Finding Adoption Records in Florida

By Lori Lapierre - Updated March 21, 2017
Family

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As is the case in most states, Florida adoption records are sealed and only can be opened by a court order. But Florida now has certain procedures that allow parties to obtain adoption records. This might be identifying or non-identifying information, but it is done in a way to protect the privacy of the birth parents, and protects the interest and privacy of all the parties involved. To obtain adoption records, you must be an adult adoptee, the birth or adoptive parents, grandparents of the adoptee or the birth siblings, and there are several ways to obtain the records.

Register first with the Florida Reunion Registry (FARR) and pay a one-time $35 fee to be entered into its system. This program is open to adoptees; adoptive and birth parents; birth siblings, aunts and uncles; and birth grandparents. For example, if an adult adoptee and the paternal grandparents both register and are matched, this can lead the adoptee to finding the necessary adoption records. FARR matches up participants at the rate of six to eight reunions a month, and can be reached at:

Florida Reunion Registry (FARR) 1317 Winewood Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700 850-922-6234

Obtain non-identifying adoption records, such as social or medical history, by writing to the Florida Post Adoption Services Unit. This option for records is available if an adoption was orchestrated by the Department of Children and Families, formerly the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services; or if it was coordinated through a private physician or attorney.

The Florida Post Adoption Services Unit Department of Children and Families 1317 Winewood Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700

Contact Florida's Adoption Information Center. This center was created by the Florida Legislature in 1994, and has assisted more than 130,000 people in finding adoption records since that time. Additional information on state-operated reunion registries, applications, and support or search groups can be found here.

Florida's Adoption Information Center 4203 Southpoint Blvd. Jacksonville, Florida 32216 800-962-3678 (in state) 904-353-0679 (out of state)

Notify the private adoption agency that serviced the adoption of your request for adoption records. While a court order will be necessary to obtain any information that is not voluntarily provided, the agency might be able to save you time by directing you through the proper course of action. Additionally, the agency might be able to facilitate a voluntary opening of the adoption records, if the birth mother is open to this process.

Call the Florida Department of Health's Adoption Unit at 904-359-6900, ext. 1086 or 1081. Whether you are an adoptee or the birth parent, you can ask for information on obtaining the correct birth certificate and any other adoption records. This department can assist you in finding adoption records, and advise you of the next step for obtaining information that remains sealed.

Search for adoption records by contacting the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. While the adoption records will be sealed, this agency might be able to direct you in finding adoption records with less red tape, saving time and money.

Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) Office of Vital Statistics P.O. Box 210 1217 Pearl Street Jacksonville, FL 32231

Hire an attorney who can assist you in filing a petition with the courts to open sealed adoption records. This process can be expensive and time-consuming, and a judge might refuse to open the records, requiring an appeal or further litigation to obtain adoption records.

Tip

Utilizing one of the free or low-cost registries or search groups in Florida can be the best way to start searching for adoption records; especially if someone in the adoptee's biological family is searching, as well.

Warning

Be prepared to spend some time on seeking adoption records if no one in the adoptee's family has registered for a voluntary search.

About the Author

Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

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