Alabama sealed original birth certificates to adoptees in 1981.They were re-opened in 2000.
May 15, 2000: In a moment of historical symmetry, Alabama, which in 1991 was the last state in the U.S. to deny adoptees access to their own records, has become the first to open them unconditionally by legislative action.
In addition to the sealed birth certificate, any evidence of the adoption contained within the same file will be released as well.
Bastard Nation press release on restoration of right to OBC access in Alabama.
Internet Archive: Alabamians Working for Adoption Reform and Education (AWARE) – Bastard Nation Partner
Current Access Law
ALA CODE § 22-9A-12 : Alabama Code – Section 22-9A-12: NEW BIRTH CERTIFICATE UPON ADOPTION, LEGITIMATION, OR PATERNITY DETERMINATION; AVAILABILITY OF ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE; CONTACT PREFERENCE FORM
(a) The State Registrar shall establish a new certificate of birth for a person born in this state upon receipt of any of the following:
(1) A report of adoption as provided in Section 22-9A-11 or a report of adoption prepared and filed in accordance with the laws of another state, the District of Columbia, a territory of the United States, or a foreign country, or a certified copy of the decree of adoption, together with the information necessary to identify the original certificate of birth and to establish a new certificate of birth. A new certificate of birth shall not be established if so requested by the court decreeing the adoption.
(2) A request that a new certificate be established upon completion of the legitimation procedure specified in Sections 26-11-2 and 26-17-6. If the name of another man is shown as the father of the child on the original certificate, a new certificate may be prepared only when a determination of paternity is made by a court of competent jurisdiction or following adoption.
(3) A certified copy of a valid court determination of paternity that establishes the name of the father and decrees the name the child is to bear together with the information necessary to identify the original certificate of birth.
(b) The new certificate of birth prepared as a result of subsection (a) shall be on the form in use at the time of its preparation and shall include all of the following items and other information necessary to complete the certificate:
(1) The name of the child.
(2) The actual place and date of birth as shown on the original certificate.
(3) The names and personal particulars of the adoptive parents or of the natural parents, whichever is appropriate.
(4) The name of the attendant.
(5) The birth number assigned to the original birth certificate.
(6) The original filing date.
(c) The new certificate shall be substituted for the original certificate of birth in the files, and the original certificate of birth and the evidence of adoption, legitimation, or paternity determination shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any person 19 years of age or older who was born in the State of Alabama and who has had an original birth certificate removed from the files due to an adoption, legitimation, or paternity determination may, upon written request, receive a copy of that birth certificate and any evidence of the adoption, legitimation, or paternity determination held with the original record. The copy of the original birth certificate shall be in a form that clearly indicates it is not a certified copy and that it may not be used for legal purposes. All procedures, fees, and waiting periods applicable to non-adopted citizens born in the State of Alabama seeking copies of certificates of birth shall apply.
(d) A birth parent may at any time request from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics a contact preference form that shall accompany a birth certificate issued under subsection (c).
The contact preference form shall provide the following information to be completed at the option of the birth parent:
(1) I would like to be contacted.
(2) I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary.
(3) I prefer not to be contacted at this time. If I decide later that I would like to be contacted, I will submit an updated contact preference form to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. I have completed an updated medical history form and have filed it with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
The medical history form shall be in a form prescribed by the Department of Vital Statistics and shall be supplied to the birth parent upon request of a contact preference form from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Only those persons who are authorized to process applications made under subsection (c) may process contact preference and medical history forms.
The medical history form and contact preference form are confidential communications from the birth parent to the person named on the sealed birth certificate and shall be placed in a sealed envelope upon receipt from the birth parent. The sealed envelope shall be matched with and placed in the file containing the sealed birth certificate.
The sealed envelope containing the contact preference form and medical history form shall be released to a person requesting his or her own original birth certificate under subsection (c). The contact preference form and medical history form are a private communication from the birth parent to the person named on the sealed birth certificate and no copies of the forms shall be retained by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
(e) Upon receipt of a report of an amended decree of adoption, the certificate of birth shall be amended as provided in Section 22-9A-19.
(f) Upon receipt of a report or decree of annulment of adoption, the original certificate of birth shall be restored to its place in the files and the new certificate and evidence shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as specified by the board.
(g) If no certificate of birth is on file for the person for whom a new birth certificate is to be established under this section, and the date and place of birth have been determined in the adoption or paternity proceedings, a delayed certificate of birth shall be filed with the State Registrar as provided in Section 22-9A-9 or Section 22-9A-10 before a new certificate of birth is established. The new birth certificate shall be prepared on the appropriate delayed birth certificate form.
(h) When a new certificate of birth is established by the State Registrar, all copies of the original certificate of birth in the custody of any other party shall be forwarded to the State Registrar upon receipt of his or her request.
(i)(1) The State Registrar shall, upon request, prepare and register a certificate in this state for a person born in a foreign country who is not a citizen of the United States and who was adopted through a court in this state. The certificate shall be established upon receipt of a report of adoption from the court decreeing the adoption, proof of the date and place of birth of the child, and a request from the court, the adopting parents, or the adopted person if 18 years of age or over that a certificate be prepared. The certificate shall be labeled “CERTIFICATE OF FOREIGN BIRTH” and shall show the actual country of birth. A statement shall also be included on the certificate indicating that it is not evidence of United States citizenship for the child for whom it is issued. After registration of the birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person, the State Registrar shall seal and file the report of adoption which shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided by statute. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any person 19 years of age or older who has had a CERTIFICATE OF FOREIGN BIRTH prepared in the State of Alabama may, upon written request, receive a copy of any information about the adoption held in files under the jurisdiction of the State Registrar.
(2) If the child was born in a foreign country but was a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, the State Registrar shall not prepare a “CERTIFICATE OF FOREIGN BIRTH” and shall notify the adoptive parents of the procedures for obtaining a revised birth certificate for their child through the U.S. Department of State.
(Acts 1992, No. 92-607, p. 1255, §12; Act 2000-794, p. 1869, §1.)
updated August 2015