Adoption STAR’s Ohio Program Director April Fong writes about historic legal developments in Ohio that have far-reaching implications for both birth parents and adoptees.
In Cincinnati and other cities around the country, in the spring, the words “Opening Day” are usually met with excitement and expectation about the season’s first baseball game and festivities that ensue. This year, however, throughout Ohio the words “Opening Day” refer to something far more exciting and important than the greatest Reds or Indians game could ever be. Adoptees spanning birthdates of over three decades now have access to their vital statistics records for the first time ever—What an amazing Opening Day, indeed!
Prior to Friday, March 20th, 2015, adoption records in Ohio were closed for anyone adopted between January 1, 1964 and September 18, 1996. Affected adoptees could not even gain access to their original birth certificate or information in the record without a court order. Now, as of this past Friday, those adopted between 1964 and 1996 can request their adoption records, including the original birth certificate.
Since 2013, birth parents whose children were placed during this time period had an opportunity to request their identifying information to be redacted before release of records. (It is now standard practice for the birth parents to elect whether or not to have their identifying information made available before placing a child for adoption.) Birth parents have also had an opportunity to provide updated social and medical information for their children, which will no doubt benefit countless adoptees.
If you are an adoptee (or adult lineal descendant) affected by this change, or if you are a birth parent or birth sibling wanting further details about sharing information, please visit the Ohio Department of Health website.
One (of many) news stories regarding this event can be found here.
If you have a personal story that you would like to share about obtaining more information about your birth family or child that was placed, I would love to hear it! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.