Searching for Birthparents:
The law in Ohio regarding searching for birthparents and access to records varies depending on which year you were adopted. The following links and information will assist you in beginning your search process.
If you were adopted prior to 1964:
Your records are open and you are able to receive copies of documents within your adoption file. Please follow the link to the Ohio Department of Health’s website to view the instructions for obtaining these records: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/vitalstatistics/legalinfo/adoptpri.aspx
*Note: The adoption must have been finalized before January 1, 1964.
If you were adopted between January 1, 1964 and September 18, 1996:
Ohio House Bill 84 required that official adoption records be sealed, unless the birthparent signed a wavier allowing the record to be shared. You must begin by petitioning the Probate Court to open your sealed file. This can be done by contacting the Probate Court in the county where your adoption occurred. The Probate Court will then mail you a packet of information and forms that you can return to petition to open the file. The Probate Court will contact the Department of Health to see if the birthparent signed a waiver allowing the release of information. If the wavier is signed, you will be able to have access to your adoption records through the Department of Health.
The following link lists contact information for all of the Probate Courts within Ohio:
Additionally, a biological sibling may have filed a release of information with the Department of Health, which would allow the adoptee to receive identifying information about his or her biological sibling. This wavier may be present even if the wavier from the biological parent is not signed.
The following link provides more information about the release of adoption records for adoptions occurring during this time period. Please note that this information can only be released to adoptees who are over 21.
If you were adopted after September 18, 1996:
At the age of 18, you can access your adoption records with the support of your adoptive parents. At the age of 21, you can access your adoption records without your adoptive parents’ support. Your birthparents’ information will on be released if they signed a wavier giving the Department of Health permission to do so.
The following link provides more information about accessing your adoption records:
The Ohio Department of Health is open Monday- Friday, 8am- 5pm. You can find more information on their website under their Vital Statistics link:
Additional contact information for the Department of Health:
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 466-2531
The following link will allow you to type in your address or zip code to find the contact information for your local Department of Health.