Ohio’s Adoption Records Unsealed



Fifty years ago, Ohio lawmakers sealed adoption records. For the next three decades, adoptees had no way of obtaining birth certificates. But a new law unseals the records of almost 400,000 Ohioans, and gives birthparents the chance to disclose or redact their contact information. This hour we’ll talk about who the law will affect, and what sealed the records in the first place.


  • Betsie Norris, executive director of Adoption Network-Cleveland
  • Margaret Sabec, birthmother and an adoptee
  • Jennifer Williams, birthmother

Join The Conversation

  • myste

    What about those who want privacy? Not everyone wants to be found. Rape survivors for example.

    • Jason Nehal

      The law was passed with a lengthy waiting period to allow the parents the opportunity to remove their names from the records and complete paperwork regarding biologica/medical information and social information so that adoptee would have some non-identifiable information as well as allowing them to file official requests to be contacted or not contacted and how that contact would happen.

    • IAmadopted

      A birth certificate belongs to the person who was born. Period. Mothers were never offered privacy. If so, every birth certificate of every person (adopted or not) would be sealed. Birth certificates were not even sealed until AFTER an adoption was final. Meaning, if a child was relinquished and for some reason never adopted, their birth certificate would not have been changed and not have been sealed. Even step parent adoption records are sealed- if a 14 year old’s mother dies and her father remarried & his new wife adopted the child, the child would have then been issued a NEW (falsified) birth certificate, and her original, FACTUAL birth certificate would be sealed. Does that make sense? Of course not. And neither does sealing the original birth certificates of adoptees.