County Clerk

Adoptions & Foreign Births

Adopted persons searching for their original birth record should contact the central adoption registry at:

Central Adoption Registry
Family Independence Agency
PO Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909

Adopted - U.S. Born

Birth Records

  • Adopted before 1968 - Birth Record is in the state where the adoption was completed.
  • Adopted after 1968 - Birth Record is in the state where the adopted person was born.
    (The court of record might need to re-submit verification of the adoption to that state's vital records office if the adoptee never obtained a revised birth certificate.)
  • Adopted & Born in Michigan - Birth record is obtained through the Vital Records office in the county where the adoptee was born.

Court Adoption Records

Adoption records are housed in the county where the adoption took place and/or with adoption agency that facilitated the adoption.  In Michigan, there is no central location for all adoption records.  The court that completed the legal adoption is usually in the county where the adoptive parents lived when the adoption occurred.  The adoption location is not based on the county or state where the adopted person was born. 

Kent County Adoption Records

Adoption Department
17th Circuit Court Family Division
Kent County Courthouse
180 Ottawa NW, Suite 3500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 632-5107

Before coming down to the courthouse, please call or write to determine:
  1. if the adoption occurred through this court, and
  2. if the file is on site.

Copies of final Orders of Adoption can be requested in person at the courthouse, but will take 5-10 days to obtain. Other information may take 2 weeks to 2 months.

Foreign Born

For both U. S. completed adoptions, and adoptions completed in the country of birth, a Delayed Registration of Foreign Birth form must be filed in order to have a Michigan birth record created.  In Kent County, contact the court’s adoption department listed above to obtain paperwork to complete this process.  If the adoption was filed and finalized in a Michigan court, this process is completed as a part of the adoption.

Once a Delayed Registration of Foreign Birth is completed, copies of birth certificates can only be obtained through the MDCH in Lansing.   There is no copy of the birth record at the county court, or at the county vital records office.   In addition, no record is transferred to the country of birth.  Please see the contact information on page one for the MDCH. 

If not adopted, but born on a military base, contact

U.S. Department of State
Passport Services/Vital Records
1111 – 19th Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC  20524
(202) 955-0307