Frequently Asked Questions – Open Adoption Records
What does Open Adoption Records mean?
- Open Adoption Records is the ability for adult adoptees, 18 years of age or older, to have access to all the information contained on their original birth registration, including: name at birth and the identity of his/her birth parent(s). Birth parents also are able to access the adopted name given to the adoptee at the time of adoption.
What information is and is not available to adoptees and birth parents for adoptions finalized on PEI?
- Currently adult adoptees and adoptive parents can contact Post Adoption Services to access non-identifying background information that is on record about the birth family. The available information could include: the adoptee’s birth history and early development; physical descriptions of birth parents; health information; religion; occupation; education; particular interests; circumstances regarding the plan of adoption; etc.
- Birth parents may receive confirmation of an adoption and the jurisdiction in which the child’s adoption took place.
- Right now identifying information such as names and addresses of birth family members and adoptees is only available with consent of the parties through Post–Adoption Services.
What will change with Open Adoption Records?
- All information contained on the current birth registry, including name at birth and the identity of birth parents will be accessible through Post Adoption Services.
- Once Open Adoption Records is in place, it will apply to past and future adoptions.
- Also, birth parents will be able to access a copy of the child’s adoption order identifying the new name of the child. Adoptive parent’s names are not provided.
How many people will be affected by these changes?
- There are approximately 4,000 records of adoptions finalized on Prince Edward Island over the last 100 years.
- We are taking great care to develop an Open Adoption Records process that offers choice, as well as support services that can respond to individual’s needs. Post-Adoption Services can also provide help if people have questions or are in need of additional support.
When will these records be opened?
- Adoption records will not be opened until one year after the legislation has been amended and is passed through the Legislative Assembly.
If I don’t want my information shared what do I do?
- For those adoptions that were finalized before the legislation was amended, you can opt out of sharing your information through a “ veto” which is a document filed with Post-Adoption Services to prevent the release of any birth registration or adoption order information identifying the person who has filed the veto.
- A veto can be filed once the legislation is amended and before or after adoption records are opened.
I’ve heard that there will be a contact preference, what does this mean?
- A contact preference permits an individual to state how they would like to be contacted or if they would prefer not to be contacted at all.
- Contact preferences will be available to adult adoptees and birth parents of adoptions that finalized after the legislation is amended.
- “No Contact” preference allows for the release of identifying information, but tells the other party that you do not wish to be contacted.
- A “Contact” preference allows for the release of identifying information and provides an individual with the ability to tell the other party how they wish to be contacted (e.g., by email, telephone or a third party).
How will people know about these changes and if they want to opt out of Open Adoption Records?
- We will have an extensive public awareness and notification campaign to reach out to people living both on and off PEI and also outside Canada in locations where we know children were placed, such as the New England States.
What do these changes mean for Indigenous children, families and communities?
- Before there are any changes to legislation and policies, there will be a formal consultation between the Government of PEI and the leadership of the Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations.
November 14, 2018