After your adoption hearing, you can take steps to update your child’s name and/or birth certificate, where necessary. To obtain a new birth certificate you will need to submit a request through Vital Records in the state that issued the initial birth certificate. If outside of Pennsylvania, check with the local office regarding their specific requirements. For Pennsylvania birth certificates, a Certificate of Adoption is forwarded by the court to Vital Records to alert them the adoption was finalized. You would then contact Vital Records with a request for a new birth certificate and submit the applicable fee. Pennsylvania presently charges $20 for a new birth certificate, unless you are a military member, in which case the fee can be waived. The adoptive parents’ names and child’s name after adoption should be included in the application for birth certificate. The completed application, ID and payment would then go to Vital Records.

Processing times for receipt of the new birth certificate vary. The average time for adoptions is currently five (5) weeks. These steps are for a child born in Pennsylvania. For additional information on requesting a new birth certificate through Pennsylvania visit: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/certificates/Pages/Birth-Certificates.aspx

After receiving the new birth certificate and depending on the age of the child, you may also need to update records at school, the doctor’s office, Social Security, etc. You may need to present your certified Decree of Adoption from the court in addition to new birth certificate to verify legal name change. Additional certified copies of your adoption decree can be requested through the court at a nominal cost.  By April M. Townsend