State Senators Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Dave Burke (R-Marysville) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that is set to take effect on March 20, 2015.  Next Friday, 400,000 people born in Ohio and adopted between January 1, 1964 and September 18, 1996 can request a copy of their original birth certificate.
After a 15-month implementation period, required by the Ohio Department of Health Vital Statistics Office in order to inform the public and to allow birth parents an opportunity to complete a contact preference form, affected adoptees will be able to request their adoption file next week.
“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.” said Burke.  “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.”
“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. “The changes in Senate Bill 23 were long overdue, and I am thankful that Ohioans can now access essential health information related to their family history.”
Adoptees between 1964 and 1996 will be able to request their adoption file by filling out an application on the Ohio Department of Health’s Office of Vital Statistics website, which requires a $20 processing fee.  The Office of Vital Statistics will provide the current processing time on their website although most requests are typically completed within 7-10 business days.
A 1963 law in Ohio closed those records in 1964.  Years of advocacy by Adoption Network Cleveland for adoptees affected by the 1963 law was instrumental in its passage through the 130th General Assembly.
“Previously, the state of Ohio had an unfair three-tier system for access to records by adults adopted – before 1964, from 1964 to 1996, and after 1996. This law addressed that critical window where the records remained closed,” said Betsie Norris, Executive Director and Founder of Adoption Network Cleveland.  
Ohio is the 9th state to change their laws to allow access to adoptee records from a previously closed period. Equal access to original birth certificates can now be celebrated in the state of Ohio.
For more information: Documentary films by NY filmmaker Jean Strauss: An Adoptee ROARed in Ohio, The Betsie Norris Story and Walking Through Ohio’s New Adoption Records Law

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