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Are adoption records sealed?

It is very common for adopted children to want to find their birth parents. If you have adopted or given a child up for adoption, you may wonder if records are openly available. Some birth parents in Iowa do not want to be found for whatever reason, but adopted children may simply need medical information which is why they are seeking their birth parents. 

The state steps in to ensure everyone's privacy and rights are protected when it comes to adoption records. The Iowa Department of Human Services notes adoption records are sealed in the state in most cases unless an agreement was made otherwise during the adoption. However, your child can still seek some information.

The state will release records when a child turns 18 that provide basic family information and medical details without revealing the parental information. There is also the possibility of getting the records unsealed, but good cause must be shown to do so unless your child was adopted before the state ordered records to be sealed in July 1941. 

If your child was adopted before 1960, the records may not be complete and may be lacking important information, which could lead to him or her to want to have the records unsealed so he or she can contact biological family members for information. The state does offer a registry for adopted children and biological families where they can voluntarily register so other biological family members can find them. This has been available since July 1999. This information is for education and not legal advice. 

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