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Ministry of Health

Release of Adoption Records in British Columbia

Access to adoption information has been made easier with a shift in societal attitudes requiring openness and easier access to records. Many adopted people want to know about their biological origins and cultural heritage while birth parents require information about the current health and well being of children they placed for adoption. Many adopted people and birth parents also want to meet one another.

Who is eligible for an Adoption Record?

The Adoption Act was amended in 1996 to provide greater openness in adoption processes. The option of applying for an adoption record is available to adopted people 19 years of age or older and to birth parents when the adopted person reaches 19 years of age. Please note that the Vital Statistics Agency can only release adoption records if the adoption order was made under the British Columbia Adoption Act. Click here to download an application form.

What Records are Available to Eligible Applicants?

An individual, who was born and adopted in British Columbia, will receive a copy of their original birth registration in their birth name (including the names of any birth parents on record) and a copy of their adoption order provided a disclosure veto has not been filed. Birth parents of people born and adopted in British Columbia will receive a copy of the adopted person's original birth registration, a copy of the adopted person's birth registration following adoption including any change of name consequent to the adoption, and a copy of the adoption order.

Adopted people, who were not born in British Columbia but were adopted in the Province, will receive a copy of the adoption order and any identification particulars of the adopted person. Similarly, birth parents of people adopted in British Columbia but not born in the Province will receive a copy of the adoption order and any identification particulars of the adopted person following the adoption.

Prior to releasing an adoption record to a birth parent all identifying information pertaining to adoptive parents is deleted to protect their privacy.

What Are The Fees And Accompanying Identification Required For This Service?

For each search of records and a copy of a birth registration and adoption order the genealogy search fee of $50 will apply. As proof of identity, applicants are required to attach a photocopy of their birth certificate to the Application for Service Pertaining to an Adopted Person or Birth Parent form. All applicants are requested to fill out this form to the best of their ability.

Final Comment

The move towards greater openness has not taken away a persons right to protect adoption information. The Adoption Act allows individuals to maintain their privacy by filing a Disclosure Veto, or a No-Contact Declaration. Please click here for more information.