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Accessing Adoption Identity Information



This news story was published on January 3, 2011.
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(Submitted to NorthIowaToday.com by Mason City Attorney David A. Grooters)

Many times children who were adopted, or birth parents who placed their children for adoption, desire access to the identity of the other party. Iowa has dealt with this issue by the creation of a mutual consent voluntary adoption registry with the Iowa Department of Public Health. This registry requires the permission of both an adult adoptee and his or her birth parent(s). Iowa Code Section 144.43A provides that the following persons may register with the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry with the Iowa Department of Public Health: (1) the adult adoptee, (2) an adult sibling, or (3) the birth parents.

Releasing Identity Information To Biological Parents and Adult Adoptees

The usual situation includes releasing identifying information between birth parents and adult adoptees. Iowa Code Section 144.43A requires that the State of Iowa registrar must reveal the identity of the birth parent to the adult adoptee or the identity of the adult adoptee to the birth parent, must notify the parties that the requests have been matched, and must disclose the identifying information to those parties if all of the following conditions are met: (1) a birth parent has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to the adult adoptee upon request of the adult adoptee, (2) an adult adoptee has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to a birth parent upon request of the birth parent, and (3) the State registrar has been provided sufficient information to make the requested match.

Note that if the adult adoptee has a sibling who is a minor and who also has been adopted, the request will be denied. This underscores the importance of the adoption attorney creating a separate case file for each sibling with the Clerk of Court. As a practical matter, most Clerks of Court in Iowa require a separate file for each child anyway.

Revealing Identity Information To Adult Adoptee Siblings

There are situations when adult adoptees seek to find other biological siblings that were adopted by other families. Iowa law provides for a similar registry for adult siblings to determine the identity of each other. Iowa Code Section 144.43A requires that the State of Iowa registrar shall reveal the identity of the adult adoptee to an adult sibling if the following conditions are met: (1) an adult adoptee has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to an adult sibling, (2) the adult sibling has filed a request and provided consent to the revelation of his or her identity to the adult adoptee, and (3) the State registrar has been provided with sufficient information to make the requested match.

A person who has filed a request or provided consent may withdraw the consent at any time prior to the release of any information by filing a written withdrawal-of-consent statement with the State registrar. The adult adoptee, adult sibling, and birth parent shall notify the State registrar of any change in the information contained in a filed request or consent.

For more information, contact the Iowa Department of Public Health at http://www.idph.state.ia.us/ or:

Iowa Department of Public Health
Bureau of Vital Records
Adoption Registry Program
Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075
(515) 281-6263


David A. Grooters is a Mason City attorney practicing in areas including adoption law with the law firm of Pappajohn, Shriver, Eide & Nielsen P.C. He can be reached at his office at 103 East State Street, Suite 800, Mason City, Iowa, via phone at (641) 423-4264, (641) 423-3145 (fax), or grooters@pappajohnlaw.com.
The firm’s website is: www.pappajohnlaw.com||

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