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Ohio unseals 400,000 adoption records beginning Friday

By Amy R. Connolly

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 20 (UPI) -- Some 400,000 Ohio adoption records dating back to 1964 were unsealed Friday morning, opening access to birth certificates and vital health information for adoptees.

Legislation passed in 2013 allows people adopted between Jan. 1, 1964 and Sept.18, 1996 to easily access once-sealed adoption records. Prior to the law, adults who were adopted in that period needed a court order.

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"This is a major win," Betsie Norris, executive director of Adoption Network Cleveland, told the Washington Times.

Ohio lawmakers closed adoption records in 1964, in part due to an adoptive father who was alarmed anyone could go into the courthouse and get a child's original birth records. They were reopened in 1996 after encouragement from open-adoption advocates. The law was not retroactive, causing some 400,000 to be stuck in the middle and unable to access their records. Adults adopted before 1964 already had access to their records.

The form to get copies of records can only be submitted in person or via postal mail because it requires notorized documentation.

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