Obtaining a birth certificate after adoption

Obtaining a Birth Certificate and Social Security Number for your Adopted Child

While the seemingly endless pile of paperwork that comes with your adoption is tedious and sometimes confusing, getting it all done timely and correctly is crucial to completing the process. Once you submit the filings and get possession of all the official documents, your parental rights will be firmly established. In one of your first official acts as your child’s parent, you’re doing your due diligence to protect their rights, privacy, and identity.

Your adopted child’s new birth certificate and Social Security Number are key records that will need to be produced throughout their life. This guide will explain the process for obtaining a new birth certificate and social security number for your adopted child.

What Is an Amended Birth Certificate?

An amended birth certificate is also known as an amended birth certificate. The original birth certificate would have been filed at birth with the biological parents’ names. Once an adoption decree is finalized, Pennsylvania courts are required to send a Certificate of Adoption to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), which triggers the creation of an amended birth certificate.

The DOH will locate and seal the original birth certificate that contained the child’s birth name and birth parents’ names. Then they will issue the amended birth certificate that matches the information on the Certificate of Adoption. This new birth certificate will show the child’s new legal name and will show the adoptive parents’ names in the parent spaces.

The DOH will notify the adoptive parents once the amended birth certificate is complete so that they may order an original certificate. Pennsylvania charges a $20 fee for copies of vital records. To protect the rights of everyone involved, there is no visible difference between an original and amended birth certificate. When you show your child’s birth certificate to register for sports, school, or other activities, no one will see anything to identify your child as adopted.

Obtaining a Social Security Number for Adopted Children

If your child was registered for a Social Security number (SSN) prior to being placed for adoption, you will have the option to register for a new number. While not required, many parents feel that a new SSN is the best way to protect their child’s identity. Some parents are anxious to obtain a new number as quickly as possible, but we advise waiting until you have the new birth certificate in hand since the Social Security card must match the child’s legal birth certificate.

As part of our services for adoptive parents, we help our clients complete the SS-5 application form, which is also available on the Social Security Administration’s website. Whether or not the documents can be filed in person is dependent on current COVID-19 restrictions, but you will need to locate your local SSA office. Call that office to learn more about how they are handling applications.

Whether you file for your child’s SSN online, by mail, or in person, you will need to submit your child’s new birth certificate, the certified copy of your Decree of Adoption, and your own State ID, driver’s license, or passport. It will take an average of six to twelve weeks to receive your child’s new social security card.

The final step to changing your child’s SSN is remembering that the old one still exists. Keep a record of the original SSN and monitor it regularly to ensure no one is using it for fraudulent activity.

Haven Adoptions caseworkers are adoption paperwork experts. We know this major life event can be overwhelming, and we are here to support your family through these crucial steps. Contact us to learn more about how we can guide your family smoothly through the entire adoption process.

About the Author

Kelly Weidner is a co-founder of Haven Adoptions, Inc., and is a a well respected advocate in the adoption community. In that time, she has lead Haven Adoptions in connecting countless children with loving homes. Kelly is a member of the National Association for Professional Women, on the Executive Committee of the Our Lady of Mercy Board of Jurisdiction and lives in Ambler, PA with her three children.
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