COLUMBUS — Governor Kasich signed Senate Bill 23 in December of 2013, and the bill helped release adoption records for people who were adopted between January 1964 and September of 1996.
According to a press release from Senator Bill Beagle, who, along with Senator David Burke, cosponsored the new law, the change in law will allow 400,000 people born in Ohio and adopted between 1964 and 1996 to access their original birth certificate for the first time.
The bill came with a 15-month implementation period that was required by the Ohio Department of Health Vital Statistics Office in order to raise public awareness and allow birth parents a chance to remove their names from birth records if they wanted too as long as a detailed medical history of their family is provided.
On March 20, the legislation became reality and adoptees were able to request a copy of their original birth certificate for the first time. By requesting their adoption file by filling out an application on the Ohio Department of Health’s Office of Vital Statistics website and paying a $20.00 fee, adoptees were able to access records previously not available.
The new bill not only allows adopted children to find their biological parents if they choose to do so but it also allows them to understand detailed medical history of their biological background they previously had no access too.
In the press release released by Senator Beagles office, Burke said “As an adoptee myself, I know completing the quest for personal identity isn’t about finding family, but identifying the path that brought you to the place you call home today. I hope this new law allows for some closure to those other adoptees simply seeking a fuller sense of self-awareness that natural born children never have to question.”
Both Burke and Beagle have personal connections to adoption that helped inspire them to sponsor the bill. “My sister was adopted in a state where adoption records are still closed, and I have watched her struggle to find vital pieces of her biological family history. While I can’t help her, I can help Ohioans who have struggled the same way to establish personal records,” Said Beagle in the Press Release.
The press released noted that adoptees born and adopted before 1964 or after September of 1996 were able to gain access to the records of their original birth certificate.
Ohio is the ninth state to chance their laws to allow access to adoptee records from a previously close period.