Beginning Monday, January 1, 2018, any adopted adult will have access to his or her original birth certificate.
Former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1599, The Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, in 2016, releasing the original birth certificates of adopted individuals.
According to the Missouri Health and Senior Services Department, adopted adults who were born before 1941 can already access their birth certificate, however, adoptees who were born after 1941 will be able to obtain an original birth certificate beginning January 1, 2018.
How to obtain an original birth certificate:
To request the document, adoptees must fill out an application for a non-certified copy of an original birth certificate found at www.health.mo.gov and pay a non-refundable fee of $15.
Applicants may also apply in person at the Bureau of Vital Records in Jefferson City or mail the forms to the address found on the application. Due to some records being stored off-site, the certificates may not be available the day of the request.
How can birth parents keep their anonymity or be contacted?
Birth parents can fill out a birth parent contact preference form at www.health.mo.gov. They have three choices for contact preferences. They may chose to be contacted, in which case their name and identifying information will be included on the original birth certificate. They may choose to be contacted only through an intermediary person of their choice, or they may choose to not be contacted at all; both of these options will result in their name and information being removed from the original document before being released to the adoptee.
Birth parents can update their contact forms whenever they choose. Each time it is updated, they must pay a non-refundable fee of $15.
If birth parents do not fill out a contact form, the original birth certificate will be released with their name and information on it, stamped “for genealogical purposes only.”
Can adoptees have access to birth parent medical information?
If the birth parents choose to disclose medical information, they can fill out a medical history form to be attached to their contact preferences which will then be available to the adoptee. The medical history sheet can be updated at any time.
Can the original document be withheld?
If both birth parents sign forms indicating that they do not want to be contacted, if both birth parents sign that they want to be contacted only through an intermediary or if the applicant does not meet all of the requirements, the original birth certificate will not be issued to the applicant.
Answers to other frequent questions:
•Any adopted adult over the age of 18 or their attorney may request a copy of the records.
•Other family members are not allowed access to the document, not even for genealogy purposes.
•The original birth certificate can not be amended.
•Adoptees can not receive copies of their birth parents’ vital records such as birth, marriage or death certificates.
•Birth parents may only send their contact and medical history forms to the state department. Things such as letters, photos or mementos will be thrown away.
For more information, visit www.house.mo.gov.