Remember when I recently unleashed some verbal fury on Ohio, my state of residence, while reviewing Post-Adoption Contact Agreements? Well, I’ve got good news. Not only is the state addressing a bill that would change how open adoptions are viewed and dealt with but they’re pushing to open records for all adoptees, not just those born prior to 1964. Yes, I’m kind of giddy about it.
As the bill itself is rather long and wordy, a look at the analysis is much easier to understand. Let’s take a look.
First and foremost, it would be a great improvement for adoptees who were adopted in the state. It’s plan is to toss out the current system and open records to all adoptees.
Eliminates the three-tiered system that determines how adoptees obtain identifying information about their birth families, and creates one system under which any adult adoptee, adoptive parent, or lineal descendant may access the contents of the adoptee’s adoption file regardless of whether the adoption file was previously closed under the law or by action of a birth parent.
If the adoptive parent (or lineal descendant) is applying for the information, they have to provide notarized evidence of relationship to the adoptee before they could access the information. I’m assuming that would be as simple as the reissued birth certificate combined with identification. I’m also assuming that this means that adoptive parents who want their children to have their original birth certificates years before they (the adoptee) could get it on their own can get them the information. What a gift that would be!
Second in importance are some important bits for open adoptions. You may remember when I previously shared that, in Ohio, open adoptions are not enforceable. Goodbye to that helpless notion!
Eliminates a prohibition against an open adoption being binding or enforceable and requires a probate court to enforce, modify, or terminate a post-adoption contact agreement under certain circumstances.
That’s a huge step for a state that I previously labeled as “open adoption unfriendly.”
But one thing kind of raised the hairs on my neck.
Requires certain programs to emphasize adoption as an option for unintended pregnancies.
Uh, what? I read the part of the bill designed to cover that issue (referred to as “Adoption as an Option”) and I’m even more confused. I’m not sure what they will be doing in the mentioned programs to “emphasize adoption.” If we’re merely mentioning it in conjunction with other available options, that’s fine. If we’re starting a push in the schools to promote placement to expectant teen mothers, well, I’m not so cool with it. I’d really like some clarification here.
That issue aside, the bill has a lot of unique stuff in it that really pushes Ohio out of the dark ages of adoption and ushers in a new era. If you want to speak for the opening of records, please hit up The Daily Bastardette for contact information. THE PROPONENT HEARING IS TOMORROW, JANUARY 16th IN COLUMBUS, OHIO AT TEN O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING. They’re asking for only those that live, placed or adopted in Ohio speak to this issue at this time. (I’ve just received word that they have a strong representation for adoptees and first parents but are needing some more adoptive parents. Go on! Represent for your children! Do it!)
I can’t make it to Columbus tomorrow. (Where did all this snow come from?) If you are going, please leave us a comment to let us know. And come back tomorrow afternoon and tell us how it went!
Let’s go, Ohio!
For more on adoption reform, read these posts.