Intermediary Services

North Carolina Search Information
North Carolina adoption law (G. S. 48-3-205; 48-9-103; 48-9-104) limits the amount of information that may be released from adoption files. Adoption records in North Carolina are not open to the public. In fact, records are sealed, by statute, at the time the adoption is finalized and are not available for review by the adopted or other requesting parties and cannot be released to anyone unless ordered by the Court.

Limited Information Release
Unfortunately, North Carolina's adoption laws do not permit the state Division of Social Services or the agencies that process the adoptions to share adoptive background information that would identify individuals either by name or location. Only non-identifying information and any health history that might be available can be shared with an adoptee.

Non-identifying information that may be released includes the date, time of birth, and weight at the time of birth of the adoptee and the reason the adoptee was placed for adoption. In addition, background information about the birth family, including age, nationality, ethnic background, race, religious preference, educational level, general physical description and any other general information will be provided.

Obtaining Health History
The health history of the birth parents and other relatives that might have an effect on the adopted person's mental or physical health may also be included if contained in the case record. If an adopted person is seeking this information and knows which county department of social services or private child-placing agency placed them for adoption or supervised their adoption, they should contact that particular agency in writing and request their non-identifying and health history information.

If they do not know which agency was involved, they can contact the North Carolina State Division of Social Services at 325 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603 in writing and request this information. The State Office will identify the appropriate agency and refer them to it for their non-identifying information and health history.

If the Court or the agency receives information from an adopted person's former parent or from a former relative about a health or genetic condition that may affect the health of the adopted or future generations, an appropriate employee shall make a reasonable effort to contact and forward the information to an adopted person who is 18 or more years of age, or an adoptive parent of an adoptee who is under 18 years of age.

Opening Records
Pursuant to G. S. 48-9-105, an adopted person, birth parent, or birth sibling may file a motion with the Clerk of Superior Court of original jurisdiction (county in which adoption proceeding filed) to have his / her adoption record opened. If it is not known in which county the adoption was filed, the Division of Social Services can be contacted at the address above to provide that information. This is usually done after the adopted person has been given all available non-identifying information and any health history that is permitted by statute.

If the adopted person continues to feel the need for identifying information, they should retain an attorney to draw up their motion giving their reason for wanting their adoption record opened. A hearing is then held and a decision is made whether or not the record is to be opened, based on the reason for opening the record and what would be in the best interest of all parties concerned. If the court issues an order to open the record, it is directed to the agency which prepared the report to the court and to the State Division of Social Services.

The adopted person usually goes to the local agency first as the local agency's records should contain more background information than would be in the Division's files. The State Division's records usually contain only the legal documents filed with the court; whereas the county records would contain information on the child if he / she had been in foster care, psychological reports, and summaries on progress while in foster care, etc. If the adopted is not satisfied with what they learned from the county records or the county is unable to locate their file for whatever reason, the adopted person can then come to the State Division of Social Services to secure their information.

Adoption Search Registries

Since North Carolina adoption laws do not permit the release of identifying information, state or county participation in the search for biological relatives is also prohibited. There is currently no statutory provision to assist adopted persons and / or birth relatives in their efforts to contact each other. However, there are independent search groups that may be able to help them. The following is a list of some North Carolina and nationally-based adoption search / registry resources which you may find helpful in the event you wish to contact them for assistance.