What Happens to a Birth Certificate After Adoption?

Adopting a child is wonderful — both for the child and the family that is adopting. But almost every adoptive family would agree that adoption comes with a fairly large number of hoops to jump through and questions to answer. 

One of those questions is usually something like this: What happens to the original birth certificate after adoption? It’s a great question that comes with a somewhat complex answer, but don’t worry. This guide will answer all of your questions and more. 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about what happens to a birth certificate after adoption and whether a birth certificate can be changed after adoption. 

How To Get a Birth Certificate for an Adopted Child

Before we get into what happens to the original birth certificate after adoption, we need to address the most immediate issue: getting a new birth certificate for the child you have just adopted.

Texas requires adoptive families to submit an application that is certified by a Texas district clerk’s office to receive a new birth certificate after adopting a child who was born in Texas. Each state will have a slightly different process, but the most important thing to remember is that you must follow the instructions to the letter — tiny mistakes can result in your adopted child’s new birth certificate containing errors, being delayed, or being stopped altogether.

What Happens to the Original Birth Certificate After Adoption?

That’s how to get a new birth certificate for an adopted child, but what about the old birth certificate? Every child already has a birth certificate issued immediately after birth, but where does it go when they’re adopted? 

In most states, the original birth certificate is sealed, meaning it is no longer accessible. Some adoption agencies, like Texas Adoption Center, work with the birth family to obtain the original birth certificate to release to the adoptive family. 

Can a Birth Certificate Be Changed After Adoption?

The original birth certificate is sealed after adoption and a new one is issued to the adoptive family after finalization, so there’s no need to change the original birth certificate. But if there are errors on the new, post-adoption birth certificate, it is possible to change it, but you should know upfront that it requires a lot of footwork.

That’s why it is so important to triple-check all of the information in the application for the new amended birth certificate application. But in some cases, mistakes happen on the state’s end or are otherwise unavoidable. In such a case, the process in most states will involve filing a form to request a birth certificate amendment, paying a fee, and waiting for the birth certificate to be issued.

Getting Access to the Original Birth Certificate

We know what happens to the original birth certificate after adoption, but what if the child one day would like to access their original birth certificate? Is that even possible? It is. The exact process for accessing an original birth certificate sealed because of adoption will vary by state, but you will generally need to follow one of these three processes:

1. Turn 18

Some states simply make adopted children wait until they are legally adults before they can access their original birth certificates. Any time after their 18th birthday, they should be able to access the original copy.

2. Court Order

In other states, your adopted child will only be able to see their original birth certificate via a court order. These states will have a defined process for obtaining such a court order, and sometimes it’s helpful to get an attorney involved to move things along.

Finally, some states simply want the adopted child, adoptive family, and birth parents to all give their consent before an original birth certificate can be unsealed.

Will the New Birth Certificate Say the Child Is Adopted?

If you are concerned about your adopted child seeing something on their new birth certificate that tells them that they were adopted, you can breathe easy. The new birth certificate will include the birth weight, length, date, and time, but it will not include the birth mother’s name or the child’s original name (if you changed their name upon adoption).

That means you can relax if your adopted child needs copies of their birth certificate for school activities and similar items. It’s up to you if and when you tell your adopted child about their adoption.

All the Help You Need to Complete Your Family

You’re ready to adopt a child, but you may not feel ready to answer all the legal questions and handle all the paperwork. The team at Texas Adoption Center completely understands what you’re going through because we have helped countless families get through the same thing. That means we’re equipped to guide you through the adoption process, from the day you first express interest to the day you welcome an adopted child into your home.

To put it simply, we’re here to help, and we can help. What happens to the original birth certificate after adoption? Can a birth certificate be changed after adoption? We’ll get you the answers to these and all kinds of other questions that will inevitably come up. To get started, call us at 512-893-7943, text us at 361-461-3742, email us at hello@texasadoptioncenter.org or contact us online.

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