Biological Parent FAQs

Effective July 1, 2019, Section 44-63-140 of the South Carolina Code was amended to allow adult adoptees, age 18 or older, who were born in South Carolina, to obtain a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate, and any evidence of the adoption held with the original birth record, if the biological parent has completed the necessary forms consenting to the release of the certificate.  A biological parent may also indicate their contact preference and consent to release medical history information.  This law applies to adoptions finalized after July 1, 2019.

How does a biological parent consent to release information to the adoptee?

After July 1, 2019, a biological parent may complete a Biological Parent’s Request to Add Consent, Contact Preference, and/or Medical History Form(s) at any time.  A non-refundable $12 search fee must accompany this form.

If a biological parent has completed the Biological Parent’s Request to Add Consent, Contact Preference, and/or Medical History Form(s), the biological parent may also complete the Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form, which allows the biological parent to consent to the release of the original birth certificate and contents of the sealed adoption file. The form also allows the biological parent to indicate their contact preference by selecting one of the following options:

  • I would like to be contacted.
  • I prefer to be contacted through an intermediary.
  • I prefer not to be contacted at this time. If I decide later that I would like to be contacted, I will submit an updated contact preference form to Vital Records.

If a biological parent has completed the Biological Parent’s Request to Add Consent, Contact Preference, and/or Medical History Form(s), the biological parent may also complete the Biological Parent’s Medical History Form wherein the biological parent can provide his or her medical history. If this form is completed, it will be placed in the sealed adoption file and released to the adoptee upon request.

All completed forms must be mailed or submitted in person at the Division of Vital Records, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201.  The Division’s hours of operation are 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday, excluding state holidays.

Can a biological mother and biological father complete one set of forms, or do they need to complete separate forms?

Each biological parent should complete their own Biological Parent’s Request to Add Consent, Contact Preference, and/or Medical History Form(s), Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form, and Biological Parent’s Medical History Form.

Where can a biological parent find the forms to consent to the release of information to the adoptee?

The forms are available on the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s website at  https://www.scdhec.gov/vital-records. The forms can also be mailed to a biological parent if the parent calls the Division of Vital Records at (803) 898-3630.  The Division’s hours of operations are 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday, excluding state holidays.

What is the processing time for the request?

Because Vital Records must identify and retrieve the original birth record along with other documents contained in the sealed adoption file, same day service is not available.  Requests will be processed within 2-4 weeks.

What identification is required from a biological parent when submitting their request?

A legible copy of a valid and current government, school or employer issued photo identification of the applicant is required before a search of the records will be conducted.  Requests that do not contain proper identification will be returned unprocessed.  Additional information about identification requirements can be accessed here: https://www.scdhec.gov/vital-records/id-requirements-vital-records.

When can adoptees request their original birth certificate?

Adoptees can apply for a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate if:

  • The adoptee was born in South Carolina,
  • The adoption was finalized after July 1, 2019, and
  • The adoptee is age 18 or older.

What will the adoptee receive if a biological parent completes the forms consenting to release the original birth certificate?

If a biological parent has completed the necessary forms and consented to release the information, the adoptee will receive the following upon request:

  • A copy of the original birth certificate as it was filed at the time of birth. The birth certificate will be clearly marked that it is not a certified copy and it may not be used for legal purposes, and
  • Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form, and Biological Parent’s Medical History Form.  These forms will only be provided if the biological parent has completed the forms consenting to release the information and filed the forms with the Division of Vital Records.

Can the Division of Vital Records issue a copy of the original birth certificate if a biological parent has not consented to release the information?

No, the Division of Vital Records will not issue a copy of the original birth certificate to the adoptee if the Division of Vital Records has not received a completed Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form from the biological parent consenting to the release of the original birth certificate to the adoptee.

What happens if a Biological Parent’s Request to Add Consent, Contact Preference Form and/or Medical History Form(s) cannot be matched to an original birth certificate?

If the Division of Vital Records is unable to identify the original birth certificate based upon the information provided by the biological parent on the form, the request will be returned to the biological parent along with a letter indicating that no record was found.

Can the original birth certificate be amended?

No, the original birth certificate cannot be amended.

The Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form allows an intermediary to be selected as the contact preference.  If a biological parent has selected an intermediary as the contact preference, what does that selection mean?

If a biological parent has selected an intermediary as the contact preference, the person or agency identified as the intermediary by the biological parent will act as the contact between the biological parent and adoptee.  Vital Records nor any employees of Vital Statistics will serve as an intermediary.

Can a biological parent provide other items, such as a letter or a photo, for Vital Records to give to the adoptee?

No, a biological parent may not provide other items, such as a letter or a photo for Vital Records to give to the adoptee.  If any such items are sent, they will be discarded.

Can adoptees receive copies of their biological parents’ birth certificates?

No, adoptees cannot receive copies of their biological parents’ birth certificates.

If I am not a biological parent, can I complete a Biological Parent’s Request to Add Consent, Contact Preference, and/or Medical History Form(s), Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form, or a Biological Parent’s Medical History Form?

No, only a biological parent can complete a Biological Parent’s Request to Add Consent, Contact Preference, and/or Medical History Form(s), Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form, or a Biological Parent’s Medical History Form.  If you are not listed as a parent on the original birth certificate, your completed forms will be returned to you.

Can a biological parent get a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate?

No, the law does not allow the biological parent to receive a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate.

 

 

 

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Vital Records