Office of Vital Records
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- Birth records and adoption
- Birth records and paternity
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Birth Records and Adoption
Birth records for adoptees are changed to show name changes and new parent information. When people born in Minnesota are adopted, courts collect a $40 fee from the adoptive parents and send it along with a Certificate of Adoption or a court order to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). MDH replaces the original birth record with the new one. The original record and all correspondence pertaining to it are sealed, making it confidential and only released according to Minnesota law. Changes to birth records for adoptees not born in Minnesota are handled by the state where they were born.
If an adopted person was born outside the United States, the adoptive parents file the adoption papers from the country of birth and the district court collects a $40 fee from the adoptive parents. The court sends the fee and a Certificate of Adoption to MDH so that the foreign birth record can be created.
Adoptive parents must order and pay a separate fee to receive a birth certificate – see the Birth Certificates page. They must complete the application with the adopted person’s current information, rather than information from before the adoption.
Court administrators: Instructions for courts
Accessing Sealed Birth Records
A person, age 19 or older who was adopted, may request a noncertified copy of her or his original birth record. To request a noncertified copy, complete the following form:
Adopted Person's Request for Original Birth Record Information (PDF).
Send the completed form and $13 fee to the mailing address or fax number on the form.
If a birth parent has given permission to release the original birth record information to the adopted person, OVR will send the adopted person a noncertified copy of the original birth record.
If OVR has forms from the birth parent(s) refusing permission to release information from the original birth record to the adopted person, OVR will send the adopted person a letter stating that the original birth record is not available.
If OVR has no forms from the birth parent(s) about releasing information from the original birth record, OVR will send the adopted person a letter stating that the original birth record is not available. OVR will also notify the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The Department of Human Services will identify the adoption agency. The adoption agency will contact the adopted person about services and fees before searching and notifying the birth parent(s). (Minnesota Statutes, section 259.89). The search may take up to six months. MDH will contact the adopted person when the search is complete.
The original birth record of an adopted person is confidential. A birth parent, named on the birth record of the adopted person, may request a noncertified copy of the original birth record. (Minnesota Statutes, section 144.218) Noncertified copies are for information only and may not be used for any legal purpose.
To request a noncertified copy of the original birth record, a birth parent must complete the Request for Original Birth Record of an Adopted Person (PDF).
Birth parents of adopted persons cannot obtain certified copies of the adopted person's original birth record.
Birth Parents and Releasing Birth Information
Adopted persons may request information from their original birth records when they have reached 19 years of age. Birth parents decide whether to release their information from the original birth record, or not. Each birth parent may complete and submit an Affidavit of Disclosure or Non-disclosure (PDF) form to the Office of Vital Records at any time. The Office of Vital Records keeps the forms on file in case the adopted person requests information original birth record.
Searches for Information About Siblings or Parents Who Were Adopted
The Minnesota Department of Health does not retain adoption information. The Minnesota Office of Vital Records keeps:
- current birth records that include the post-adoption names of adopted persons and their adoptive parents; and
- the original birth record that includes original birth information.
The original birth record may be released only:
- by court order
- to the adopted person if the parent(s) named on the original birth record have given permission; or
- to a parent named on the original birth record.
Other than releasing the original birth record as described above, the Minnesota Office of Vital Records does not provide post-adoption services and cannot help with searches for information about siblings or parents.
See the Minnesota Department of Human Services Adoption and kinship webpages or call 651-431-4682 for information about a sibling or a parent who was adopted. You may also write to:
Minnesota Department of Human Services
Child Safety and Permanency Division, Adoption Assistance Program
P.O. Box 64944
St. Paul, MN 55164-0944