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Adoption information

Information about birth parents

Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, ss 3–6, 11

If you were adopted under a closed adoption and you want to know who your birth parents are, you will need access to your original birth certificate. You need to apply in writing to the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for your original birth certificate, and the Registrar-General is required to provide you with it.

If you were adopted before 1 March 1986 it’s possible for your birth parents to at any time “endorse” the birth certificate so that their details are withheld. This endorsement can last for 10 years, and can be renewed.

Your doctor can apply to have access to medical information about your birth parents, whether or not an endorsement exists. This is done through a social worker. The doctor should not find out the identity of the parent.

Information about adopted child

Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, ss 7, 8

A birth parent can apply to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) for information about the child they adopted out. MSD will attempt to contact the adopted person and won’t communicate the adopted person’s details to their birth parents unless the adopted person has consented to this.

Once an adopted person is 19 or older they can “endorse” their original birth certificate to the effect that they don’t want contact with either or both of their birth parents. An endorsement lasts 10 years, and can be renewed.

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