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New Colorado Laws Grant Access to Certain Records for Parents, Adoptees

August 1, 2014 (Denver, CO) -  Two measures signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper  May 22 provide direct access for eligible parties to certain records pertaining to the adoption without requiring a court order.  Printable electronic forms are now available on the Colorado Courts and CDPHE Vital Records websites, and proof of identification is required. Adoption records remain sealed to the general public without a court order.   

Both SB 14-051 (Tochtrop/Saine) HB 14-1042 (Saine/Tochtrop) passed through both houses of the legislature unanimously. SB 51, effective 7/1/14, gives adoptive parents of minor children, adult adoptees, and their descendents access to original birth certificates and certain other records. HB 1042, effective 8/7/14, provides copies of the original birth certificate and relinquishment documents they signed to birth parents whose parental rights were not terminated as a result of a dependency and neglect action.

"We're ecstatic," said Rich Uhrlaub, Director of Adoptees in Search - Colorado's Triad Connection (AIS-CTC).  "After a decades-long struggle, at last these laws restore equal treatment under the law for adults who have experienced a relinquishment or adoption. The only sad part about it is remembering those who've died waiting for this."

Bill sponsor Lois Tochtrop (D-Thornton), who is term-limited, said, "This was one of the most meaningful accomplishments in my sixteen years in the State Legislature because these new laws are going to help a lot of people. This was long overdue. I enjoyed working together with all of the passionate people from AIS who worked so hard and presented the issues so well."

Even before the laws passed, some 1800 requests for original birth certificates had been processed by the State Registrar as the result of a 2009 Court of Appeals ruling that granted access to adoption records and original birth certificates for those whose adoptions were finalized between 7/1/51 and 6/30/67. The new law will ultimately mean that access to records is no longer dependent on the date the adoption was finalized, though most persons adopted after 7/1/67 and before 7/1/51 must wait until January 1, 2016 to obtain their original birth certificate from the State Registrar.   

The 2014 legislative session saw Colorado and New Jersey join Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington as states that have passed similar laws.  Alaska and Kansas never sealed records from adult adoptees.

To learn more about the new laws and how to obtain records, go to AIS-CTC is an all-volunteer collaboration of adult adoptees, parents by birth and adoption, family members, and professionals whose mission is to bring truth, education and healing to those impacted by relinquishment and adoption.



Contact:  Rich Uhrlaub, Adoptees in Search - Colorado's Triad Connection


Phone:  303-232-6302(o), 303-322-1904(h) 


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