Ohio law will give individuals adopted between January 1, 1964 through September 17, 1996 new access to their adoption file. Effective March 20, 2014 birth parents can submit a new form to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to state their preference for contact with a child they placed for adoption. The forms are not yet available from OOH.

WHAT DOES THIS NEW ADOPTION LAW DO? An Ohio adoptee adopted between January 1, 1964 through September 17, 1996 can get their original birth certificate beginning March 20, 2014. There will be a three month enactment from the date the Bill is signed, plus one year for birth parents to state their preference for contact through a Contact Preference Form and Redaction option. Additionally, the new law will repeal the current Ohio Adoption Registry.

WHAT ADOPTION RECORDS ARE AFFECTED? On written request, an adoptee “18 or older” may receive their vital statistics file, which usually includes the original birth certificate, adoption final decree and amended new birth certificate. If a birth parent files a Contact Preference Form and updated medical history, then that will also be released. The new law does not affect what an adoption agency or attorney may provide the adoptee, called “non-identifying” information.

THE NEW LAW ONLY AFFECTS RECORDS FOR ADOPTIONS FROM 1964 TO 1996. Under current Ohio law, an adoption file is already available to an adoptee before January 1, 1964. For an adoption after September 18, 1996, the record is open to the adoptee at 21 and to adoptive parents for an adoptee 18 to 20 years old unless the birth parent has filed a written request stating it be withheld.

WHAT ABOUT ADOPTEES FROM ANOTHER STATE? The new law only applies to adoptees born in Ohio and adopted either in Ohio or in other states. So if someone was born in Ohio, but adopted in another state, that adoptee may be able to get his or her original Ohio birth certificate.

HOW DOES THE CONTACT PREFERENCEFORM (CPF) OPERATE? The new law allows a birth parent to state his or her wishes about contact. The form has three options.

  1. The birth parent can state their desire for contact and provide contact information.
  2. The birth parent can state their desire for contact and provide contact information to a third party they chose. The adoptee may contact the birth parent through the third party.
  3. The birth parent can state they do not wish to be contacted.

WHAT IS THE BIRTH PARENT REDACTION PROVISION? The Redaction provision provides a one year period where a birth parent can voluntarily file a form stating their name be removed from the original birth certificate to be released to the adoptee. In order for the Redaction form to be accepted by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, a birth parent must provide a current medical history form. This provision expires in March, 2015 when records become available to the adoptee. After that a birth parent may no longer file a redaction. If a redaction form exists, and the adoptee demands their birth certificate, the birth certificate will be released without the birth parent’s name.