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Do Birth Parents Have to Be Named on the Birth Certificate?

The adoption process has a lot of moving parts. For many expectant mothers considering adoption, this is undoubtedly a difficult time. You might have a lot of questions about what happens once the baby is born. We’re here to help.

One of those aspects is that the adoption process, on top of pregnancy in general, can put a woman in an especially vulnerable place. There are a lot of people to trust — attorneys, social workers and the adoptive family — and being that open to all of these people about such an intimate process can feel intimidating. It may leave any mother asking for more privacy.

This could be why you’re wondering, “If you put a baby up for adoption, do you have to put your name on the paper?” Protecting your privacy is important, and the idea of signing a birth certificate could feel wrong. There are several facts about this part of the adoption process you should know, and hopefully getting a better understanding will help relieve any fear or anxiety.


Yes, if you put a baby up for adoption your name is on the birth certificate. There is a standard process in place for how this will happen. After working with an adoption specialist to create your hospital plan, you will give birth and can consent to the adoption after waiting a state-mandated minimum amount of time. Before consenting to the adoption, someone at the hospital will bring the birth certificate to you. You will then fill it out, following these guidelines:

  • The birth mother’s name must be on the certificate
  • The birth father’s name does not have to be on the certificate, but it can be (talk to your attorney to determine whether you should include the birth father’s name)
  • You do not have to put the child’s name on the certificate, although you can if you want to

Your adoption specialist will walk you through all of this while you are creating a hospital plan. You’ll have direction and guidance, and they will be there to answer any specific questions you might have.


If you put a baby up for adoption, is your name on the birth certificate or that of the adopting parent? As we’ve already said, the birth mother’s name must be on the original birth certificate. However, the adopting parents will be listed as parents on a birth certificate as well. How does this work?

After the baby is placed with the adoptive parents, they will go through a final step of adoption called adoption finalization. This last step of the process ends when the adoptive parents go before a judge to receive their final decree of adoption. When this happens, the adoptive parents will receive an amended birth certificate. On this birth certificate, they will be listed as the parents. If the birth mother does not name the child, or if the adoptive parents are choosing a different name, this is where they will put that name.

This new birth certificate is the one the child will use throughout their life. Anytime the child needs to provide official documentation, like applying for their first passport, they will use the amended birth certificate.


Since you are asking if you can put kids up for adoption if no one’s on the birth certificate, you most likely have concerns about privacy. The first thing you should know is that any trustworthy adoption agency will do everything in its power to protect your confidentiality if that is what you want. It’s an understandable desire, and it should be respected.

As we said, the amended birth certificate is the one an adopted child will use, which hopefully eases some concerns. However, depending on the state, a child may be able to request their adoption records and original birth certificate (the one with your name on it) when they turn 18. If this is concerning to you, you should speak to an adoption attorney or your adoption specialist about this concern.

Finally, as something to consider, you may have heard about something called open adoption. If even the idea of this seems scary, that’s okay. It is your right to protect your privacy as you see fit. However, most domestic infant adoptions today are at least semi-open, and this has proved to be beneficial for the birth mother, adoptive parents and child. It may not be at all what you have in mind for adoption, but forming an ongoing relationship could be a great thing for you.

Today, almost all adoption relationships are open to some degree rather than closed. Adopted children always know that they were adopted, and they almost always know the identity of their birth parents. This means that most adoptees today don’t need to turn to their original birth certificates in order to learn the identity of their birth parents because they already know their birth family — oftentimes, they frequently keep in touch with their birth family through open adoption.

Open adoption allows birth mothers to receive updates, like letters and photos, from the adoptive parents and child. They can see how the child is growing and enjoying life. Every open adoption is unique, so the amount of communication and level of openness is always up to the birth mother. In fact, you can have a semi-open adoption that still protects your confidentiality.

An open adoption situation could potentially lessen the concerns you have about having to put your name on the birth certificate. Either way, remember that it is your right to express your desires and concerns clearly to your adoption attorney and adoption specialist. They will do everything possible to meet your needs and protect your privacy. To get the answers and guidance you need, contact an adoption professional today