Information for Adults Adopted in British Columbia
Frequently Asked Questions for Adults Adopted in British Columbia How can I find out about reunion services?
The ministry provides reunion services to adopted adults and their relatives through the Adoption Reunion Registry.
Is there information, counseling or supports available for pre-adoption parents and adopted persons who are considering reunions?
There are different options for information, counseling or support on reunion issues. The Adoption Reunion Registry staff of the Ministry of Children and Family Development can assist and connect you with community-based agencies and support groups.
For information, contact your local ministry office, or the Adoption Reunion Registry at 250 387-3660. In British Columbia, the main sources of information about pre-adoption and adoption records are:
Decisions about releasing personal information are made case-by-case. Sometimes more information may be available, such as when a reunion has already occurred.
What if I don't want my identifying information released?
The Adoption Act recognizes government's commitment to honour past promises of confidentiality and a person's right to protect their privacy. There are two options for adopted persons and pre-adoption parents that want to keep their confidentiality:
- The person can file a disclosure veto with Vital Statistics Agency (VSA), if the adoption occurred before November 1996. This prohibits the VSA from releasing any birth registration or adoption order information identifying the person who filed the disclosure veto.
- If the person was adopted after 1996, they can file a no-contact declaration with the VSA to allow birth registration and adoption order information to be released, but personal contact with the person who filed the declaration will be legally prohibited. The maximum penalty for violating a no-contact declaration is a $10,000 fine and/or six months in jail.
How do I access information from BC adoption records?
Adults adopted in British Columbia, and their pre-adoption parents may have access to information identifying each other through the Vital Statistics Agency (VSA) at the Ministry of Health. This information is available only after the adopted person's 19th birthday. Adults adopted in British Columbia may apply for a copy of their original birth registration in their birth name (including names of any parents on record) and a copy of their adoption order. Pre-adoption parents can apply to the Vital Statistics Agency (VSA) for a copy of the adopted person's birth registration with any amendments including:
- the person's name following adoption
- a copy of the adoption order
The names of the adoptive parents are always removed to respect their privacy rights, and no identifying information is released if the other person has filed a disclosure veto.
Is there counseling or support available for pre-adoption parents and adopted children who are considering reunion?
There are various options available if you want information, counseling or support on reunion issues. Contact the Adoption Reunion Registry for assistance in connecting to community-based agencies and support groups.
When and how do I file a disclosure veto?
A disclosure veto prohibits the Vital Statistics Agency from releasing any birth registration or adoption order information identifying the person who filed the disclosure veto. These vetoes are only available for adoptions completed prior to November 1996. Pre-adoption parents who wish to maintain their privacy may file disclosure vetoes any time after the child they placed for adoption turns 18 years of age. Likewise, people who were adopted in British Columbia may file disclosure vetoes any time after their 18th birthday. This ensures that safeguards are in place for those who want them, by the time access to information provisions take effect on the adopted person's 19th birthday.
When and how do I file a no-contact declaration?
A no-contact declaration allows the Vital Statistics Agency to release birth registration and adoption order information in an identifying format, but personal contact with the person who filed the declaration is legally prohibited. Pre-adoption parents choosing to file no-contact declarations can do so at any time, regardless of the age of the child they placed for adoption. Adopted persons may file no-contact declarations any time after their 18th birthday. For information on how to file disclosure vetoes and no-contact declarations, call the Vital Statistics Agency at 250 952-9057, or write to the VSA at PO Box 9657 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C., V8W 9P3
Access to Information - This page explains how to access information about your adoption and pre-adoption parents along with the guidelines for doing so. The Adoption Act has made it easier for pre-adoption parents and adults to obtain identifying information about each other.
Information and Access Operations:
Information Access Operations provides access to information from adoption records related to children who were adopted in British Columbia, through the ministry or licensed adoption agency. Questions about the access process can be directed to 250 387-1321. To apply for access to an adoption record, fill out the Request to Access for Information form, or send your written request to:
Freedom of Information Request
PO Box 9569 Stn Prov Govt
If you are nineteen or over and:
- Have a copy of your original birth registration (received from BC Vital Statistics), Information Access Operations can give you your original birth records, including information about named pre-adoption parents.
- Do not have your original birth registration, Information Access Operations can provide your original birth records but must remove all information that identifies pre-adoption parents, unless they have given their written consent.
Adoption Reunion Registry - Provides reunion services to adopted adults and their relatives.
Vital Statistics - Maintains birth records, and registers no-contact or disclosure vetoes with respect to adoption.