Searching for birth relatives

Once an adopted child turns 18, he or she is entitled to information concerning his/her birth parents held by the relevant government department through the Adoption and Information Service.

The information that can be released includes:

  • the names and dates of birth of the birth parents
  • any other information in the possession of the department relating to the birth parents and the circumstances of the adoption
  • any message, information or item given to thedepartment by a birth parents with instructions to provide it to the adopted child
  • information relating to a sibling (whether whole or half) of the person who has been adopted and who has also turned 18

The information may be given to a lineal descendant of the adopted child if they consent or where they are deceased or cannot be located.

Similarly, where the adopted child has reached eighteen years, birth parents may also obtain any information, messages, or items held by Department of Human Services relating to the adoptive parents or the adopted child.

Adoptive parents may also obtain information, messages, or items held by Department of Human Services relating to the birth parent or the adopted child, provided the adopted child has reached eighteen years and consents.

Where an adoption occurred prior to the commencement of the Adoption Act 1988 (SA), an adopted child, adoptive parent or birth parent has the ability to veto the release of identifying information. It is necessary to renew the veto every five years if the person wishes the restriction to remain in place [Adoption Act 1988 (SA) s 27B]. Despite this veto power, the Minister may authorise the release of information (even if the necessary consents have not been given) if it is necessary for the welfare of an adopted person [Adoption Act 1988 (SA) s 27D].

Searching for birth relatives  :  Last Revised: Wed Jun 4th 2014
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