Current Law

The following information is from :
Resources - State Adoption Division

Kentucky's Adoption Search Services

Kentucky Adoption Laws, 199.525, 570, 572,575 require Kentucky private adoption agencies, the Department for Social Services, and circuit courts to release certain information from adoption records to adult adoptee, adoptive parents, birth parents, and siblings. 

All adoption records are sealed, by statute, at the time the adoption is finalized and are not available for review by the adoptee or other requesting parties.

Non-identifying information is available upon written request from the requester. Identifying information is available only if the adult adoptee (over 21 years), birth parents, and birth siblings each consent. All requests for information from adoption records must be submitted to the agency that placed the adoptee or to the circuit court that finalized the adoption.

Traditionally, birth parents received little or no information about their child's placement or progress. Adoptive parents received minimal information about the birth family background. AND adoptees only received information provided by the adoptive parents.

Recent changes in Kentucky's law now make access to some information easier. Motivation to search varies for each individual. Under Kentucky's current law, the Department for Social Services is able to conduct birth parent searches and provide certain background information to adult adoptees, birth relatives and other professionals in the field of adoption.

Release Of Non-Identifying Information    Please read update

Non-identifying medical and birth family information may be released upon request from adopted persons who are 21 years of age or older and adoptive parents of minor children without a court order. Non-identifying information that may be released includes the date, time of birth, and weight at the time of birth of the adoptee and the reason the adoptee was placed for adoption. In addition, background information about the birth family, including age, nationality, ethnic background, race, religious preference, educational level, general physical description and any other general information will be provided. The health history of the birth parents and other relatives that might have an affect on the adoptee's mental or physical health may also be included if contained in the case record.

Can adult adoptees request that searches be made for birth parents?

Adult Adoptees Searches for Birth Parents

A search for the birth parents may begin when the adult adoptee obtains a court order from the Kentucky Circuit Court where the adoption was finalized. The adoptee must be 21 years or older in order to initiate a search. In order to obtain a court order, the adoptee must contact the Circuit Court where the adoption was finalized either by phone or in person. The Circuit Court will issue an order directing the Department for Social Services to conduct a search for the birth parent(s) as identified on the original birth certificate.

Upon receipt of the court order, the Department for Social Services will notify the adoptee of receipt and the method of payment of the search fee. The birth parent search fee is $150, non-refundable and may be waived for hardship circumstances. KRS 199.572 requires that the search be completed and the results reported back to the court within six months from issuance of the court order. If the birth parent(s) is located, she or he must give their written permission before any identifying information can be released to the adoptee. The Circuit Court reports the search findings to the adoptee once the search is completed.

If the Department for Social Services is unable to locate or contact the birth parent, identifying information about them that appears on the adoptee's original birth certificate may be released by the court to the adoptee. The original birth certificate is not released.

Searches for Brother/Sisters

In situations where a pre-adoptive brother or sister relationship existed, the sibling can seek information about the adopted sibling. In order for the Department to release any information, an adoption record must be on file for the adopted sibling (must be 18 years or older). The record must contain information confirming that a sibling relationship existed before the adoption and contain a matching request from the adoptee.

If the adoptee has made a like request and authorized the release of information bout himself, the Department for Social Services will release this information to the pre-adoptive sibling making the request.

Notification of a Medical or Genetic Condition Affecting an Adoptee

If the Department receives physician verified written information from the biological parent, adult biological sibling of an adopted person, or a provider of medical services concerning a medical or genetic condition which has affected or may affect the physical or mental health of genetically-related persons, the Department shall make a diligent effort to notify the adoptive parent if the adoptee is a minor, the adult adoptee, or the adult adoptable person in order to share this health information.

The Department shall submit the health information to the clerk of the circuit court which issued the adoption order to place in the court record. In addition, if the child placing agency or the court receives health information, it shall notify and send the information to the Department.

Request for Kentucky Adult Adoptee Services

Request for adult adoptee services must be made in writing and signed by the adoptee or other requesting parties. The request should state what information you are requesting and must include the following:

  • adoptee's full name and birth date - adoptive parents' full names
  • county were adoption was finalized and year
  • birth parent's name, if known, and any other birth family information

The requester should also include his/her current name, address and phone number.

Hundreds of requests for adoption information are received each year. As a result, it can sometimes take a while to get the information you are requesting. Because each request and each adoption record is different, it is impossible to suggest an "average" waiting period, but each request will be handled as quickly and fairly as possible. Mail request to Department of Social Services, Adult Adoption Division, 3rd Floor, 275 E Main St, Frankfort, Ky 40601

Records of All Inquiries

The Department for social Services maintains a file of all written inquiries from, or on behalf of, an adoptee. It is important to remember that archived records are sealed at the time of adoption. New information is seldom added to the case record after the adoption if finalized.

Birth relatives are encouraged to put information in the closed records of the court, the Department for social Services, or private adoption agencies that shows their interest in reuniting with the adoptee or other information about changes in names, addresses or major family health problems

Resources - State Adoption Division

The original birth certificate is not released to the adoptee without another court order after permission is obtained from the birth mother and the affidavit is issued to the Office of Vital Statistics in Frankfort (this can only be used if you were born in the state of Kentucky and the judge will issue a separate order but be sure that if you use the request to get the original certificate that you request as many copies as you want. It is only good for a one time.

need a copy of the petition to  search for Birth Parents  need a copy of the petition to  search for Birth Parents  - click Here