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Who can request information about past adoptions

Adopted people, adoptive parents, birth parents, an eligible relative of an adopted person or birth parents and birth siblings (a brother or sister who was not adopted) can request information about past adoptions in Queensland.

Requirements and processes are different, depending on whether the adopted person is a child or an adult (over the age of 18 years).

All applications are made to Adoption Services who can be contacted for guidance in making an application. There are other post adoption services which are available in Queensland to assist you with your application, for example Post Adoption Support Queensland (PASQ).

Adopted person is a child (not 18 years old)

People who can apply for information include:

  • adoptive parent
  • an adopted person (with adoptive parent agreement)
  • birth parent
  • an eligible relative of an adopted person who is deceased or incapacitated
  • an eligible relative of a birth parent who is deceased or incapacitated or who cannot be located despite all reasonable attempts.

After an application is received

We will contact the other person, where possible, to discuss their interest in exchanging identifying information, unless:

  • there is a court order restricting the release of identifying information
  • making such contact is inconsistent with the wishes the other person has recorded in an (existing) adoption plan
  • the other person has previously given the department instructions not to contact them for this purpose.

Identifying information can be released only if written agreement is given by the child's adoptive parents and birth parent/s. There is no legal obligation for either person to give this agreement.

We must also consider:

  • the adopted child's views (if the child is able to form and express views)
  • the information is not likely to be contrary to the child's wellbeing and best interests.

We may assist to develop an adoption plan where people involved in the adoption have consented to the release of identifying information.

A child's adoptive and birth families may start by exchanging identifying information in correspondence through the Mailbox Service before deciding to correspond directly or to make face-to-face contact.

Adopted person is an adult

People who can apply for information include:

  • an adopted person
  • a birth parent
  • a relative (a spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandparent or grandchild of the adopted person or birth parent) or a person who is regarded as a parent or child under Aboriginal tradition or Islander custom
  • a pre-adoption birth sibling (a person who would have been the adopted person's sibling if the adoption had not occurred, but only with the adopted person's written consent and where the birth parent has not provided Adoption Services with a Contact Statement requesting no contact).

After an application is received

After an adopted person or birth parent (or eligible relative) applies for adoption information, the adoption information and copies of relevant documents will be provided to the applicant in a letter.

If the other person (adopted person or birth parent) has provided Adoption Services with a Contact Statement, in which they have requested not to be contacted, the applicant will be contacted by an adoption officer on the telephone number they provide on the application form. The applicant will be notified of the content of the contact statement and any reasons or messages provided by the other person.

Adoption Services

Work Level 1, 111 George Street
Postal address:
Post GPO Box 806
Work (07) 3097 5100 or 1800 647 983
(free call within Queensland)
Fax (07) 3006 4065

As Adoption Services is located in a secure building, you will be asked to register with the security desk before gaining access.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
3 November 2016
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