People who have been adopted will have their own experience of adoption and their experience of adoption may change across their life. Many find it beneficial to seek the records that were created at the time of their adoption.

The information available comes from the records held by the adoption agency and the records from the Court that made the adoption order.

When you apply the case manager will also check the Adoption Information Register.

Where to apply

Some adoption records are held by Adoption Services, and some are still held by the agency that arranged the adoption. This includes agencies where the agency has merged with another, or the agency has changed names. For example, the adoption records created by St Joseph's Babies Home in Glenroy are now held by CatholicCare.

You can find out more about past adoption agencies on Find and Connect (External link).

If the adoption agency that arranged your adoption is still providing adoption services, you have the choice of applying through Adoption Information Services or the agency can provide you with your adoption records.  The four agencies are:

If the adoption agency that arranged your adoption has ceased to provide adoption services, you need to apply for records through Adoption Information Services. Even if the adoption agency does continue to operate, you may choose to seek your records through Adoption Information Services.

Adoption Information Services can also help you determine which agency will be able to help you. You can contact Adoption Information Services by:

Interview with a counsellor

A person receiving any adoption information about an adopted person, no longer requires counselling. A case manager will offer counselling and talk to the applicant about what information may be available. This will include letting them know that the information may be distressing. The extent of the support provided will vary dependent upon the needs of that person.

After you receive information

Many people seek adoption information to search for family. Some people prefer to search for family themselves.

Adoption Information Register

When someone applies for adoption information, they are placed on the Adoption Information Register (AIR). The Adoption Act requires Adoption Information Services to keep this register to enable people affected by adoption to connect with others affected, if they wish. The AIR records the details of each applicant and their wishes about contact.

The AIR may be searched by case workers within Adoption Information Services. If an adopted person applies for their records and then later their natural mother applies for records, the social worker will know that both have applied.

When you make an application for adoption records the case worker will search the AIR, to see if it contains contact information about the person you want to find. The register does not require or restrict contact. If you want your name removed from the AIR, please contact Adoption Information Services by:

Support Services

You may also be supported to search for families. This can be done by the Adoption Information Service or an agency.

The Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help (VANISH) (External link) provides specialist services to support people seeking family separated by adoption and publishes the Post-Adoption Guide: Searching for records and birth relatives (External link).

Apply for an original birth certificate

Once you have completed the interview, you can apply through the Adoption Information Service to Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria (External link) for your original birth certificate.

Usually, a copy of the original birth certificate will be contained in the court record.

Find out more

Contact Adoption Information Services (External link)