Adopting a child requires filling out a lot of paperwork. The variety of papers that need to be read and signed can be complex and overwhelming. So when it comes to the birth certificate for an adopted child, many hopeful adoptive parents wonder, “What does an adopted birth certificate look like?” and “Are there any differences from other birth certificates?”
After the baby is born, the birth mother will be presented with a birth certificate to sign in the hospital. She’ll fill out her name, the name she wants to give her baby, and the father’s name if she’d like. As a result, for an adopted child, there will actually be two birth certificates:
- the original one issued at birth
- the certificate issued when the adoption is finalized
What’s the Difference Between the Two Birth Certificates?
Both certificates will have the most important details on them: date and time of birth, location of birth, etc. The original birth certificate lists the birth mother’s name and the name she gives her baby. She can keep this one. A copy of that is then sent to the state registrar.
If the adoptive parents want to change the child’s name, they will do so on the new amended birth certificate, which will also list the adoptive parent(s) names.
Your child’s birth mother may offer you a copy (or original!) of this first birth certificate. It makes a nice keepsake if you wish to include it in your child’s baby book. In some states, the original certificate is sealed after the adoption and not available for access. If the child wants access to it once they turn 18, they can often file a petition to get it.
Once the adoption application has been approved, and the process is finalized, it may take a bit of time for you to get your child’s new amended birth certificate showing you as parents. This is part of the adoption finalization process.
The Benefits of Open Adoption
Choosing an open adoption means you are giving your child the benefit of knowing and loving not just you, but their birth parent(s), too. You can talk to your child about their adoption from day one, so they can know where they came from and how their life story began.
Being open and candid about this encourages your child to ask questions and get to know who they are. As they get older, you can talk to them about the two birth certificates that they may have, and they can grow up understanding the truth about their story.
Adapting your discussions to your child’s developmental stage is important. But no matter what, keep these things in mind.
Provide Support – It Goes a Long Way
An adopted child may have lots of questions about why things happened and how their adoption relates to their identity. Be positive and supportive, always speaking positively about your child’s birth family and their decision to choose adoption. Remind your child that their birth parents’ choice was made out of love.
Encourage Your Child to Embrace Their Story
As with any child who is growing up, they are learning about who they are, what their gifts and interests are, and what makes them tick. As they learn that part of them, and connect it to their adoption story, encourage them to embrace it and own it. Let them share it with other people on their own time and terms if they choose to share it at all.
Show Appreciation for the Adoption Process
The adoption process can be difficult and emotional. But no matter what, always talk about adoption as an incredibly special and positive thing. Seeing your positive behavior and attitude about it will help them feel more confident in their story and their identity. Pessimistic comments could cause confusion or make them question their place in your family.
What Does an Adopted Birth Certificate Look Like?
After learning the answer to “What does an adopted birth certificate look like?” you probably have many more adoption questions as you embark on the path to the child God has meant for you. A great place to find more answers is our Frequently Asked Questions for adoptive parents, or our free adoption webinars.
You can also speak with an experienced adoption coordinator by calling 727-493-0933. We are happy to help you get your adoption questions answered!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 27, 2021, and has since been updated.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.