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Original birth certificates were sealed to Georgia adoptees in 1935.

Read about current OBC access legislation  with links to bills and bill history at our Legislative Update pages:  2013, 2014, 2015.

Read about 2013 Georgia  OBC access legislation  with links to bills and bill history  at our 2013 Legislation Update Page.

Georgia Adoption Code

Georgia General Assembly

Current Access Law

Georgia’s access laws are very complicated; it all comes down to court order only:

O.C.G.A. § 19-8-23

(2) The department or a placement agency, upon the written request of an adopted person who has reached 18 years of age or upon the written request of an adoptive parent on behalf of that parent’s adopted child, shall release to such adopted person or to the adoptive parent on the child’s behalf nonidentifying information regarding such adopted person’s biological parents and information regarding such adopted person’s birth. Such information may include the date and place of birth of the adopted person and the genetic, social, and health history of the biological parents. No information released pursuant to this paragraph shall include the name or address of either biological parent or the name or address of any relative by birth or marriage of either biological parent.

(3)(A) The department or a placement agency upon written request of an adopted person who has reached 21 years of age shall release to such adopted person the name of such person’s biological parent if:

(i) The biological parent whose name is to be released has submitted unrevoked written permission to the department or the placement agency for the release of that parent’s name to the adopted person;

(ii) The identity of the biological parent submitting permission for the release of that parent’s name has been verified by the department or the placement agency; and

(iii) The department or the placement agency has records pertaining to the finalized adoption and to the identity of the biological parent whose name is to be released.

(B) If the adopted person is deceased and leaves a child, such child, upon reaching 21 years of age, may seek the name and other identifying information concerning his or her grandparents in the same manner as the deceased adopted person and subject to the same procedures contained in this Code section.

(4)(A) If a biological parent has not filed written unrevoked permission for the release of that parent’s name to the adopted child, the department or the placement agency, within six months of receipt of the written request of the adopted person who has reached 21 years of age, shall make diligent effort to notify each biological parent identified in the original adoption proceedings or in other records of the department or the placement agency relative to the adopted person. For purposes of this subparagraph, “notify” means a personal and confidential contact with each biological parent of the adopted person. The contact shall be by an employee or agent of the placement agency which processed the pertinent adoption or by other agents or employees of the department. The contact shall be evidenced by the person who notified each parent certifying to the department that each parent was given the following information:

(i) The nature of the information requested by the adopted person;

(ii) The date of the request of the adopted person;

(iii) The right of each biological parent to file an affidavit with the placement agency or the department stating that such parent’s identity should not be disclosed;

(iv) The right of each biological parent to file a consent to disclosure with the placement agency or the department; and

(v) The effect of a failure of each biological parent to file either a consent to disclosure or an affidavit stating that the information in the sealed adoption file should not be disclosed.

(B) If a biological parent files an unrevoked consent to the disclosure of that parent’s identity, such parent’s name shall be released to the adopted person who has requested such information as authorized by this paragraph.

(C) If, within 60 days of being notified by the department or the placement agency pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, a biological parent has filed with the department or placement agency an affidavit objecting to such release, information regarding that biological parent shall not be released.

(D)(i) If six months after receipt of the adopted person’s written request the placement agency or the department has either been unable to notify a biological parent identified in the original adoption record or has been able to notify a biological parent identified in the original adoption record but has not obtained a consent to disclosure from the notified biological parent, then the identity of a biological parent may only be disclosed as provided in division (ii) or (iii) of this subparagraph.

(ii) The adopted person who has reached 21 years of age may petition the Superior Court of Fulton County to seek the release of the identity of each of that person’s biological parents from the department or placement agency. The court shall grant the petition if the court finds that the department or placement agency has made diligent efforts to locate each biological parent pursuant to this subparagraph either without success or upon locating a biological parent has not obtained a consent to disclosure from the notified biological parent and that failure to release the identity of each biological parent would have an adverse impact upon the physical, mental, or emotional health of the adopted person.

(iii) If it is verified that a biological parent of the adopted person is deceased, the department or placement agency shall be authorized to disclose the name and place of burial of the deceased biological parent, if known, to the adopted person seeking such information without the necessity of obtaining a court order.

