Our government recognizes that attitudes among New Brunswickers about adoption are changing. An increasing number of adults who were adopted want to know about their birth parents. Often, they feel they can only fully understand themselves and their lives by knowing about their biological family. As well, many birth parents wonder about the well-being of the child they placed for adoption. Increasingly, both adoptees and birth parents want greater openness and access to information.
The New Brunswick Post Adoption Registry maintains provincial records for those adoptions that have occurred in New Brunswick, and has access to over 100 years of records.
Recent changes to New Brunswick’s Family Services Act allows adoptees and birth parents to apply for access to available identifying information and will provide for access to different documents depending on which party you are to the adoption.
These changes will take effect on April 1, 2018 and will affect:
- adult adoptees;
- birth parents of adoptees;
- adult children of a deceased adult adoptee; and
- adult children of a deceased birth parent whose child was placed for adoption.
As of April 1, 2018, adult adoptees and birth parents will be able to obtain forms to apply for access to birth records related to an adoption. These forms will be available on the Department of Social Development’s web page for the Opening of Sealed Adoption Records.
Beginning in May 2017, there will be a period to allow time for birth parents and adoptees (18 years of age and older) to file a disclosure veto if they do not wish for their identifying information to be released. They may also choose to file a contact preference.
A disclosure veto can only be placed on adoptions that are completed prior to April 1, 2018, whereas the contact preference can be filed regardless of when an adoption is completed.
Filing a disclosure veto will prevent the release of any identifying information about the person who provides the disclosure veto.The Department of Social Development will not release identifying information to the person who has requested it as long as the disclosure veto is in effect. A disclosure veto may be removed at any time by the person who placed it and expires one year after the death of the person who it concerns.
Filing a contact preference will not prevent the release of identifying information, but instead allows limits to be placed on contact from the person requesting the information. Options may include email or phone contact, visits or no contact at all.
If a contact preference has been filed, the Department of Social Development may release upon request identifying information, subject to the terms of the contact preference. The person receiving the information must agree to the terms of the contact preference before they will be given the information requested. A contact preference can be modified or removed at any time by the person who placed it and it expires upon their death.