Aug 11, 2023

Minnesota Unseals Original Adoption Records Starting July 2024

The following is an announcement issued by the State of Minnesota:

Birth Records and Adoption

Law change: Adoptee access to original birth records
Beginning July 1, 2024, adopted people born in Minnesota who are 18 or older will be able to request their original birth records. Birth parents named on an original birth record may submit a contact preference form (see information below) to indicate their preference for contact by the adopted person.

After an adoption, birth records are changed to show the new name of the adopted person and new parent information. When people born in Minnesota are adopted, courts collect a $40 fee from the adoptive parents and send it along with a Certificate of Adoption or a court order to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). MDH replaces the original birth record with the new one. The original record and all correspondence pertaining to it are sealed, making it confidential and only released according to Minnesota law. Changes to birth records for adopted persons not born in Minnesota are handled by the state where they were born.

If an adopted person was born outside the United States, the adoptive parents file the adoption papers from the country of birth and the district court collects a $40 fee from the adoptive parents. The court sends the fee and a Certificate of Adoption to MDH so that the foreign birth record can be created. 

Adoptive parents must order and pay a separate fee to receive a birth certificate – see the Birth Certificates page. They must complete the application with the adopted person’s current information, rather than information from before the adoption.

Court administrators: Instructions for courts

Accessing sealed birth records

Access to original, sealed birth records is restricted to certain people under certain conditions. Adopted people may request their original birth records now, but a new law will be providing more access for adoptees soon. Beginning July 1, 2024, adopted people born in Minnesota who are 18 or older can request their original birth records. If the adopted person is deceased, their legal representative or person related to the adopted person will be able to request the records.

Noncertified copies of original birth records may also be released to a:

birth parent named on the original birth record.

representative of a federally recognized American Indian tribe, for the sole purpose of determining the adopted person’s eligibility for tribal enrollment or membership.

person with a valid, certified copy of a court order that directs the release of an original birth record to them.

These requesters must submit a Request for Original Birth Record of an Adopted Person (PDF) to obtain the record. Others looking for information about a sibling or parent who was adopted should visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services Adoption and kinship webpages or call 651-431-4682.

Adopted people

Currently, an adopted person, age 19 or older, may request a noncertified copy of their original birth record by submitting the Adopted Person’s Request for Original Birth Record Information (PDF) form and a $13 nonrefundable fee. The release of the original birth record to the adopted person may be restricted. Birth parents decide whether to release information from the original, sealed record. If the birth parent has restricted access or has not actively approved release of the original records, the requestor will receive a letter saying the record is not available.

When an adopted person requests an original birth record and the birth parent(s) have submitted an affidavit of nondisclosure or no affidavit at all, MDH notifies the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS contacts the adoption agency, which will contact the adopted person about services and fees before searching and notifying the birth parent(s) of the request and providing an opportunity to submit an affidavit of disclosure or nondisclosure. The process may take up to six months. MDH will contact the adopted person when the process is complete.

This process will change on July 1, 2024, when adopted people will be eligible to receive their original birth records regardless of the birth parents’ disclosure preferences.

Birth parents

Affidavits of disclosure or non-disclosure

Currently and until June 30, 2024, access by adoptees to original birth records is governed by the preferences of the birth parent(s). Until then, a parent named on the birth record may submit an Affidavit of Disclosure or Non-disclosure (PDF) form to provide or restrict access to the record by adoptees. However, all affidavits on file at MDH will expire on June 30, 2024, under the new law, and an adopted person’s access to original birth records will no longer be determined by the disclosure preferences of the birth parent(s).

Contact preference form – NEW!

Birth parents may submit a Birth Parent Contact Preference form (PDF) for past and future adoptions to indicate whether they would like to be contacted by the adopted person. Only birth parents named on the original birth record of an adopted person can submit the form. MDH will attach the form to the original birth record and provide it when the record is requested, on or after July 1, 2024. Birth parents may submit a new form to change their preference at any time, and MDH will destroy the old form. Regardless of the contact preference expressed by birth parents, adopted people will still be able to receive a noncertified copy of their original birth records and to initiate contact with birth parents.