(5)(A) Upon written request of an adopted person who has reached 21 years of age or a person who has reached 21 years of age and who is the sibling of an adopted person, the department or a placement agency shall attempt to identify and notify the siblings of the requesting party, if such siblings are at least 18 years of age. Upon locating the requesting party’s sibling, the department or the placement agency shall notify the sibling of the inquiry. Upon the written consent of a sibling so notified, the department or the placement agency shall forward the requesting party’s name and address to the sibling and, upon further written consent of the sibling, shall divulge to the requesting party the present name and address of the sibling. If a sibling cannot be identified or located, the department or placement agency shall notify the requesting party of such circumstances but shall not disclose any names or other information which would tend to identify the sibling. If a sibling is deceased, the department or placement agency shall be authorized to disclose the name and place of burial of the deceased sibling, if known, to the requesting party without the necessity of obtaining a court order.

(B)(i) If six months after receipt of the written request from an adopted person who has reached 21 years of age or a person who has reached 21 years of age and who is the sibling of an adopted person, the placement agency or the department has either been unable to notify one or more of the siblings of the requesting party or has been able to notify a sibling of the requesting party but has not obtained a consent to disclosure from the notified sibling, then the identity of the siblings may only be disclosed as provided in division (ii) of this subparagraph.

(ii) The adopted person who has reached 21 years of age or a person who has reached 21 years of age and who is the sibling of an adopted person may petition the Superior Court of Fulton County to seek the release of the last known name and address of each of the siblings of the petitioning sibling, that are at least 18 years of age, from the department or placement agency. The court shall grant the petition if the court finds that the department or placement agency has made diligent efforts to locate such siblings pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph either without success or upon locating one or more of the siblings has not obtained a consent to disclosure from all the notified siblings and that failure to release the identity and last known address of said siblings would have an adverse impact upon the physical, mental, or emotional health of the petitioning sibling.

(C) If the adopted person is deceased and leaves a child, such child, upon reaching 21 years of age, may obtain the name and other identifying information concerning the siblings of his or her deceased parent in the same manner that the deceased adopted person would be entitled to obtain such information pursuant to the procedures contained in this Code section.

(6)(A) Upon written request of a biological parent of an adopted person who has reached 21 years of age, the department or a placement agency shall attempt to identify and notify the adopted person. Upon locating the adopted person, the department or the placement agency shall notify the adopted person of the inquiry. Upon the written consent of the adopted person so notified, the department or the placement agency shall forward the biological parent’s name and address to the adopted person and, upon further written consent of the adopted person, shall divulge to the requesting biological parent the present name and address of the adopted person. If the adopted person is deceased, the department or placement agency shall be authorized to disclose the name and place of burial of the deceased adopted person, if known, to the requesting biological parent without the necessity of obtaining a court order.

(B)(i) If six months after receipt of the written request from a biological parent of an adopted person who has reached 21 years of age the placement agency or the department has either been unable to notify the adopted person or has been able to notify the adopted person but has not obtained a consent to disclosure from the notified adopted person, then the identity of the adopted person may only be disclosed as provided in division (ii) of this subparagraph.

(ii) The biological parent of an adopted person who has reached 21 years of age may petition the Superior Court of Fulton County to seek the release of the last known name and address of the adopted person from the department or placement agency. The court shall grant the petition if the court finds that the department or placement agency has made diligent efforts to locate such adopted person pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph either without success or upon locating the adopted person has not obtained a consent to disclosure from the adopted person and that failure to release the identity and last known address of said adopted person would have an adverse impact upon the physical, mental, or emotional health of the petitioning biological parent.

(C) If the biological parent is deceased, a parent or sibling of the deceased biological parent, or both, may obtain the name and other identifying information concerning the adopted person in the same manner that the deceased biological parent would be entitled to obtain such information pursuant to the procedures contained in this Code section.

(7) If an adoptive parent or the sibling of an adopted person notifies the department or placement agency of the death of an adopted person, the department or placement agency shall add information regarding the date and circumstances of the death to its records so as to enable it to share such information with a biological parent or sibling of the adopted person if they make an inquiry pursuant to the provisions of this Code section.

