West Virginia Adoption Information Laws
Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 48-23-601; 48-23-402
Nonidentifying information may be provided to:
- The adoptive parents or, in the event of death of the adoptive parents, the child’s guardian
- The adopted person who is age 18 or older
- If the adopted person is deceased:
The adopted person’s spouse if he or she is the legal parent of the adopted person’s child or the guardian of any child of the adopted person
Any progeny of the adopted person who is age 18 or older
- The birth parent
Identifying information may be obtained through the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry by:
- The birth parent when the child is age 18 or older
- The adult adopted person except when there is a sibling in his or her adoptive family who is under age 18
Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Code § 48-23-601
Prior to placement for adoption, the agency shall compile and provide to the prospective adoptive parents a detailed written health history and genetic and social history of the child. These histories must exclude information that would identify birth parents or members of a birth parent’s family.
Records containing such nonidentifying information shall be retained by the clerk of the court for 99 years, and shall be available upon request, together with any additional nonidentifying information that may have been added on health or genetic and social history, to any person listed above.
Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 48-23-501 through 48-23-504; 48-22-702
The adopted adult and each birth parent may register by submitting an affidavit to the registry. The failure of any person to file with the registry for any reason, including death or disability, precludes the disclosure of identifying information to those persons who do register.
Upon registering, the registrant must participate in not less than one hour of counseling with a social worker.
In any case where the identity of the birth father was unknown to the birth mother, or one or both of the birth
parents are deceased, this information shall be shared with the adopted adult. In these cases, the adopted person will not be able to obtain identifying information through the registry.
The affidavit must include, if known:
- The current name and address and any previous name by which the person was known
- The child’s original and adopted names
- The place and date of the child’s birth
- The name and address of the agency placing the child
The administrator of the registry shall process each affidavit in an attempt to match the adopted person and the birth parents. There is a match when the adult adopted person and the birth parent have each registered and received the required counseling. When a match has taken place, the department shall directly notify all parties through a direct and confidential contact.
If an adopted person or parent of a minor adopted person cannot obtain identifying information by use of the registry, identifying information may be sought by petitioning the court. If the court is unable to obtain consent from
either of the birth parents, the court may release identifying information to the adopted person if at a hearing the court finds there is evidence of compelling medical or other good cause for release of such identifying information.
Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Code § 16-5-18
The original birth certificate is sealed from inspection, except upon order of the court.
Where the Information Can Be Located
West Virginia Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, Department of Health and Human Resources
Wyoming Adoption Information Laws page on this site will be updated as needed.