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  • Adopted persons and their families - Assistance and counselling on parentage

Adopted persons and their families - Assistance and counselling on parentage

As an adopted person, you can inspect the files on the placement of your adoption yourself from your 16th birthday. Unless the interests of other persons concerned - such as those of your natural parents - conflict with or outweigh the right of inspection.

If you, as an adopted child, would like to find out about your family origin, you must contact the adoption agency that arranged your adoption. As a rule, these offices belong to the youth welfare offices, but there are also adoption placement offices of independent agencies, for example of the churches.

The specialists at your placement agency will let you look at the files, support you in your research and are available to answer any questions you may have.

It is not possible for you to inspect the files if there are overriding personal interests of the persons involved.

In individual cases, the adoption agency can make efforts to ensure that your natural parents and siblings also have access to the files. However, relatives from your family of origin do not have the right to inspect the files.

The birth register is kept by the registry office responsible for a person's place of birth.

A long file retention period for files on adoptions was only introduced at the beginning of 2002. If the adoption took place a long time ago, there may no longer be any placement files.

If the adoption took place before 1977, no adoption agency was involved. At that time, a notarized contract was sufficient, which had to be confirmed by the district court. In this case, an inquiry at the court involved may lead you further.


  • If you would like to review the placement files:
    • You are
      • adopted and are at least 16 years old or
      • Parents, have adopted your child and have custody of your child.
  • If you want to get the information or documents from the registry office:
    • Documents from the civil status register at the registry office can request:
      • parents who have adopted their child
      • their parents,
      • legal representative of the child and
      • the child himself/herself, who is at least 16 years old.
    • After the death of the child may also receive information from the civil status register:
      • other persons to whom the register entry refers (i.e. the natural parents) and
      • their spouses, life partners, ancestors and descendants.
  • Other persons have a right of inspection if they can credibly demonstrate a legal interest.