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Adoptions before 2010: applying if you're 18 or over

How to find information about past adoptions that occurred before 2010, for people with and without direct entitlement, and are age 18 or older.

Applying for adoption information for people without direct entitlement

Under the Adoption Act 2000, birth parents and adopted people are entitled to obtain identifying information about each other when the adopted person is over the age of 18 years. Adopted people can also obtain identifying information about any brothers or sisters who are over the age of 18 years and are also adopted.

Section 140(3) of the Act allows the supply of ‘adoption information or other information to any person who is not entitled… to receive adoption information or other information… if, in the opinion of the secretary, it is reasonable to do so’.

People who are not entitled but who may be approved to receive adoption information under s140 (3) are:

  • people who were previously under the care of the Minister of NSW, care leavers or other people who were separated from a sibling who was adopted and no longer has a relationship with a birth parent who has an entitlement under the Act
  • a biological sibling or birth relative of an adopted person who has the written consent of a birth parent who has an entitlement under the Act
  • other people if they can demonstrate that it would be reasonable for them to be provided with adoption information.

How applications are assessed

A number of factors will be considered when making a decision about the release of adoption information to someone who does not have a direct entitlement. These will include:

  • the reasons you are asking for this adoption information
  • the age of the parties to adoption to which the information request is about. Parties to adoption include birth parent(s), adopted person and adoptive parents
  • the relationship between you and the parties to the adoption
  • whether a Contact Veto or an Advance Notice affects the release of the information that you are applying for
  • how it may affect the parties to the adoption if the information is supplied to you.

How to apply

To apply for Adoption Information without a direct entitlement under Section 140 of the Adoption Act(2000), please download and complete the Application to access adoption information without direct entitlement.

Step 1

Send a letter to the DCJ Adoption Information Unit (address below) answering the following questions:

  • What details you know about the adoption such as the birth parent or parents names at the time of the adoption, date of birth of the adopted person (or approximate) and the adopted person’s name?
  • What are your reasons for applying for this adoption information?
  • What is your relationship with the birth parent or parents?
  • Is the birth parent or parents aware of your application for information? If so, what are their thoughts and feelings? If they are not aware, why aren’t they aware?
  • Why do you consider it to be reasonable for you to gain this adoption information?

Provide copies of the following documents:

  • Evidence of your relationship with one of the parties to adoption (such as a birth certificate). If you are not related, other evidence will be required to establish your relationship. This can be discussed with a DCJ caseworker at the AIU
  • Certified copies of two forms of your own identification, at least one form of identification to include your signature (such as, a current photo driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport, birth certificate, health care card or pension card). If you have had a change of name (such as through marriage), evidence of this must be provided
  • All identification papers must be certified. The original document must be sighted by the certifier (such as, Justice of the Peace, Solicitor, Clerk of the Court, Police Officer, Bank Manager, School Principal) and on the copy of the original document, it needs to say ‘this document is a true copy of the original’ document sighted by the certifier
  • If the birth parent(s) supports your application, they will also need to provide a letter giving their permission for DCJ to release information to you. They also have to provide two forms of certified identification, at least one form of identification to include their signature

As of 1 July 2022 all fees have been removed, and DCJ will no longer be seeking fees for any adoption application.

Step 2

If your application is approved, you will be sent an Application to obtain adoption information form. This form allows you to apply for the following:

Contact the AIU

Adoption Information Unit
Department of Communities and Justice
1300 799 023
02 9716 3005

Postal address
Locked Bag 5000
Parramatta NSW 2124 

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Last updated: 04 Jul 2022