Original vs. Amended Birth Certificates

OBC vs. ABC – What's the difference?

I'm often surprised Triad Members are unaware the Adoptee has two birth certificates. While 'most' everyone on this planet has a birth certificate, The Adoptee is extra special – they have two! The certificates may look the same, but there are subtle, overlooked differences. 

*Original Birth Certificate (OBC) is issued immediately after the child is born (pre-adoption). It contains the child's birth name (if one was given) and the birth parents' names. Depending on state adoption laws, this document is usually closed/sealed after the child is adopted and can't be accessed or used for legal purposes. In closed/sealed adoption record states, the only way to obtain the child's OBC is with a court order or through the Confidential Intermediary process.

*Amended Birth Certificate (ABC) is issued after the child is adopted (post-adoption). It contains the child's new legal name and adoptive parents' names. This certificate is used for identification, legal paperwork, and passport purposes. The ABC is stamped "Amended," stamp dated and can be filed up to one year after the child is born and after the adoption is finalized. While there are many reasons for the delayed filing date – the delay is usually due to the lengthy child placement process and adoptive parent home studies. Adoptees and Adoptive Parents can request a copy of the child's ABC through the birth state's Vital Records department.

*Home Studies are required for every adoption (i.e., international, domestic, private, foster care, infant, or older child). This study is an overview of the adoptive parents' life, including immediate family members (e.g., criminal background checks, personal finances, employment, education, hobbies, and family relationship overviews).  The home study must be completed before the adoption is finalized.


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