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New Law Eases Access to Original Birth Certificates

CINCINNATI (Tiffany Wilson) -- A new law in Ohio will radically change the rules for more than a million adopted adults in the state.

The measure unseals many birth records for many adopted adults in Ohio.
Before this new law, anyone born in Ohio and adopted between 1964 and 1996 could not see a copy of their original birth certificate.

"I lost my child to adoption in 1967 and I was silent for 27 years," Susan Anthony says.

During that time, Anthony married, had two more children and went about life in Madeira.

"Somebody would ask how many children do you have and I would never say three, I would only say two, because it just wasn't talked about and that silence is deafening," she says.

Anthony reconnected with her daughter Kristen with the help of the internet. In about a year, Ohio could see many similar reunions. Senate Bill 23, signed by Gov. John Kasich, unseals birth certificates for 400,000 adopted adults in Ohio.

For the first time, the adopted adults will have access to medical records and potentially their birth parents.

"Some adopted adults may just want the document to say they have it and will really have no interest in searching, but many do want to know," Anthony says. "They want to know, first of all, how they got here, what's the story, they'll say, 'my life, as I know it, starts with chapter two.'"

For some birth parents, chapter one may be difficult to share.

"One of the mistakes I think are commonly made in a reunion situation is the birth parent hasn't dealt with their own issues from the past. Their own feelings of loss, grief, shame, depending on the era."

Anthony is starting a support group to help local birth parents work through those issues.  The first Ohio Birthparent Group Cincinnati meeting is Feb. 15 at the Blue Ash Library.

"Ohio Birthparent Group Cincinnati will be a very safe place for people to share their stories and to find their own voice, so they don't have to be silent any longer," Anthony says. "There are a lot of people who understand the journey they walk and are walking today."




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