Confidential Intermediary | Amara

Confidential Intermediary

You Have the Right to Know Your Story

Adoptees and their birth family members may not know a lot about each other. Although there are laws in Washington State to protect the privacy of adoptees and their biological family members, there are resources available that allow adoptees and birth family members to search for each other and receive at least some information about their history. Our Confidential Intermediary is here to help you do that.

Amara’s Confidential Intermediary Speaks

On this episode of the “A Fostered Life” podcast, Rena Konomis, Amara’s Confidential Intermediary, speaks about The Adoption Files Initiative.

Hear More

What is a Confidential Intermediary?

Under Washington State law, a search for an adopted person’s birth relatives when a reunion is desired, must be conducted by a certified Confidential Intermediary. Amara’s Confidential Intermediary has received training and passed an examination in order to become certified by the Washington State Supreme Court.

 

Beginning the Search

If you desire to locate a biological family member, we would be glad to assist and walk you through the steps. We know this is a big decision that will come with many twists and turns. Our post-adoption team can support you throughout the search. (If you are under 21, your adoptive parents are required to make the request). Questions? Contact us.

What Else Might I Need to Know?

At the time a child is born a birth certificate is issued. If this child is adopted, an amended birth certificate is created with their adoptive parents’ names listed rather than their birth parents’ names. The original birth certificate is then sealed for privacy reasons.

In 2013, a new law (SHB 1525) took effect in Washington state that allows all adoptees to obtain original (pre-adoption) birth certificates. These are documents that have not been amended to list adoptive parents on the document. This law also allows birth parents to have a say in whether they’d like to release their identity (through making the original birth certificate available) or to keep it confidential.

ADOPTEES – Once 18 years old, you may request a copy of your original birth certificate where you will find information about your birth parents’ full names, the place of your birth and other identifying information about your birth parents.

BIRTH PARENTS – At any time, you may request a copy of your birth child’s original birth certificate. You also have 5 options to determine consent for contact:

  1. I would like to be contacted.
  2. I would like to be contacted only through a confidential intermediary.
  3. I prefer not to be contacted and have completed the birth parent updated medical history form and give consent to provide the adoptee with a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate.
  4. I prefer not to be contacted and have completed the birth parent updated medical history form and do not give consent to provide the adoptee with a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate.
  5. You are not required to do any of the above in which case the adoptee will be provided a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate.

Birth parents can file contact preference and medical history forms with the Department of Health.

Adoptive parents, adoptees over the age of eighteen, and birth parents are able to request limited non-identifying information from an adoption file. In some cases, birth family members may also be entitled to make a request.

If you are an adoptive parent or an adoptee over the age of eighteen and adopted through Amara, we can provide the non-identifying information in your file. The information in our files varies considerably, but it may include: physical descriptions of your birth relatives, the relationship of your birth parents, facts pertaining to your birth, and medical information. It may also include the circumstances surrounding your placement. You should be aware that the completeness and accuracy of the information also may vary. To begin this process, download this Request for Information form.

If you are an adoptive parent or an adoptee over the age of eighteen and adopted through Amara, we can access your file and provide you with a medical history of your birth family. The breadth of this report will be limited to the information provided in the profile. However, we will provide you with all pertinent medical information that is reported. To begin this process, download this Request for Information form.

If you are a birth parent whose child was adopted through Amara, we can provide the non-identifying information in your birth child’s adoption file. The information in our files varies considerably, but it may include: physical descriptions of their adoptive parents and limited circumstances surrounding their placement. You should be aware that the completeness and accuracy of the information also may vary. To begin this process, download this Request for Information form.

An adopted person over the age of 21, or under 21 with the permission of the adoptive parent, or a birth parent or member of the birth parent’s family after the adoptee has reached the age of 21 can work with Amara’s confidential intermediary. The confidential intermediary can search for and discreetly contact the birth parent or adopted person, or if they are not alive or cannot be located within one year, the intermediary may attempt to locate members of the birth parent or adopted person’s family. These family members shall be limited to the natural grandparents of the adult adoptee, a brother or sister of a natural parent, or the child of a natural parent. For more info or to request a search, contact Rena Konomis.

Whether you are an adoptive parent, adoptee, birth parent, or birth sibling, you may have a Mutual Consent form placed in your adoption file. If a matching form from your birth relative is already in the record or is received at a later date, it is possible for identifying information to be released to both parties. This document is held until a matching request is received or revoked by the original requestor. Amara will confirm sharing contact information at time of matching when action is about to be taken.

A Confidential Intermediary can search for and discreetly contact the birth parent or adopted person, see section “What services are available for searching?” for details about searching for relatives.

Agencies are obligated to provide limited resources. You can search websites for post adoption supports. At Amara, please contact our post-adoption services team.

Other resources:

Non-identifying information in your file is available by requesting a non-identifying information and medical letter. Your file may also have past correspondences, photos or items that were not successfully delivered. Waivers from family members that would provide consent to contact should you be interested in reuniting.

18 years old

  • Request non-identifying information and a medical letter
  • Request a copy of the original birth certificate

21 years old 

  • Search for birth parents
  • Sign a waiver/consent for contact

Under 18, with adoptive parent authorization

  • Request non-identifying information and a medical letter
  • Search for birth parents

Each agency has options and possible fees to confirm your adoption. You may also contact the Washington State Department of Health to request your adoption county and case number that will facilitate locating your adoption agency and/or records.

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