Adoptees over the age of 21 in Arkansas will be able to apply for their OBC and adoption file in approximately one year. The law was signed on 3-17-2017 and it is a very exciting step forward for those born / adopted in Arkansas. As the law is written, the records are available one year after the law's effective date. I believe that is 3-17-2018.
Unfortunately, this law does allow for birth parent redaction and there is a fee of $100 to receive the original adoption file. The fee covers the fee charged to the state by the records management company.
As I'm sure you all know, Arkansas has been a very difficult state for search angels for years due to the lack of searchable records. We've seen other states recently adopt similar legislation and the vast majority of adoption files are not redacted. I hope that trend continues in Arkansas.
9-9-803. Access to adoption file.(a) Beginning one (1) year after the effective date of this act, a requester may submit a written request for a copy of an adoption file from the Department of Health.
(b) (1) A request submitted under this section shall include the requester's address and notarized signature and satisfactory proof of the requester's identity as determined by the department.
(2) If the requester is the child, widow or widower, or guardian of any child of the deceased adoptee to whom the adoption file pertains, the requester shall also provide notarized documentation evidencing the requester's relationship to the adoptee.
(c) (1) Upon receipt of a request made under subsection (a) of this section, the department shall mail the adoption file to the requester at the address provided in the request.
(2) If an adoption file contains a form submitted under § 9-9- 36 802(a)(2)(A)(i), the department shall redact the birth parent’s name from the copy of the adoption file before it is mailed to the requester.
(3) If a form under § 9-9-802(a)(2)(A)(ii) is submitted after a copy of the adoption file is mailed to the requester, the department shall mail the requester another copy of the adoption file with the birth parent’s name included in the adoption file within thirty (30) days of the date the form was removed.
(4) Before mailing a requester an adoption file under subdivision (c)(1) of this section, the department shall mark the certified copy of the original birth certificate contained in the adoption file as not intended for official use or similar. (d) The department shall mail a requester an adoption file by certified mail, return receipt requested. (e) (1) If an adoption file contains a form submitted under § 9-9-802(a)(3)(A)(i) and (ii), the department shall include the form in the adoption file mailed to a requester.
(2) A form included in the adoption file under this subsection shall be redacted in accordance with subdivision (c) (2) of this section. 18
(f) (1) The department may charge a requester a fee of one hundred 19 dollars ($100) for the department's provision of the adoption file requested. (2) The department may change the amount of the fee charged to a 21 requester under subdivision (f) (1) of this section in accordance with the department's rules.
Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-9-504; 9-9-505
Nonidentifying information is available to: • The adoptive parents of the child or the child’s guardian. • The adopted person.• If the adopted person has died, the adopted person’s children, widow or widower, or the guardian of any child of the adopted person.• The birth parent of the adopted person.• Any child welfare agency having custody of the adopted person.
Access to identifying information is available to the adult adopted person, the birth parents, and any person related within the second degree through the Adoption Registry.
Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-505
Nonidentifying information is available upon request to any person listed above. Nonidentifying information includes the health, genetic, and social history of the child.
Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-504
A person eligible to register may request the disclosure of identifying information by filing an affidavit with the adoption registry that includes the following:
• The person’s current name and address.• Any previous name by which the applicant was known.• The original and adopted names, if known, of the adopted child.• The place and date of birth of the adopted child. • The name and address of the adoption agency or other entity, organization, or person placing the adopted child, if known. The administrator of the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry shall process each affidavit in an attempt to match the adult adopted person and the birth parents or other relatives. The processing shall include research from agency records, when available, and when agency records are not available, research from court records to determine conclusively whether the applicants match. The administrator shall determine that there is a match when the adopted adult and a birth parent or other relative have filed affidavits with the adoption registry and have each received the required counseling. Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Code § 20-18-406 The original birth certificate is available only upon a court order or as provided by regulation. Where the Information Can Be Located: Arkansas Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry The licensed agency involved in the adoption
If you are a birth relative please submit (in writing):
• Please read the information regarding the MCVAR to see if you qualify for information. If so, please submit the following information: •A brief explanation of the type of information you are seeking; such as: background information on the adoptive family or trying to find a birth child. •Birth name given to the child/adoptee. •Child / adoptee’s date of birth. •Birth mother’s name at the time child/adoptee was born. •Your name. •Your relationship to the child/adoptee. •Your return mailing address. You may include any other information you feel may be helpful regarding the child/adoptee; such as, name of the hospital, city or town child/adoptee was born in, attending physician, nurse, etc. You may then email, fax or mail your inquiry to the Adoption Registry Coordinator. Click on email address: firstname.lastname@example.org fax number is: 501-682-8094, or mailing address is: Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services Adoption Registry PO Box 1437, Slot S565 Little Rock, AR 72203-1437
STEP 2: Receive Registry Packet
Notification •Adoption Registry Coordinator will check files to verify if we have your adoption record. •Adoption Registry Coordinator will notify you within three (3) working days if we do or do not have your adoption record.
Non-identifying •If you are seeking non-identifying information (genetic, health, and social history of adoptee), •Complete sections A and B. Complete section E; get your form notarized. •Get a money order or cashier’s check for $5.00. If you are seeking both non-identifying and identifying, one money order or cashier’s check for $25.00 is acceptable. Mail the notarized, completed affidavit form with money order or cashier’s check to:
Identifying •If you are seeking identifying information (to be matched with a birth relative or adoptee), complete sections A and B. •Complete section D; set appointment for counseling session. You need to receive a minimum of one (1) hour of counseling. If you live within Arkansas, you will need to contact the Adoption Specialist that serves your county. For a list of Adoption Specialist’s in Arkansas click here. If you live outside Arkansas, you will need to find a social worker with a licensed agency in your state. (You may incur a fee for the counseling). The social worker will need to counsel with you on issues related to finding the birth relative; such as, what are the pros and cons of finding the birth relative, what if…. The counselor will have to complete section D on your affidavit form, so be sure to take it with you to your appointment. •Complete section E; get your form notarized. •Get a money order or cashier’s check for $20.00. If you are seeking both non-identifying and identifying, one money order or cashier’s check for $25.00 is acceptable. Mail the notarized, completed affidavit form with money order or cashier’s check to:
STEP 3: Receive Response •You will receive your response by certified mail. The Adoption Registry Coordinator will process the affidavit forms in the order in which they are received. If you have a medical emergency, please contact Chanel Lewis the Adoption Registry Coordinator at 501-682-8462 or toll free at 888-736-2820.
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