Can I Get My Medical History in a Closed Adoption?

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There are a few different ways to get your medical history when you are in a closed adoption. The first way is through non-identifying information. At the time of your birth, your adoptive parents should have received a letter along with your adoption court documents. It should include some general information about your birth family, such as a physical description of your birth parents, occupation, interests, etc. It should also include any pertinent medical information that was available at the time. If you do not have your non-identifying information, you can request it from the state that your adoption took place.

Another option is to find your birth family using any number of tools such as AncestryDNA, a private investigator, or online search groups. Then you can reach out to them by email or phone call and ask them for your medical history.

Some states allow you to obtain your entire adoption file as long as you meet the requirements. You can inquire about the process, and whether or not your state has open records for adoptees, at your local health department.

The option I would use, as a last resort because of its degree of difficulty, is a petition to the court. When you are in a closed adoption, you can petition the court to open your records for medical reasons. Depending on the state you live in the chances for success vary greatly. Judges do not like to open sealed records except under extraordinary circumstances. Usually, it would mean that you would need to be suffering from some medical ailments that require your family’s medical history to help with your diagnosis or treatment.

While being in a closed adoption can be frustrating at times, the adoption community has come a long way with the new resources the Internet has provided.


Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother of two currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees’ rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life. You can read her blog at


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