Starting Aug. 1, individuals who have been adopted (adoptees), and who are at least 21 years of age, were able to request their adoption file from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Forms are now available online for adoptees to fill out to request their files.
An ADH adoption file usually includes an original birth certificate and adoption decree; however, what is included in a file can vary depending on the adoption. Act 519, which became law in March 2017, gives adoptees the ability to request their files if they are at least 21 years old.
Written requests for adoption files will be accepted from adoptees or, upon their death, a surviving spouse, child or guardian of that child. The request must be notarized and include proof of identity. There is a $100 fee to process an application for adoption files.
The new law also allows birth parents to complete forms to redact their name from an adoption file as well as update their family history information and contact preference. These forms are also available on the ADH website.
To submit a redaction request, a birth parent must show proof of their identity, submit a notarized form and update their genetic or social history. A form cannot be submitted by one birth parent for another.
Birth parents can request to be contacted by the adopted child directly, through a third party or not at all. The ADH will share preference requests as part of the adoption file but cannot guarantee that requests will be honored.
More information, including forms for adoptees or birth parents, may be found online at www.healthy.arkansas.gov or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 462-0599. Forms must be returned to the ADH Vital Records Department, State Registrar, 4815 West Markham St., Slot 44, Little Rock, AR 72205.