Confidentiality of an Adoption
HOW CONFIDENTIAL IS AN ADOPTION?
The adoption code was designed to keep an adoption as confidential as possible.
a. Before a final adoption decree is rendered the only people with access to the adoption records are: the petitioner, the petitioner’s attorney; the pre-placement investigator, and any attorney appointed or retained by the minor being adopted. No other person has access to the adoption records unless they obtain a court order after showing good cause to allow them to inspect the records.
b. All adoption hearings are confidential and held in closed court open only to the interested parties and their counsel, except with leave of the court.
c. After the final decree of adoption is entered, all documents pertaining to the adoption are sealed and identifying information cannot be obtained by anyone except the adoptee under limited circumstances, (see below).
d. The natural parent(s) may consent in writing under oath to disclosure of identifying information to the adoptee when such adoptee reaches the age of 19. The adoptee, upon reaching the age of 19, may petition the court for disclosure of identifying information. Or the adoptee can contact the State Department of Human Resources to see if a consent is on file to disclose the name(s) of the natural parent(s). Such information will not be released to the adoptee without the natural parent’s consent unless the court determines it is best after weighing the interests of the parties involved. 
Article by Corey Colbert
Photo by libertygrace0.
Corey Colbert is a third-year law student at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. Corey is a member of Fannin Road Baptist Church, where he is currently serving as the temporary Music Director. Corey lives in Montgomery.
Information provided by the Alabama Law Institute for Alabama Probate Judges’ Association and Reese McKinney, Jr. Judge of Probate Montgomery County, Alabama.