(1) An adopted person over the age of twenty-one years, or under twenty-one with the permission of the adoptive parent, or a birth parent or member of the birth parent's family after the adoptee has reached the age of twenty-one may petition the court to appoint a confidential intermediary. A petition under this section shall state whether a certified statement is on file with the department of health as provided for in RCW 26.33.347
and shall also state the intent of the adoptee as set forth in any such statement. The intermediary shall search for and discreetly contact the birth parent or adopted person, or if they are not alive or cannot be located within one year, the intermediary may attempt to locate members of the birth parent or adopted person's family. These family members shall be limited to the natural grandparents of the adult adoptee, a brother or sister of a natural parent, or the child of a natural parent. The court, for good cause shown, may allow a relative more distant in degree to petition for disclosure.
(2)(a) Confidential intermediaries appointed under this section shall complete training provided by a licensed adoption service or another court-approved entity and file an oath of confidentiality and a certificate of completion of training with the superior court of every county in which they serve as intermediaries. The court may dismiss an intermediary if the intermediary engages in conduct which violates professional or ethical standards.
(b) The confidential intermediary shall sign a statement of confidentiality substantially as follows:
I, . . . . . ., signing under penalty of contempt of court, state: "As a condition of appointment as a confidential intermediary, I affirm that, when adoption records are opened to me:
I will not disclose to the petitioner, directly or indirectly, any identifying information in the records without further order from the court.
I will conduct a diligent search for the person being sought and make a discreet and confidential inquiry as to whether that person will consent to being put in contact with the petitioner, and I will report back to the court the results of my search and inquiry.
If the person sought consents to be put in contact with the petitioner, I will attempt to obtain a dated, written consent from the person, and attach the original of the consent to my report to the court. If the person sought does not consent to the disclosure of his or her identity, I shall report the refusal of consent to the court.
I will not make any charge or accept any compensation for my services except as approved by the court, or as reimbursement from the petitioner for actual expenses incurred in conducting the search. These expenses will be listed in my report to the court.
I recognize that unauthorized release of confidential information may subject me to civil liability under state law, and subjects me to being found in contempt of court."
(c) The confidential intermediary shall be entitled to reimbursement from the petitioner for actual expenses in conducting the search. The court may authorize a reasonable fee in addition to these expenses.
(3) If the confidential intermediary is unable to locate the person being sought within one year, the confidential intermediary shall make a recommendation to the court as to whether or not a further search is warranted, and the reasons for this recommendation.
(4) In the case of a petition filed on behalf of a natural parent or other blood relative of the adoptee, written consent of any living adoptive parent shall be obtained prior to contact with the adoptee if the adoptee:
(a) Is less than twenty-five years of age and is residing with the adoptive parent; or
(b) Is less than twenty-five years of age and is a dependent of the adoptive parent.
(5) If the confidential intermediary locates the person being sought, a discreet and confidential inquiry shall be made as to whether or not that person will consent to having his or her present identity disclosed to the petitioner. The identity of the petitioner shall not be disclosed to the party being sought. If the party being sought consents to the disclosure of his or her identity, the confidential intermediary shall obtain the consent in writing and shall include the original of the consent in the report filed with the court. If the party being sought refuses disclosure of his or her identity, the confidential intermediary shall report the refusal to the court and shall refrain from further and subsequent inquiry without judicial approval.
(6)(a) If the confidential intermediary obtains from the person being sought written consent for disclosure of his or her identity to the petitioner, the court may then order that the name and other identifying information of that person be released to the petitioner.
(b) If the person being sought is deceased, the court may order disclosure of the identity of the deceased to the petitioner.
(c) If the confidential intermediary is unable to contact the person being sought within one year, the court may order that the search be continued for a specified time or be terminated.
[1996 c 243 § 4; 1990 c 145 § 1.]
Finding—1996 c 243:
See note following RCW 26.33.347