Law grants adoptees access to birth records

An Ohio law now in effect lets biological parents of adoptees decide whether to redact their names or include contact preferences in records that will soon be made available to certain adoptees.
Associated Press
Mar 23, 2014
Birth parents can also update medical information on forms for the adoptees.

Starting next year, individuals adopted between January 1, 1964, and September 18, 1996, can request their adoption files and birth certificates from the Ohio Department of Health. Records on file at the department’s Office of Vital Statistics will become available to adoptees beginning March 20, 2015.

The law is expected to give about 400,000 people access to records, which had been largely blocked without a court order.

Birth certificates before 1964 and after 1996 were already a public record. But when the law was changed again in 1996, it was not made retroactive to those caught between the two laws.

“We’ve got people from all over the country waiting with bated breath for a year from now when they can get their records,” said Betsie Norris, founder and executive director of Adoption Network Cleveland, an education and advocacy organization.

Birth parents who placed a child for adoption between 1964 and 1996 have a one-year period to request their names be redacted from the birthcertificate information that would be released to the adult adoptee. They also have the option of choosing to be contacted through an intermediary.