Government of New Brunswick
What changes are being made to the way government currently manages sealed adoption records?

This new legislation allows for more openness with respect to birth records related to an adoption. It allows for adoptees who have reached the age of majority and birth parent(s) to apply for available identifying information.
 

Who are affected by the changes?

As of April 1, 2018, we are making changes to the release of an adult adoptee’s birth registration. This 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.
What does opening sealed adoption records mean?

Opening birth records related to adoption records will allow for adult adoptees and biological
parent(s) to have access to information identifying each other.

What are the benefits to opening sealed adoption records?

Opening the sealed adoption records will allow adoptees to access the information on their original birth registrations and also gain a stronger sense of who they are. For the many biological parents who wonder about the child that was placed for adoption, it may help them to find answers as to the well-being of the child.

Who is eligible to file a disclosure veto or contact preference?

The option of filing a disclosure veto or contact preference is available to an adoptee who is 18 years of age or older and birth parent(s). The adoptee must be at least 19 years old to receive the requested documents.  Contact preference can be filed by either an adoptee or a birth parent for any adoption.  A disclosure veto can be filed by either an adoptee or birth parent for an adoption completed prior to April 1, 2018.

What recourse will a birth parent have if they do not want to be contacted?

Our government acknowledges the complex balancing act required when opening sealed adoption records while balancing the right of individuals to their privacy.

For past adoptions (those finalized before April 1, 2018), there will be a provision that allows for birth parent(s) and adoptees aged 18 years or older to file a disclosure veto or contact preference.

What is a disclosure veto?

Filing a disclosure veto will prevent the Department of Social Development from releasing any identifying information about you to the person who requests it. You may wish to provide non-identifying information (i.e. medical, family, personal) with your disclosure veto to share.

The disclosure veto can only be placed on adoptions that occur prior to April 1, 2018.  A disclosure veto may be placed at any time, as long as the identifying information has not already been released.

A veto may be removed at any time by the person who placed it, and it will expire one year after their death. 

What if there is no disclosure veto on file?

If no veto exists or it expires, the Department of Social Development may release identifying birth registration information to the person who requests it.

What is a contact preference?

The contact preference applies regardless of when the adoption was finalized. However, for adoptions finalized prior to April 1, 2018 adoptees and birth parent(s) have the option to place a disclosure veto instead.

Filing a contact preference will not prevent the Department of Social Development from releasing your identifying information, but will allow you to state whether you wish to be contacted and if so, by what method. For example, you may only want to be contacted by email or phone call, or not at all.

The person receiving the information must agree to the terms of the contact preference before they will be given the information requested. You may wish to provide non-identifying information (i.e. medical, family, personal) with your contact preference to share.

What if there is no contact preference on file?

If no contact preference exists, the Department of Social Development may release identifying birth registration information.

A contact preference can be amended or removed at any time by the person who placed it, and it will expire one year after their death.

How will someone know that they have to file a disclosure veto?

The Department of Social Development will be developing an exhaustive communication campaign to reach adoptees and birth parent(s) to inform them of the need to file a disclosure veto. 

Will the statement of original registration of birth look like a birth certificate?

No.  A statement of an original registration of birth will not look like a birth certificate as it is not a legal document. It will not replace the birth certificate.

Are there any costs?

No, there are no costs associated with applying for a copy of the statement of an original birth registration or adoption order.

I am researching my family tree and want information on my great grandparent’s adoption and birth family information?

In this case, you are not able to receive the information on your family member’s adoption. This information is only being made available to adult adoptees, birth parents of adult adoptees, adult children of a deceased adult adoptee, and adult children of a deceased birth parent whose child was placed for adoption.