoption story, but I’m looking forward to whatever new relationship we may develop from here on.”
To get more information on adoption in Texas, adoption laws in Texas and how you can potentially access Texas adoption records, speak to one of our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION or visit us online to get more information.
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