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CERTIFICATE

Tennessee:  Access to OBCs and Non-ID

TENNESSEE

DENIES UNRESTRICTED ACCESS TO OBC (Almost all adoptees, age 21 and older, have unrestricted access to their OBCs;
restrictions apply to some.  See below.)

 

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-127; 36-1-128; 36-1-133

Nonidentifying information may be released to:
• The adopted person who is age 18 or older
• The adoptive parents or guardian if the adopted person is under age 18
• The birth parent or legal relatives
• The lineal descendants of an adopted person
• The legal representative of any of the above persons

Identifying information is accessible to the following persons:
• An adopted person who is age 21 or older
• A birth parent or birth sibling
• The spouse, lineal ancestor, or lineal descendant of an adopted person
• The legal representative of any person listed above

 

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-130

The original birth certificate is available to parties who have established their eligibility to have access to adoption records. 

[The only exception is for adult adoptees whose birth parent was a victim of rape or incest; in those cases the written consent of the birth parent is required to release records.  The process for access costs $150 (ten times the amount of an OBC.  Further, for adoptions that occurred after 1951, release of records is conditional in alignment with a "contact veto registry," where birth relatives can veto contact with adoptees.  Lastly, the contact veto unconstitutionally criminalizes contact between adult adoptees and birth relatives who may have vetoes on file.]

 

Access to Non-identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-133

To provide full disclosure about a child to be adopted from the guardianship of the Department of Children’s Services, the
department shall provide to the adoptive family the following categories of information, to the extent that they are available:
• Historical and current health, mental health, and behavioral health information
• Historical and current educational information
• Nationality, ethnic background, race, and religious preference
• Other information required for the adoptive family to evaluate its ability to provide appropriate care for the child, including
daily routine, social and emotional well-being, and personality
• Relevant information about the child’s experience in foster care and reasons for coming into care
• Pertinent prenatal and birth information, including birth date, time of birth, weight, and other physical characteristics at birth
• A general physical description, including height, weight, hair color, eye color, and any other information related to the child’s
physical appearance
The department also shall provide the following categories of non-identifying information about the child’s birth or legal family, to the
extent that they are available:
• Historical and current health, mental health, and behavioral health information
• Historical and current educational and occupational information
• Nationality, ethnic background, race, and religious preference
• A general physical description, including height, weight, hair color, eye color, and any other information related to the physical
appearance of the child’s birth or legal family
Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or require the release of information that may lead to the discovery of the
identity or location of the birth or legal relatives of the child to be adopted.

 

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 36-1-128; 36-1-129

The department shall maintain a contact veto registry for permitting registration of the willingness or unwillingness of the persons
listed above for contact with persons eligible to have access to records. The registry shall contain the following information:
• The name of each person who has filed a contact veto or who has given consent for contact
• The address and telephone number of the person
• The date and place of birth of the person, if known
• Any persons whom the person who files a contact veto wishes to exclude from the application of the contact veto
• The name, address, and telephone number of the person requesting contact
• The method of contact, if any, to which the person consents, including contact through one or more third parties
• Any other information that eligible parties wish to release to the other eligible parties
A person eligible to file a contact veto or give consent for contact may notify the department in writing that such person does or
does not object to contact being made with such person by any person or group of persons who are eligible to establish contact.
As part of the surrender for adoption, a birth parent or guardian shall indicate whether or not he or she wishes to file a contact veto
or give consent for further contact. By filing a contact veto, a person is entitled to notification of any inquiry requesting contact with
the filing person.


Where the Information Can Be Located
Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Advance Notice Registry

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