Adoption procedures

State law regulates confidential information concerning any adoption finalized in Missouri.

Additionally, each juvenile court and adoption agency has its individual procedures regarding the release of information and its own interpretation of the state law.


Adoptee request form

Procedures packet for adoption searches

There are four places where the adult adoptee may request information regarding a past adoption record. The lineal descendant (the child or grandchild of a deceased adoptee) may request information from the agency or juvenile court which finalized the adoption:

1. The Missouri Adoption Registry.

2. The agency which handled the adoption. (listing of agencies attached)

3. The juvenile court which finalized the adoption. (The proper court for the request is usually the juvenile court in the county where the adoptive parents
resided at the time of the adoption. Their place of residence is often listed on the adoptee’s amended birth certificate.)

4. Adult adoptees born prior to 1941 may now request their original birth certificate through the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records. Beginning January 1, 2018, adult adoptees born in or after 1941 may request a copy of their original birth certificate through the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records. (Forms and instructions attached.)


The Missouri Children's Division maintains an adoption registry at no cost to the adoptee, the birth parent or any adult sibling. By completing the Missouri Adoption Registry form and submitting it to the Jefferson City address, the adoptee can register his/her desire to have contact with his/her birth parent(s) and siblings. The form is also used by birth parents and adult biological siblings wishing to register their desire for contact by the adoptee. A representative of the Missouri Children's Division will contact the adult adoptee, the birth parent(s) and/or the adult sibling if a match occurs on the state registry. Missouri law establishes different requirements for the release of identifying information through the Missouri Adoption Registry than the requirements established for the juvenile court. The Registry may avoid the need for a search through the juvenile court, and may also be helpful in the event that the court-authorized search is unsuccessful, but your birth parents or sibling(s) register at a later date.

An informational packet on adoption procedures is available here. Also, the City of St. Louis' website has guidelines for obtaining adoption records.