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

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

The Victorian Adoption Act 1984 (External link) provides eligible applicants the right to find information about an adoption that is connected to Victoria.

Historical forced adoption in Victoria

On 10 March 2022, the Victorian Government tabled its response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into responses to historical forced adoption in Victoria.

The response can be viewed at parliament.vic.gov.au (External link)

You can also view the Inquiry’s report (External link), tabled in Parliament on 8 September 2021.

If you are a mother affected by forced adoption policies and practices in Victoria prior to 1985, and are experiencing terminal illness or other acute exceptional circumstances, you can apply for the Forced adoption exceptional circumstances fund.

Who can apply for adoption records

Information that can be provided

The following information may be available: 

  • records created by past adoption agencies and courts 
  • copies of the adopted persons original birth certificate or other documents. 

Adult adopted people and their adult children are eligible to receive information from records that will identify other natural family members, including natural parents.

Natural parents can also receive identifying information that includes a copy of the adult adopted persons adoption order and information from the records of adoption.

Other applicants are able to access information about the adoption but generally, information that identifies that adopted person can only be given with their consent.