7 Question You May Have About Arkansas Adoption Records
Because growing up as an adoptee in a closed adoption can lead to many different questions about your birth parents and your adoption, there are laws in place for adoptees hoping to open their Arkansas adoption records.
These laws help adoptees obtain access to original birth certificates, adoption records, and more, but there are always ways for birth parents to remain confidential throughout the adoption process. As a birth mother or an adoptive family, when you pursue an open adoption in Arkansas, these records are much easier to obtain and are often discussed early and often in the adoption process.
Whether you are an adoptee, a birth parent, or an adoptive family, these questions and answers will help explain Arkansas adoption records and how they can be accessed. If you ever have questions about adoption records or any other adoption-related topic, you can fill out our online form to get more information from a trained professional.
In the meantime, continue reading the 7 most common questions about Arkansas adoption records.
Arkansas Adoption Record Question and Answers
Whether you are a pregnant woman considering adoption in Arkansas, a hopeful adoptive family, or an adoptee, it’s common to have questions about what all personal information will be available after placement occurs.
- As a birth mother, you are in complete control of the amount of privacy you would prefer during your adoption.
- As an adoptive family, you will set your preferences for the type of adoption you hope to achieve, and the level of information included.
- As an adoptee, laws are constantly changing on the amount of information you can obtain and how you can do so.
Below you will find common questions adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive families may have about adoption records. In most cases, these questions are centered around closed adoptions, but privacy and adoption records are a point of interest no matter the level of openness of the adoption.
Question: What is in an adoption file/record?
Answer: Although what is included in an adoption file/record can vary depending on the adoption, an Arkansas adoption record usually includes an original birth certificate and adoption decree. This information can be useful for adoptees trying to find their birth parents and other information about their adoption.
These records often include nonidentifying information. Such as:
- The age of birth parents at the time of placement
- Generic description of physical attributes, race, and ethnicity
- Medical history
- Education level at the time of placement
- Sometimes a reason for placing the child for adoption
Oftentimes, these records include Identifying information as well. This information can include:
- Current or past names of the birth parents
- Other identifiable information
What is included in the Arkansas adoption record will vary upon the agency that assisted with the adoption, the city where the adoption took place, and more.
Question: Who can access sealed adoption records Arkansas has that have identifying information?
Answer: Nearly every state has some sort of law or “statutes” that permit the release of identifying information, providing the person/people who are being identified (the birth parents) have given their consent. How to unseal adoption records in Arkansas will depend on your relationship with the birth parent, age and more.
Question: What if the birth parents did not give their consent to identifying information being accessible?
Answer: In most cases, a court order will need to be obtained to receive access to identifying information. These Arkansas adoption records are not just limited to adoptees and birth parents, many states allow birth siblings of adoptees to receive records containing identifying information.
Question: Does Arkansas have any requirements or adoption records laws?
Answer: Yes. Adult adoptees in Arkansas must be at least 21 years of age to request his or her adoption file/record and pay $100. Those requesting sealed adoption records in Arkansas, as in records with identifying information, must complete mandatory counseling before a search or match for those records can be made.
A birth parent has the option to request his or her name be redacted from the original birth certificate. Birth parents also have the option to specify if a requester of their sealed file is given the information needed to contact them, as well as the preferred means of contact.
Question: Where can I find Arkansas adoption records?
Answer: You can find the Arkansas state agency that assists in accessing adoption records by clicking here.
Question: Is an adoption search the same as opening adoption records?
Answer: Not necessarily. Generally, when an “adoption search” takes place, it involves members of a closed adoption. Adoptees and birth parents complete adoption searches for a variety of reasons. In closed adoptions, birth parents can often go years without knowing how their child grew up, and they may intend to find information on their child. Adoptees grow up unaware of who their birth parents are, nor why they were placed for adoption, so they look for information.
Although it is common to access adoption records for Arkansas adoption searches, when someone is considered to be searching their adoption, they are going more in-depth to find information, and potentially a means of contact. Searches often include reaching out to the agency that handled their adoption, involving state reunion registries, opening records, and more.
Question: Why do people want their adoption records?
Answer: Much like adoption searches, there are a variety of reasons someone would want their adoption records or complete an adoption search. In many cases for an adoptee, it's an effort to reconnect, learn more about their background, determine if they have any siblings, and more.
In other scenarios, it's to gain a better understanding of their family medical history, or an attempt to get closure on their birth mother's adoptive decision. Whatever the reason may be, it’s personal to them and may provide clarity.
Preparing for the Outcome
No matter your reasoning for wanting your adoption records, there is a chance it can spark a mix of emotions. This is the reason Arkansas has made it mandatory to complete counseling services before your request.
If your goal is to reunite with your birth parents, keep in mind there can be several different outcomes. Preparing yourself for any case scenario can help prevent any disappointment during your request for your adoption records or adoption search.
If you have more questions about adoption records, privacy during an adoption, or any other adoption-related question, you can contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our online form anytime to get the answers you need from a trusted adoption professional.
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