WHIO Reports on Adoption in the Miami Valley

WHIO Reports Taping 3.16.17
I was really excited to be included in the WHIO Reports segment called Adoption in the Miami Valley (Go here to see it).  Senator Bill Beagle, Adoptee Becky Drinnen and myself were all chosen for our involvement with Adoption Network Cleveland and their efforts to change a law that disallowed a group of adopted people access to their own records. The show was in response to the new law and to acknowledge the two-year anniversary of the opening of birth certificates and adoption files on March 20, 2017.  I am so pleased to have this story in the media and even more pleased that it was local to where I live and grew up.

The video  you see during the show is (above) from the documentary called An Adoptee Roared in Ohio by Jean Strauss that tells the story of Betsie Norris, Executive Director of Adoption Network Cleveland.  I urge you to watch the whole thing.  There is a twist in the story that we didn't have time to get into in the show; however, Betsie's dad, an attorney, was part of the group of adoptive parents and legislators who closed adoptees' birth certificates originally.  He later came on board to help Betsie change the law. Eventually Betsie sought Bill Beagle's help in sponsoring the bill.
Betsie Norris (middle), Jean Strauss (right) and me during Columbus celebration 3-19-15

I am pleased that the general public is becoming more educated on issues that affect adoptees. Those adoptees affected by the old law, born between 1964 and 1996, were unable to receive copies of their own original birth certificates; however, adoptees born in the years prior to 64 and after 96, were able to receive copies.  As Becky stated in the show, the original intent of the law was to protect the child and family's privacy from the general public.  Unfortunately, the law had the result of also keeping the original birth certificate out of reach for the adoptee once they became an adult.

Front page news-March 2015
It took two and a half decades to change this law.  An an Illinois-born adoptee, I personally was not affected by the Ohio law.  In fact, Becky Drinnen, an Ohio-born adoptee was not either as she was born prior to 1964.  However, growing up in the Miami Valley, I knew many, many adopted people who fell into that time frame and currently, even as middle aged adults, still have not ordered copies of their birth certificates and adoption files even after the law has changed.

Senator Bill Beagle stated close to 10,000 adoptees have ordered their birth certificates; however it is estimated there are 400,000 adoptees in the state of Ohio who were born during that previously closed time frame. Meaning, there are potentially 300,000 adopted people in the state of Ohio born between 1964 and 1996 who could order their birth certificates and adoption files and may not know it.  Do you know anyone who falls into this category?  If so, I hope you will share the link to the show with them.

Becky and I have been co-facilitating the Adoption Network Cleveland, Miami Valley support group for going on three years (beginning in June 2014).  We have never before had any local publicity for our group except word-of-mouth. The people who attend are always assured of the confidentiality of their stories and realize quickly, they are amongst others who "get it".    If you know anyone who can benefit from the support group, please tell them to like the Facebook page and check it monthly to see where we are meeting (our usual home is Wright Library in Oakwood, but they are currently remodeling, so there will be occasional changes in locale).  I also recommend you visit the home of Adoption Network Cleveland for more resources.

Our next meeting is in Vandalia while Wright Library is remodeling

My hope is that other closed states will follow suit with laws of their own providing equality to adopted citizens.

Hope to see you at a monthly meeting soon!


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