NSW birth certificates recognise adoption

Mark Speakman says for many, birth certificates don't reflect their life story.
Mark Speakman says for many, birth certificates don't reflect their life story.

Anyone adopted in NSW will soon be able to acknowledge their birth parents and siblings as well as their adopted family on their birth certificate.

Attorney General Mark Speakman says the new inclusive birth certificates will modernise the most important legal identity document by including an adopted person's full history.

"For many adopted people, their current birth certificate does not reflect their life story, who they are and where they came from," Mr Speakman said on Wednesday

Legislative amendments to the Adoption Act 2000 and the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act are in response to lobbying from adopted people as well as legal experts.

Adopted people will now have the option to use a birth certificate that includes information about their parents and siblings at birth, as well as their parents and siblings after they have been adopted.

Under the current law, a birth certificate issued by the Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages after a person is adopted can only record the child's adoptive parents and any adoptive siblings, making no reference to the birth parents.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said making an integrated birth certificate available to adopted people aligns with contemporary "open" adoption practices.

"Today we mark a further step away from the secrecy associated with the adoption policies of the past," Mr Ward said.

"Open adoption means that adoptive and birth families now know about each other, exchange information and often have direct contact to enable children to connect with and understand their background.

"Following the proposed amendments, newly adopted people will be issued with an IBC along with the existing post adoptive birth certificate that is provided after adoption. Both will be legal identity documents, allowing the adopted person to use whichever one they prefer.

People adopted before the reforms can contact the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages to find out how they can apply for an IBC.

Australian Associated Press