How to Find Birth Parents in Pennsylvania

Finding a birth parent does not ensure a happy reunion.

Finding a birth parent in Pennsylvania requires persistence and luck. The state requires that birth parent permission is granted before information about them is released to an adopted person. There are steps, however, that can be taken to find your birth parents and request their permission. Pennsylvania allows adopted persons who are 18 or older to request information about their birth parents. Adopted persons under the age of 18 must have their adoptive parents request the information.

Obtain information about your adoption. Determine where and when you where born, and the court that granted the adoption. Ensure you know your adoptive father's name and your adoptive mother's maiden name.

Determine if your birth parents have granted the release of identifying information. Pennsylvania only releases birth parent information if one or both parents have completed a "Biological Parent Registration Identification Form," and have filed the form with the Department of Health. You must submit an "Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record," to the Department of Health along with a processing fee and a copy of a government-issued identification form, such as a driver's license or passport. When filling out the form, explain that you are requesting information on if your biological parents have filed consent in the "Intended use of certified copy" field. If your parent has agreed to a records release, you will be provided with contact information.

Petition for birth parent contact. If your birth parents have not agreed to contact, your request is forwarded to an adoption court, typically the one where your adoption took place. Under Pennsylvania law, you may petition the court to have an intermediary contact your birth parents and attempt to acquire their consent for the release of contact information. You may also choose to have the adoption agency contact your birth parents to obtain their consent. Contact the court that completed your adoption for the specific requirements for filing a petition.

Continue to check with the Department of Health. If you do not receive contact information for your birth parents after your first attempt, you may file another request with the Department of Health at any time, as Pennsylvania does not alert you if your birth parent grants consent after you have filed your initial request.

Things You Will Need

  • Application for certified copy of birth record
  • Identification


If birth parent consent is not granted, contact information will not be released.