Adoption Records - Family Information Networks and Discovery

image of Adoptive parent and child

Adoption is now seen as a lifelong process during which adopted persons, natural parents, natural relatives, and adoptive parents seek information about, and contact with, one another.

The Victorian Adoption Act 1984 provides eligible applicants the right to find information about an adoption that is connected to Victoria.

How the Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND)service can help

FIND (the Service) provides access to information about past adoptions that are connected to Victoria, including Intercountry Adoptions. The Service can also help people who were adopted in the United Kingdom.

As well as accessing documents, the Service can help adopted people and their families make contact with each other. We work in partnership with other adoption information service providers and agencies that provide services to the adoption community.

Who can apply for information?

  • Adult adopted people.
  • Adopted people under 18.
  • Adult children of adopted people.
  • natural parents.
  • natural relatives: aunts, uncles, grandparents or siblings, whether of whole or half-blood relationship to the adopted person.
  • Adoptive parents.

What information might I receive?

  • Records created by past adoption agencies and courts can usually be accessed.
  • Copies of the adopted persons original birth certificate or other documents may be available.
  • Adult adopted people and their adult children are eligible to receive information from records that will identify other natural family members, including natural parents.
  • Natural parents can also receive identifying information that includes a copy of the adult adopted persons adoption order and information from the records of adoption. Adopted persons can also lodge a contact statement to express their wishes regarding contact.
  • Other applicants are able to access information about the adoption but generally, information that identifies that adopted person can only be given with their consent.

Adoption Information Register

The Service is required to maintain an adoption information register in accordance with the Adoption Act 1984.

When an application is lodged with FIND

  • The contact details, desires about providing information, obtaining information, or meeting other people involved in their adoption is entered onto the Adoption Information Register. All information is kept strictly confidential. Registered applicants can update or cancel the details on the Register at any time.
  • Adult adopted people are entitled to receive information about their origins, including the names of their natural parents if available. As noted above, they can also lodge a contact statement to express wishes about contact with their natural parent. (see contact statements)
  • Natural parents when they apply to FIND are advised if there is a contact statement lodged by their adult adopted child however natural parents retain the right to receive identifying information regardless of the contact statement.
  • Other parties may only receive non-identifying information initially. The search and intermediary support that the Service provides may facilitate identifying information being exchanged between parties. (The Department of Human Services is authorised to access enrolment information pursuant to the Electoral Act. Information about this authorisation is available from the Victorian Electoral Commission offices).

The Service provides services to inter-country adoptions that have taken place in Victoria; adoptions that occurred in the United Kingdom. The Service can also assist with interstate adoptions.

Personal stories of Adoption

Children of Adopted Persons

The children of adopted people may have just as great a need to search for information and for family members.

Adoptive Parents - Phoebe's story

Phoebe also supported her twenty year old daughters search, but friends made it harder by trying to change her decision.

Resources

  • Discovering you are adopted

    Outlines the common questions and reactions when one discovers that he/she is adopted and where to seek help coping with and getting more information about the adoption.

  • Information about your adoption

    Outlines where and how an individual may go about obtaining details relating to his or her adoption.

  • Information for adoptive parents

    Information for adoptive parents on the implications of access to adoption information, rights of the adoptive parent regarding obtaining information about the child's natural family and where to get help coping when the child wants to search, is already searching, or has been contacted by a natural parent or relative.

  • Information for natural parents

    Information for natural parents on rights, procedures on applying for adoption information and the kind of information adopted children can receive about their natural parents.

Contact Information

Family Information Network and Discovery (FIND)
Level 20
570 Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 8608 5700 or
Local call: 1300 769 926

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