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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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Do Birth Parents Have to Be Named on the Birth Certificate?

At American Adoptions, we do everything we can to protect the privacy and confidentiality of birth parents who wish to keep their identity private.

Remember, you decide how much or how little you want others to know about you and your adoption decision. While we’ll ask you a lot of questions and request personal information from you, it’s always for the benefit of you and your baby’s future access to potentially important information.

Here’s how birth certificates work in adoption, and how your identifying information is always protected:

“If You Put a Baby Up for Adoption, Do You Have to put Your Name on the Paperwork?”

Yes. Although you’ll need to volunteer a lot of personal information for legal purposes, as well as for the long-term health and wellbeing of your baby (like your medical history, social history, etc.), that information will be sealed so that only your child and their parents have access to relevant and necessary information.

It’s important that you’re always honest with us throughout the adoption process, about everything from potential exposure to drugs or alcohol to information about the baby’s father. We’re not here to judge or to get you in trouble. All information is used to help find the right parents for your baby, and to help give your child lifelong access to potentially life-saving medical and social history and information.

“If I’m Putting My Baby Up for Adoption, Do I Have to Put my Name on the Birth Certificate?”

Yes. Your name will need to be on the birth certificate that you’ll sign at the hospital. However, that birth certificate, along with your name, will ultimately be sealed and made private.

Some women have also asked, “Can you put a baby up for adoption if Dad isn’t on the birth certificate?”

You do not have to put the birth father’s name if he’s not involved in the adoption process. You also don’t have to put the baby’s name on the birth certificate, but you can if you want to. The adoptive parents often name the baby, or you may name the baby together — this is something you may wish to discuss with the adoptive family that you choose.

After the baby is born, someone will bring you a birth certificate for you to sign in the hospital. You’ll fill out your name, and you can choose to include the father’s name and/or baby’s name if you wish. Your adoption specialist will help you create a hospital plan for this part of the process to make sure that you’re comfortable with and prepared for everything that’s going on.

You’ll also sign your consent to the adoption after you’ve waited a state-mandated minimum period of time. This means that you’re voluntarily terminating your legal parental rights and placing your baby with their parents. Again, your adoption specialist and a legal representative will be there to make sure you understand this process and that you’re confident in your decision.

Continue reading to find out what happens to that birth certificate after the adoption is complete.

“If a Child is Adopted from Birth, Are the Adoptive Parents on the Birth Certificate?”

They are, but only on the second birth certificate. In adoption, there are actually two birth certificates. The first one, which will include your name, is called the original birth certificate. The second one, which will include the adoptive parents’ names, is called the amended birth certificate.

The amended birth certificate is given to the adoptive parents several months after the baby’s placement with them. Your name will not be on this document, in order to protect your privacy. If the adoptive parents intended to change the baby’s name from one that you gave him or her prior to the adoption, that name change would be reflected on the amended birth certificate.

Some birth parents have asked, “When a mother gives a child up for adoption, can she keep the birth certificate?” The answer is no, because that document will be sealed by the court to protect your privacy.

Today, almost all adoption relationships are open to some degree rather than closed. Adopted children always know that they were adopted, and they almost always know the identity of their birth parents. This means that most adoptees today don’t need to turn to their original birth certificates in order to learn the identity of their birth parents, because they already know their birth family — oftentimes, they frequently keep in touch with their birth family through an open adoption.

However, if you would prefer more privacy in your adoption, you can still choose a closed adoption in which your identity is kept private from the adoptive family and your child. But even in closed adoptions, depending on the state in which the adoption takes place, your child may still be able to request their original birth certificate and learn your name when they turn 18 years old. There are also new state regulations that can allow you to include information about whether or not you wish to be contacted by your child if they decide to access their original birth certificate. To anyone other than your adult child, the original birth certificate, along with your identifying information, is sealed and private.

We understand that privacy and confidentially is a major concern for many prospective birth parents who are placing their baby for adoption, so we work hard to ensure that your privacy is kept. If you have any questions about birth certificates, keeping your adoption confidential or if you just need general information about placing a baby for adoption, you can always contact us online or by calling 1-800-ADOPTION. It’s confidential, free and places you under no obligation to begin the adoption process.

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Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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