Thousands of Ohio adoptees will soon have access to birth records

CLEVELAND - Ohio Governor John Kasich will sign the Adoptee Rights bill this week, giving 400,000 adoptees born in Ohio between 1964 and 1996 access to their original birth certificates.

"It's going to be another piece of the puzzle and help me complete who I am," said Dan Smith, of North Royalton, who was adopted shortly after his birth 45 years ago.

Smith has an amended birth certificate which contains the names of his adoptive parents. However, he said it always raises questions in his mind.

"I wonder what my real name is," he said. "I wonder where did I come from, where did my life start."

The birth records won't be available until the spring of 2015, according to Adoption Network Cleveland Executive Director Betsie Norris, who has been pushing for the bill for 25 years.

"The new law gives the birth parent a form they can fill out saying 'Yes, I'd like contact. Here's my contact information.' 'I only want contact through a third party and here's how to reach them.' Or, 'I'd rather you not contact me but here's your medical history,'" Norris said.

Birth parents can also opt to have their names removed from the birth certificate. However, Norris said many adoptees have already contacted birth parents without the help of birth certificates.

Dan Smith just met his birth mother for the first time last Saturday. She told him his name on his birth certificate is Andrew Bush.

He can't wait to finally see it.

"It's where I came from," he said. "It's my story."

If you are an adoptee waiting to access your birth certificate, log ontohttp://www.adoptionnetwork.org  for more information.

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