On Friday, Ohio became the 12th state to provide access to original birth certificates for adoptees. Hundreds of adoptees lined up at the Ohio State Department in Columbus to request copies of their state-held birth certificates, newly available thanks to a law that went into effect that day.
The legislation, signed into law in 2013, repealed restrictions that had previously blocked Ohio adoptees born between 1964 and 1996 from accessing their birth certificates. Those adopted before 1964 already had unrestricted access to state records. Individuals adopted after September 1996 also had access to state records, except in instances where birth parents denied the release of the information. The delayed implementation of the new law gave birth parents the chance to have their names redacted from adoption records should they wish their identities to remain unknown.
This law has unsealed records for an estimated 400,000 Ohioans whose adoptions were finalized between those two dates. For these adoptees, the unsealed records could provide clues to their past. Records often contain original birth certificates, as well as biological parent and/or sibling release forms. Ohio Senator Dave Burke, primary co-sponsor of the law and adoptee, knows the importance of having access to this information.
“I already have a family,” said Sen. Burke. “But I need to fill a gap that exists, especially as I get older, medically.”
For more information on the new Ohio adoption law and for details about how to obtain your Ohio birth certificate, please visit www.odh.ohio.gov.