Impact of New Law on Adoptions Finalized Between January 1, 1964 – September 18, 1996
Senate Bill 23 modified the law governing records of adoptions that were finalized between January 1, 1964, and September 18, 1996. The bill was signed into law on December 19, 2013. This law will allow those whose adoptions were finalized between January 1, 1964 to September 19, 1996 to gain access to their adoption file and original Birth Record from the Ohio Department of Health. The law has a one-year waiting period before any records will be released. The first day adoptees and their lineal descendants may request the adoption file is March 20, 2015.
INFORMATION FOR BIRTH PARENTS
Starting now the biological parents can complete and submit a Birth Parent Information Packet which will contain a Redaction Form, Contact Preference Form, Social/Medical History Form and an Application for the Release of the Adopted Name. Below is detailed information as to what each forms means.
The Redaction Form will allow each biological parent to state that one or both do not want their name released with the adoptee’s original birth certificate. These names will be redacted when and if the file is released to the adoptee or any lineal descendants. This form must be submitted by March 19, 2015 in order to be in effect. If a Biological parent chooses to have their name redacted they are also required to complete an updated social and medical history form before the redaction will be accepted by the Ohio Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics.
The Contact Preference Form will allow the biological parent to state how they would like to be contacted if the adoption file is released. They can choose direct contact, contact through an intermediary or no contact at all. This form is advisory only and not enforceable. It does not ensure that contact will or will not be made. The social and medical history is not required with this form but is urged to be completed.
The Social and Medical History Form will allow the biological parents to update any social and medical information they wish for the adoptee or any lineal descendants to be aware of.
The Application for Release of Adopted Name will allow the biological parents to ask for the Biological Child’s Adopted Name.
Please click here to obtain the Birth Parent Information Packet along with instructions to complete the forms.
*** Any prior releases submitted before March 20, 2014 by the Birth Parent or Biological Sibling will be merged into the adoption file***
ODH cannot add other types of correspondence, such as letters or photos, to the sealed adoption file. Any additional materials will be returned to the sender.
INFORMATION FOR BIOLOGICAL SIBLINGS
Biological Siblings of adoptees can complete the Application for Release of Adopted Name. This will allow the adopted child’s name to be released in the event that an adopted child has submitted an Authorization for Release of Adopted Name. The form must be submitted with two pieces of identification with one showing linkage to the adopted person.
INFORMATION FOR ADOPTEES AND LINEAL DESCENDANTS
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. The biological parent and/or sibling release forms and birth parent information packet are not required before the adoption file can be released. Requests for a copy of the sealed adoption file may not be submitted until March 20, 2015. As this date approaches more information will be provided on this website.
Effective now, the adopted name may be released to a biological parent or sibling upon receipt of a signed application from the adoptee.
Should you have a question about these forms or this topic, please call the Office of Vital Statistics customer service team at (614) 466-2531.
Should you have general questions regarding the adoption process in Ohio, feel free to contact the following private organizations:
Adoption Network Cleveland: www.AdoptionNetwork.org
Ohio Birthparent Group: www.ohiobirthparents.org