Saturday, October 19, 2013

Adopted Ohioans deserve access to their birth records!!

My daughter called me yesterday to ask if I could help Amy, her friend from high school, find her birth mother. I know that people do this and many times they are successful so I agreed to help. Unfortunately Amy has hit a bitter brick wall. She was born in the state of Ohio after 31 Dec 1963 and her original birth certificate is sealed and her birth mother won't give Amy permission to see her records.

First, let me say one thing. I understand the reasons why this law was put in place -- to protect the reputation of the mother. Back in the day, girls used to disappear for a few months. They went to spend some time with a relative in another state or they just checked into  a home for unwed mothers and family members did their best to keep the rest of the family in the dark. I know. I was one of those family members who went to great lengths to keep the secret. Let me tell you, the rest of the family suspected what was going on and that skeleton eventually took its place on a hook in the family closet.

That is all I am going to say about that side of the debate. My concern lies with the adult children who want to trace their genealogy and can't because they are denied access to the the very basic records that begin their research.

Also, these individuals do not have access to any medical records that could affect their lives. Think about going to a new doctor and filling out the forms on that clipboard the receptionist hands to you at your first visit. Total lack of information for people whose birth records have been sealed.

In Ohio there is a three tiered system of access to birth records for people who live in Ohio and have been adopted:
     Anyone born prior to 1964 has complete access to their birth certificate after the age of 18.
     Anyone born and adopted in the period from 1964 to 1996 do not have access to their birth records.
     Those born after September 1996, do have access, unless the birth parent has denied access.

There is currently legislation in Columbus, Ohio that addresses this problem. HB 61 has passed in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 23 is awaiting a vote. 

If you are interested in supporting this cause I reccommend the following website


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