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Frequently asked questions about privacy in adoption

When going through the adoption process, birth parents can generally decide how much or how little information they wish to provide. If a birth mother chooses a closed adoption, her identity can be kept confidential. Although attitudes surrounding adoption have certainly changed over the last few decades, there are still any number of reasons someone might wish to keep their identity private.

Do birth mothers sign the birth certificate?

Yes. When the child is born, the birth parents sign the original birth certificate – which is then sealed. Then the courts issue an amended birth certificate with the names of the adoptive parents.

Are birth records public in Florida?

No. Except for birth certificates that are more than 100 years old, all birth certificates are confidential. In Florida, as well as 20 other states and the District of Columbia, access to birth certificates requires a court order. Only specific people can obtain a court order to access to an original birth certificate:

  • The registrant on the birth certificate, if they are over 18
  • The registrant’s parent, legal guardian, or legal representative

Are there other ways a child adopted in Florida can find their birth parents?

The Florida Adoption Reunion Registry helps connect adopted children and birth parents. However, for each side to find each other, both parties must register. So, if a birth mother wished to remain anonymous, she could simply choose not to put her information in the registry.

An experienced adoption attorney can help birth mothers understand their privacy options and maintain the level of anonymity they choose throughout the adoption process.

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