(8) If a biological parent or parent or sibling of a biological parent notifies the department or placement agency of the death of a biological parent or a sibling of an adopted person, the department or placement agency shall add information regarding the date and circumstances of the death to its records so as to enable it to share such information with an adopted person or sibling of the adopted person if he or she makes an inquiry pursuant to the provisions of this Code section.

(9) The Office of Adoptions within the department shall maintain a registry for the recording of requests by adopted persons for the name of any biological parent, for the recording of the written consent or the written objections of any biological parent to the release of that parent’s identity to an adopted person upon the adopted person’s request, and for nonidentifying information regarding any biological parent which may be released pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection. The department and any placement agency which receives such requests, consents, or objections shall file a copy thereof with that office.

(10) The department or placement agency may charge a reasonable fee to be determined by the department for the cost of conducting any search pursuant to this subsection.

(11) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the department or placement agency to disclose to any party at interest, including but not limited to an adopted person who has reached 21 years of age, any information which is not kept by the department or the placement agency in its normal course of operations relating to adoption.

(12) Any department employee or employee of any placement agency who releases information or makes authorized contacts in good faith and in compliance with this subsection shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for such release of information or authorized contacts.

(13) Information authorized to be released pursuant to this subsection may be released under the conditions specified in this subsection notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary.

(14) A placement agency which demonstrates to the department by clear and convincing evidence that the requirement that such agency search for or notify any biological parent, sibling, or adopted person under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (4) of this subsection or subparagraph (A) of paragraph (5) of this subsection or subparagraph (A) of paragraph (6) of this subsection will impose an undue hardship upon that agency shall be relieved from that responsibility, and the department shall assume that responsibility upon such finding by the department of undue hardship. The department’s determination under this subsection shall be a contested case within the meaning of Chapter 13 of Title 50, the “Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.”

(15) Whenever this subsection authorizes both the department and a placement agency to perform any function or requires the placement agency to perform any function which the department is also required to perform, the department or agency may designate an agent to perform that function and in so performing it the agent shall have the same authority, powers, duties, and immunities as an employee of the department or placement agency has with respect to performing that function.

 

Links

Georgia HB 594: Update and Action Alert, January 28, 2014

Georgia HB 524: Bastard Nation Testimony for HB 584; Opposition to Welch Amendment, January 2014

Macon Telegraph, Adoptees Protest Law that Keeps Them from Heritage, December 4, 1998

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See our state partners:

See our state partners:

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Michigan Open Access

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Missouri Open

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Equal Access Oklahoma

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Equal Access Oklahoma

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

Any political organization seeking to enact true open records legislation should be very clear with both their constituents and the legislators they work with about what the essential provisions of the proposed bill are. Any modification or deletion of the essential provisions of a bill should be immediate cause to have the bill killed.

Any political organization seeking the assistance of Bastard Nation to pass open records legislation must hold unconditional access by adult adoptees to the original record of their birth as an essential provision that cannot be modified or deleted. Read our Mission Statement.

Bastard Nation will not assist any political organization to pass open records legislation unless their governing board or other leadership

passes a written resolution such as the following that commits the board to a strategy of no compromise on key provisions
informs its constituents of this commitment and this strategy
informs the sponsoring legislators of this commitment and this strategy.

WHEREAS we recognize that disclosure and contact vetoes, redactions, mandatory intermediaries and registry provisions are an affront to the dignity of adopted persons everywhere and a violation of their right to due process and equal treatment under the law,

WHEREAS there has been a demonstrable negative effect on the ability to pass unconditional open records in states that have passed veto legislation and/or any provisions that are less than unconditional access on demand by the adult adoptee,

WHEREAS our primary goal is to restore the right of adult adoptees everywhere to be treated as full citizens under the law,

WE HEREBY DECLARE that under no circumstances will we accept the addition of veto, redaction, intermediary, or registry provisions, or any conditional provisions to our legislation that would be less than unconditional access for adult adoptees to the original record of their birth. All legislative sponsors and members of this organization will be informed of our policy on this matter to ensure that the bill is pulled promptly in the event of such revisions.

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