Learn the basics of adoption records in Utah. It is important to understand the details of the process now and in the future.

Is Utah an Open or Closed State for Adoption Records?

As of 2018, Utah is generally a closed adoption state when it comes to adoption records. Adoption records that are 100 years old or older are public records and are open for genealogical purposes. To obtain adoption records less than 100 years old, a petition must be filed by the court from the county where the adoption case was held. Adoption records can be obtained by an adult adoptee if both the adoptee and the birth parents have contacted the adoption registry; however, no notification will be given that either party has contacted the registry. Either party can also elect to withhold identifying information. Each county has its own set of regulations. Be sure to do your research and follow in place procedures to make getting access to your adoption records as easy and smooth as possible. (See page 53 of 60 for more detailed information).

This is generally the case for closed adoptions in Utah. In a closed adoption, the birth parents have no contact with the birth child or adoptive family once the adoption has been finalized. Generally, closed adoptions occur when adoptive parents choose to adopt an infant, or if the child is adopted through the foster care system and the adoptive parents feel that it is in the best interest of the child to not have contact with his or her birth family. Documents such as original birth certificates tend to be more difficult to obtain in closed adoption cases. 

Open adoptions happen much more frequently. In open adoptions, even though the adoptive child lives with the adoptive parents, some form of correspondence continues after the adoption is finalized. In such cases, the adoptive parents facilitate the relationship between the adoptive child and his or her birth family. The adoptive parents have the right to control the form and amount of contact between the biological family and the adoptive child. It is quite common, particularly in cases of young single women having their children placed for adoption, for adoptive parents to invite the birth mother to important life events of the child such as birthdays and holidays. This allows the birth mother to still know about her child’s well-being as well as keep the adoptive parents informed on the birth mother’s situation.