Vermont Adoption Registry

The Vermont Adoption Act (Title 15A V.S.A.) — enacted in 1996 — made it easier for adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth family members to access information about adoptions that took place in Vermont. Adoption records, however, are still confidential.

What Information is Available?

Non-Identifying Information:

  • A detailed summary of information in the adoption record--about the birth parents; any birth siblings; and the adoptee's health, genetic, and social background.
  • A summary of information in the adoption record--about the adoptee's history after parental rights were relinquished or ended, the adoption, and the adoptive parents.

Identifying Information:

Facts that will help to establish the identity and whereabouts of:

  • The adoptee;
  • A birthparent; or
  • A birth sibling.

It includes information such as a full name, date of birth, and last known address.

Adoptee's Original Birth Certificate:

A non-certified copy of the adoptee's original birth certificate

Who can Request it?

Non-Identifying Information:

  • Adult (18+) or emancipated adoptees
  • Adoptive parents, adoptees' legal custodians / guardians
  • Direct descendants of deceased adoptees or their parents / guardians if under 18.
  • Birthparents
  • Birth grandparents
  • Birth siblings (half or whole)

Identifying Information:

  • Adult (18+) or emancipated adoptees
  • Direct descendants of deceased adoptees or their parents / guardians if under 18
  • Birthparents
  • Birth siblings (18+)

Adoptee's Original Birth Certificate:

  • Birthparents
  • Adoptees who were born in Vermont AND who are entitled to identifying information under the law

 

Where do I get the Information I'm Entitled to?

Non-Identifying Information:

Non-identifying information is available from the agency that handled the adoption. If you do not know the name of the agency, please contact the Registry and we will refer you to the appropriate one.

The Registry can provide non-identifying information if:

  • There was no agency involved;
  • The agency is no longer active; or
  • It was a state adoption.

Identifying Information:

Only the Registry can release identifying information without a court order.

Adoptions finalized before July 1, 1986: 
The mutual consent of the adult adoptee and the birthparent or sibling is required.

 

Adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 1986:
Identifying information about a birthparent will be released to an adoptee upon request, unless the birthparent has requested nondisclosure. 

Identifying information about an adoptee or birth sibling can only be released with his/her consent.

Original Birth Certificate:

Birthparents: send a copy of some form of identification such as a driver's license along with your request to the address below.

Adoptees: send a copy of either a letter from the Registry, or an order from the probate court, authorizing its release to the address below.

Vital Records Division
VT Dept of Health
PO Box 70, 108 Cherry Street
Burlington, VT, 05402

What if I'm Denied Information

Non-Identifying Information:
Anyone who was denied non-identifying information that they are entitled to by law may petition the court to get it.

Identifying Information:
Only adoptees may petition the court for identifying information; however, they must first be denied this information by the Registry.

If you are an adoptee AND the Registry has denied you identifying information, you may petition the court to get it.

The judge will consider several factors when reaching a decision, including your reasons for wanting this information, whether the person you are seeking is alive, and whether that person filed a request for nondisclosure.

If the person has not filed such a request, the court will make a reasonable effort to contact that person to find out his or her response to your petition (this is often done by a third party at the judge's request). The judge will then consider any response received when reaching a decision.

How do I Petition the Court?

Contact the Registry. We can refer you to the appropriate court and answer any questions you have about the process.

What if I Want to be Found?

Contact the Registry to file your consent to the release of identifying information about you. Then, be sure to inform the Registry if you move.

What if I Don't Want my Identity to be Disclosed?

Contact the Registry to file a request for nondisclosure; however, be aware that this does not guarantee you won't be found. A judge could decide to release identifying information about you for compelling reasons. In addition, adoptees and birth parents often find each other without the help of courts, agencies, or the Registry.

What about Newly Available Health Information?

 Adoptive parents, adoptees, or birth family members who become aware of health information that could seriously affect the health or reproductive decisions of another party should contact the Registry. We will attempt to notify the affected party; however, a certified statement from a physician is required.

Is There a Cost?

 Courts, agencies, and the Registry may charge a reasonable fee for costs associated with compiling and releasing information. Any fees will be disclosed to you in advance.

Where do I get  more Information?

Vermont Adoption Registry
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-2401
Phone: (802) 769-6292
E-mail: Christina.Shuma@state.vt.us

 

Download the Vermont Adoption Registry brochure.