Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 453
Adoption and Foster Care
Section 453.121

August 28, 2013


Adoption records, disclosure procedure--registry of biological parents and adopted adults.

453.121. 1. As used in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms mean:

(1) "Adopted adult", any adopted person who is eighteen years of age or over;

(2) "Adopted child", any adopted person who is less than eighteen years of age;

(3) "Adult sibling", any brother or sister of the whole or half blood who is eighteen years of age or over;

(4) "Biological parent", the natural and biological mother or father of the adopted child;

(5) "Identifying information", information which includes the name, date of birth, place of birth and last known address of the biological parent;

(6) "Lineal descendant", a legal descendant of a person as defined in section 472.010;

(7) "Nonidentifying information", information concerning the physical description, nationality, religious background and medical history of the biological parent or sibling.

2. All papers, records, and information pertaining to an adoption whether part of any permanent record or file may be disclosed only in accordance with this section.

3. Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed biological parents or siblings shall be furnished by the child-placing agency or the juvenile court to the adoptive parents, legal guardians, adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased, upon written request therefor.

4. An adopted adult, or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased, may make a written request to the circuit court having original jurisdiction of such adoption to secure and disclose information identifying the adopted adult's biological parents. If the biological parents have consented to the release of identifying information under subsection 8 of this section, the court shall disclose such identifying information to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased. If the biological parents have not consented to the release of identifying information under subsection 8 of this section, the court shall, within ten days of receipt of the request, notify in writing the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel having access to the information requested of the request by the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants.

5. Within three months after receiving notice of the request of the adopted adult, or the adopted adult's lineal descendants, the child-placing agency or the juvenile court personnel shall make reasonable efforts to notify the biological parents of the request of the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants. The child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel may charge actual costs to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants for the cost of making such search. All communications under this subsection are confidential. For purposes of this subsection, "notify" means a personal and confidential contact with the biological parent of the adopted adult, which initial contact shall be made by an employee of the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, juvenile court personnel or some other licensed child-placing agency designated by the child-placing agency or juvenile court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the disclosure of communications privileged pursuant to section 491.060. At the end of three months, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel shall file a report with the court stating that each biological parent that was located was given the following information:

(1) The nature of the identifying information to which the agency has access;

(2) The nature of any nonidentifying information requested;

(3) The date of the request of the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants;

(4) The right of the biological parent to file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information should be disclosed;

(5) The effect of a failure of the biological parent to file an affidavit stating that the identifying information should be disclosed.

6. If the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has been unable to notify the biological parent within three months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants. Additional requests for the same or substantially the same information may not be made to the court within one year from the end of the three-month period during which the attempted notification was made, unless good cause is shown and leave of court is granted.

7. If, within three months, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has notified the biological parent pursuant to subsection 5 of this section, the court shall receive the identifying information from the child-placing agency. If an affidavit duly executed by a biological parent authorizing the release of information is filed with the court or if a biological parent is found to be deceased, the court shall disclose the identifying information as to that biological parent to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants if the adopted adult is deceased, provided that the other biological parent either:

(1) Is unknown;

(2) Is known but cannot be found and notified pursuant to section 5 of this act;

(3) Is deceased; or

(4) Has filed with the court an affidavit authorizing release of identifying information. If the biological parent fails or refuses to file an affidavit with the court authorizing the release of identifying information, then the identifying information shall not be released to the adopted adult. No additional request for the same or substantially the same information may be made within three years of the time the biological parent fails or refuses to file an affidavit authorizing the release of identifying information.

8. Any adopted adult whose adoption was finalized in this state or whose biological parents had their parental rights terminated in this state may request the court to secure and disclose identifying information concerning an adult sibling. Identifying information pertaining exclusively to the adult sibling, whether part of the permanent record of a file in the court or in an agency, shall be released only upon consent of that adult sibling.

9. The central office of the children's division within the department of social services shall maintain a registry by which biological parents, adult siblings, and adoptive adults may indicate their desire to be contacted by each other. The division may request such identification for the registry as a party may possess to assure positive identifications. At the time of registry, a biological parent or adult sibling may consent in writing to the release of identifying information to an adopted adult. If such a consent has not been executed and the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between biological parents or adult siblings and an adopted adult, an employee of the division shall make the confidential contact provided in subsection 5 of this section with the biological parents or adult siblings and with the adopted adult. If the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between one biological parent or adult sibling and an adopted adult, an employee of the division shall make the confidential contact provided by subsection 5 of this section with the biological parent or adult sibling. The division shall then attempt to make such confidential contact with the other biological parent, and shall proceed thereafter to make such confidential contact with the adopted adult only if the division determines that the other biological parent meets one of the conditions specified in subsection 7 of this section. The biological parent, adult sibling, or adopted adult may refuse to go forward with any further contact between the parties when contacted by the division.

10. The provisions of this section, except as provided in subsection 5 of this section governing the release of identifying and nonidentifying adoptive information apply to adoptions completed before and after August 13, 1986.

(L. 1986 H.B. 920 1, A.L. 2005 S.B. 21, A.L. 2011 S.B. 351)


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