Milwaukee County Genealogical Society

The Wisconsin Adoption Search Law

Article reprinted from: Milwaukee County Genealogical Society REPORTER, Volume 41, Number 4, November 2010, page 117
The Wisconsin Adoption Search Law

The Adoption Records Search is available to adult adoptees, adoptees whose birth parent(s) terminated
parental rights when they were minors, adoptive parents, and birth parents.

Wisconsin's Adoptions Record Search law is set forth in State Statutes Sections 48.432 (PDF, 749kb)
and 48.433 (PDF, 749kb). The primary purpose of the law is to help persons who have been adopted or
whose birth parents have terminated their parental rights in Wisconsin to obtain information about
themselves and their birth relatives. This information includes:
  • Non-identifying social history information
  • Medical and genetic information on birth parents and members of their families, including routine health
  • information and any known hereditary or degenerative disease.
  • Most recent names and address of birth parents in Department of Children and Families files.
  • A copy of the impounded birth certificate (the birth certificate on record prior to the time of adoption).

The law specifies conditions and protections under which a search may be conducted. Birth parents have the
opportunity to file a notarized statement (affidavit) consenting to the release of identifying information or the
right to refuse to allow release of identifying information.

When inquiring about the Adoption Records Search Program please indicate whether you are a birth parent,
adult adoptee, or an adoptive parent.

More Information on the Adoption Records Search Program see

To request an application packet, contact the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families by the
Internet or Mail:
Adoption Records Search Program
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53703-8916
Phone: (608) 266-7163
Fax: (608) 261-5994

Other Related Resources:
All About Adoption Research

Step by Step Guide for Adoption Research

American Adoption Congress
UPDATES TO ARTICLE (dated October 31, 2016):
No Wisconsin Adoption Records are available before 1907
Adoption Records Search Program
National Adoption Information Clearinghouse
was merged into Child Welfare Information Gateway,
a service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)