Adoption is now seen as a lifelong process during which adopted persons, natural parents, natural relatives and adoptive parents seek information about, and contact with, one another.

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

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.

Where to apply

The best place to apply depends on your circumstances.

Some people prefer to search for family themselves. The Post-Adoption Guide: Searching for records and birth relatives (External link) published by VANISH can help.

Other people find it helpful to be supported in this process. This can be done through VANISH (External link) or Adoption Information Services.

After you apply

When someone applies for adoption information, they are placed on the Adoption Information Register that may be searched by social 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. The Register also records if each person wants to be contacted.

When you make an application for adoption records the Register will be checked. The Register may contain contact information for the person you want to find. The register does not restrict contact. If you want your name removed from the Register, please contact Adoption Information Services.

If you get your records from an adoption agency (External link) they will keep their own register as well as providing details to Adoption Information Services.