Can California Closed Adoption Records Be Unsealed?

Alameda County

1225 Fallon Street
Oakland, California 94612

All California county adoptions are closed, meaning that the court file which names the birth parents and adoptive parents and the record of the original birth certificate are not released by the court except by court order. Not all California closed adoption records are inaccessible. There may be some county judges who interpret the law more favorably to adoptees. The County of Alameda Superior Court notes on its website:

Access to Adoptions Files And Records. Adoption files and records are confidential and not open to the public. While the adoptive parents and the attorney of record at the time of the adoption generally can have access to the files, anyone else, including the person who was adopted, must obtain a court order before any information from such files may be released.

The point of access here is the adoptive parents. If the adoptee has their cooperation, then retrieving this file should be the first step. Not all counties in California will honor this exception to the general practice of withholding the records except for “good and compelling cause.”

More on researching closed adoption records: How Do I Find Birth Parents In A Closed Adoption?

If you want the names of your biological family right now or want to locate them, call me now for an adoption search or fill out this confidential information form.

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