Law & Legal & Attorney Wills & trusts

How to Find Old Adoption Papers

    • 1). Go to to search the adoption records. This is a free service that searches public records around the country. You can search by the state and county where the person was adopted. You will likely need to pay a fee for each record you access, depending on the location.

    • 2). Access a closed adoption file by asking the court in the county where the person was adopted to unseal the records. For closed adoptions, many jurisdictions will not open these records unless the adoptee has a serious medical condition that necessitates opening the file and contacting the parents--or if the adoptee is deceased.

    • 3). Attend a court hearing in front of a judge where you will argue your case and receive an answer as to whether the adoption records will be opened.

    • 4). Contact the adoption agency itself and ask them for help in finding the records you seek. If you have no idea of what the adoption agency was called, inquire at the health department of the state where the adoptee was born and ask to see the birth certificate.

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