How Do I Get an Adoption Certificate?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 17 December 2019
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When a child is legally adopted, the new parent or parents typically want to change his or her name and secure a birth certificate that shows the adoptive parent, or parents, as the child's parents. In order to do this, a court must authorize the changes and an official adoption certificate must be presented to the appropriate office of vital records. The adoption certificate authorizes the issuance of a new amended birth certificate to be issued reflecting the child's new name and showing the adoptive parents as the child's parents.

Adoption procedures may vary throughout the many jurisdictions of the world. Within the United States, an adoption is a fairly lengthy legal process. The prospective adoptive parent, or parents, must file a petition with the appropriate court requesting permission to adopt the child. Once the court is satisfied that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, it will grant the petition and make the adoption final. As part of the petition, the adoptive parent or parents will request the court to change the child's name as a rule.

Although the adoption may be finalized, and the child's name legally changed, the child's birth certificate will still reflect his or her birth name and biological parents. Birth certificates cannot be changed without a court order authorizing a change. As a result, the adoptive parent, or parents, must present an adoption certificate to the department responsible for issuing birth certificates in order to change the child's name.


Most courts or vital statistics departments have a standard adoption certificate form that is used to request a new birth certificate. The attorney or parents generally fill out the information indicating what the current birth certificate shows and what the new birth certificate should show. Typically, the attorney representing the parent, or parents, will submit the adoption certificate along with the proposed final order granting the adoption. The judge or clerk must then approve and sign the certificate.

The new parent or parents must then submit the adoption certificate to the appropriate agency, upon which a new amended birth certificate will be issued. The new birth certificate will show the adoptive parent, or parents, as the biological parents of the child. The new birth certificate will also reflect the name change requested by the adoptive parents. As a rule, the original birth certificate will still exist; however, it will be sealed and only available for viewing by court order.


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