Thanks to a new law that will be implemented beginning Friday March 30, adoptees in Ohio will have access to their birth certificate and adoption files. This way, adoptees will have more information regarding family medical history but also their heritage.
Beginning with Friday March 20, people who were adopted between January 1, 1964, and September 18, 1996 can now obtain this information from the Ohio Department of Health. With this new law, about 400,000 people will be able to access records that up until now couldn’t have been obtained without a court order.
In 1964, lawmakers minimized record access, due to the concerns that they were too public. After numerous appeals from adoptees and their lawyers, in 1996 the records were open for public access once more. But people born in all other years were already allowed to access such data.
The new law, however, did not apply to the period prior to the enactment due to the insistence of groups fighting against abortion. These organizations were concerned about the fact that these laws would discourage people who were planning to adopt.
This new law which will take effect on Friday will give adoptees born between 1964 and 1966 access to information. Furthermore, it will give birth parents the option of choosing whether they want to be contacted. It also lets them update their medical history through the state.
Betsie Norris, executive director and founder of Adoption Network Cleveland and also an adoptee who got involved in the law project stated that this new regulation will offer adoptees “the civil right to information that all other Americans can have about themselves.”
According to the law, birth parents who gave their child away between 1964 and 1996 had a period of one year during which they could have opted to retract their names from the birth certificate information that the adult adoptee would have access to.
Sarah Bear, also an adoptee, is waiting for the moment she can finally take a look at her family’s medical history. She is the mother of a 19-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy. She made the following statement:
“My adopted family is very German, so my way of thinking is along those lines, but it would be nice to know what is in my blood.”