19 March 2015

Ohio opens adoption records for Jan 1964 - Sep 1996 this Friday (20 March 2015)

It was great to see the headline Ohio set to open adoption records sealed for 50 years.  As we continue to read about threats to records access, it’s nice to read about increased access. 

Birth certificates and court decrees — some sealed as long as 51 years — will become available to adoptees or their direct descendants for the first time without a court order. It remains to be seen, however, whether the papers that many adoptees have longed to hold in their hands will contain the information they want.

For the last year, the birth parents of those who were adopted between January 1964 and September 1996 have had the option of having their names redacted from the records. The window to do that will close forever on Thursday.

Birth parents who chose to maintain the anonymity that the 1963 law promised them were required instead to submit lengthy medical and social histories for the files.

Do read the full article for more details on the law and some of those looking forward to gaining access to their records.  You might also read Impact of New Law on Adoptions Finalized Between January 1, 1964 – September 18, 1996 from the Ohio Department of Health.

Starting March 20, 2015, adult adoptees adopted in the relevant years may submit an application to ODH for a copy of their adoption file. The requesting adoptee must be at least 18 years old. The adult lineal descendants (lineal descendants are described as children and grandchildren of the adoptee) of the adoptee may also submit an application for a copy of the adoption file. An adoption file usually contains the original birth certificate and a court order decree of the adoption. It may also include biological parent release forms and/or biological sibling release forms that were submitted to ODH before March 20, 2014 and any of the contents located in the current "Birth Parent Information Packet". 

A video has been produced to explain how an adopted person adopted between the date range provided above.

I valued reading about the process where birth parents could opt to have their names redacted though had to submit lengthy medical histories.  A way to achieve a balance between the needs of those put up for adoption and the birth parents, some of which may want to remain anonymous.

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