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Ohio adoptees may gain access to original adoption files

Many adoptees desire to know the original circumstances of their birth and have the ability to follow the thread of information that leads them to their original birth parents. A bill moving through the Ohio legislature may enable them to do just that.

Presented as a bill based in fairness and equity, the proposed legislation’s arguments center around the premise that if a non-adoptee can get his or her birth certificate just by asking for it, adoptees should be legally allowed to do so as well. This is not just for the purposes of finding lost parents; birth certificates may be important for health reasons as well.

Those who are adopted and looking to obtain their birth certificates might want to consult with an Ohio family lawyer for assistance along the journey.

About the bill

As it currently stands, Ohio adoptees born between 1964 and 1996 can’t access their birth certificates or adoption files upon request. The bill, referred to as HB 61, would change that. According to Adoption Equity Ohio, the bill passed unanimously through its committee, and passed a vote of the full House as well. A companion bill was awaiting a vote by the Senate as of mid-May 2013, and if both are passed, the legislation will go to the Governor’s desk, where it will likely be signed.

The language of HB 61 clarifies several inconsistent rules regarding the dissemination of birth certificates and adoption information to adoptees. Under the proposed law, adoptees in Ohio would have access to their original adoption files after reaching age 18. In addition, birth parents of children put up for adoption would be given the option to provide family health information that would be released upon request to birth children. Getting easier access to family medical records would go a long way toward helping adoptees with medical needs.

Why is the bill needed?

Over the years, changes to Ohio’s adoption laws have resulted in adoptees born before 1964 and after 1996 having greater access to birth records and, therefore, their family medical histories. The purpose of HB 61 is to reform adoptee rights as a whole, so that any adoptee has access to his or her original birth certificate.

If you are planning to adopt, if you’re considering putting a child up for adoption or if you’re an adoptee yourself, an experienced family law attorney can help you address any adoption-related issues that might be troubling you.