Adoptions are filed in the Superior Court of the county in the State of Washington, in which the adoptive parents lived when the adoption occurred. In some cases, relinquishment of parental rights may have been filed in a different county than the adoption. In this instance, you would have to contact the Clerk of the Court in that county, since each Clerk is only authorized to search records within their own county.
For a record of adoption that occurred in a state other than Washington, write or telephone the appropriate state. The Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics, maintains a current list of information for other states.
To secure documents for children born in a foreign country to U.S. citizens, write to Passport Services, Correspondence Branch.
Adoption / Relinquishment records are sealed and may not be viewed by any person except by court order.
Decree of Adoption
The clerk is required to collect the referenced forms for each individual adopted in the State of Washington:
Adoption Data Card is sent to the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) for reporting under federal requirements. This form is also available from the County Clerk in hard copy. No fee is required to process at the DSHS.
Application for Adoption Registration is sent to the Center for Health Statistics for re-registration and issuance of birth certificate. This form is only available from the County Clerk in hard copy form. The fee for a new birth certificate is dependent on the state in which the child was born.
View the RCW 26.33.280 Decree of adoption Transmittal website to state registrar of vital statistics.
Search for Birth Parents or Adopted Child
The county clerk maintains a list of CI List (PDF) Confidential Intermediaries (per statute) who may be appointed to search for and contact the birth parent(s) or adopted person. The person searching is responsible for contacting a Confidential Intermediary of their choice and any fee that may be required. Please do not ask the County Clerk to intervene or act on your behalf.
An adoptive parent, adoptee, or birth parent may request non-identifying information from the court where the adoption was filed.
The Franklin County Clerk does provide a form to request Non-Identifying Adoption Information for cases filed in Franklin County Superior Court. The request form must be filled out and mailed to the Franklin County Clerk. It requires:
- The requestor's signature be notarized
- All available known information regarding the adoption case
- A $30 special services fee
Non-identifying information will not be provided over the telephone or by email.
The Non-Identifying Adoption Information request will be reviewed by the Court and information approved or denied. Please be advised, that not all adoption files contain the information on this page.
Non-identifying information includes, but is not limited to, the following information about the birth parent, adoptive parents, and adoptee: (RCW 26.33.020(14)
- Age in years at the time of adoption
- Heritage, including nationality, ethnic background, and race
- Education, including the number of years of school completed at the time of adoption, but not the name or location of the school
- General physical appearance, including height, weight, the color of hair, eyes, and skin, or other information of similar nature
- Occupation, but not specific titles or places of employment
- Talents, hobbies, and special interests
- Circumstances leading to the adoption
- Medical and genetic history of birth parents
- First names
- Other children of birth parents by age, sex, and medical history
- The extended family of birth parents by age, sex, and medical history
- The fact of the death, and age and cause, if known
- Name of agency or individual that facilitated the adoption
Copies of Original Birth Certificate
The Washington State Department of Health, Center for Health Certificates, maintains birth certificate information for the entire state. This office may be of assistance to persons searching for a birth parent or adopted child.