48-9-104. Release of identifying information; confidential intermediary services.

(a) Except as provided in this section or in G.S. 48-9-109(2) or (3), no person or entity shall release from any records retained and sealed under this Article the name, address, or other information that reasonably could be expected to lead directly to the identity of an adoptee, an adoptive parent of an adoptee, an adoptee's parent at birth, or an individual who, but for the adoption, would be the adoptee's sibling or grandparent, except upon order of the court for cause pursuant to G.S. 48-9-105.

(b) A child placing agency licensed by the Department or a county department of social services may agree to act as a confidential intermediary for any of the following:

(1) A biological parent.

(2) An adult adoptee.

(3) An adult biological sibling of an adult adoptee.

(4) An adult biological half sibling of an adult adoptee.

(5) An adult family member of a deceased biological parent.

(6) An adult family member of a deceased adoptee.

In order to obtain and share nonidentifying birth family health information, to facilitate contact, or to share identifying information with any person listed in subdivisions (1) through (6) of this subsection, an agency may act as a confidential intermediary without appointment by the court pursuant to G.S. 48-9-105 and with the written consent of all parties to the contact or the sharing of information. Written consent of the biological parent is required if the biological parent is living at the time any party described in subdivisions (2) through (6) of this subsection seeks to contact or share identifying information with any other party described in subdivisions (2) through (6) of this subsection. Further, an agency may agree to act as a confidential intermediary for the adoptive parents of a minor adoptee or the guardian of a minor adoptee, without appointment by the court pursuant to G.S. 48-9-105, to obtain and share nonidentifying birth family health information. An agency providing confidential intermediary services shall contact individuals in a manner reasonably calculated to prevent incidental disclosure of confidential information. An agency that agrees to provide confidential intermediary services may charge a reasonable fee for doing so, which fee must be pursuant to written agreement signed by the individual to be charged. The Division shall establish guidelines for confidential intermediary services.

(c) For purposes of this section only, the term "family member" means a spouse, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, grandparent, or grandchild.

(d) If an agency providing confidential intermediary services determines that the person who is the subject of the search is deceased, the agency may obtain a copy of the death certificate pursuant to G.S. 130A-93 and deliver it to the person who requested the services. If the agency further determines that a lineal ascendant of the deceased person who is the subject of the search is deceased, the agency may also obtain a copy of the death certificate of the deceased lineal ascendant and deliver it to the person who requested the services. (1949, c. 300; 1957, c. 778, s. 7; 1961, c. 186; 1969, c. 982; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; 1979, c. 739, ss. 1, 2; 1981, c. 924, ss. 2, 3; 1983, c. 454, s. 6; 1993, c. 539, s. 411; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 457, s. 2; 2001-150, s. 12; 2007-262, s. 3; 2010-116, s. 3; 2011-237, s. 1.)