People lined up around the building to be one of the first to enter the building. No, it was not to buy concert tickets, but a line of adoptees waiting to get their adoption records and information about their biological parents. This information had been sealed—until now.
On March 20, 2015, Ohio passed a bill that opened adoption records for children adopted between 1964 and 1996. Those records had been previously closed and inaccessible, affecting approximately 40,000 adoptees. The new bill was passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Governor Kasich in the end of 2013. There was a one-year waiting period before it would take effect to allow time to inform the public and the chance for birth parents to restrict access to some records if they chose. But now, people adopted between those years can go and request their records, which may include medical information as well as biological parent or sibling information. Ohio is the ninth state to make a law to open adoption records that were previously closed.
“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 Dave Burke, one of two co-sponsors of the bill. “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.”
Indiana has a similar bill currently being debated to open that state’s adoption records.
If you are adopted, I believe you have the right to know your heritage and background. I believe you have the right to know your biological medical history. I have spoken to adoptees who say they are embarrassed at the doctor’s office when they are asked their medical history. They have to say “I don’t know.” This law helps against this embarrassment, but more importantly, it helps with their medical preventive care/diagnosis.
What do you think? Is opening adoption records something you agree with? Or should birth parents have the right to keep adoption records sealed?
If you need guidance in your search to find birth parents or adoption records, visit the new search and reunion website for adoption classes.