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Adoption File Information

Overview

The Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, houses birth and adoption records of persons born in Ohio and adopted anywhere in the United States.  Please note: a copy of an adoption file CANNOT be ordered online, nor can a copy of an adoption file be provided in our lobby on the same day.  Customers may mail the required documents with payment or submit them in our lobby; requests will be verified and researched, then copies will be mailed within one month.  Select the tab above that encompasses the year the adoption took place to see what information is available to adoptees and family members.    

For more information, use the links above or contact our customer service team at (614) 466-2531.

Prior to 1964

If an adoption for a child born in Ohio was finalized prior to January 1st, 1964, adult adoptees and their lineal descendants may submit an application to the Ohio Department of Health for a copy of the adoption file.  The adult lineal descendants (children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the adoptee) may also submit an application for a copy of the adoption file. 

An adoption file usually contains the original birth certificate and a court order decree of adoption.   Please note: a copy of an adoption file CANNOT be ordered online, nor can a copy of an adoption file be provided in our lobby on the same day.  Customers may mail the required documents listed below with payment or submit them in our lobby; requests will be verified and researched, then copies will be mailed within one month.

  • A signed and notarized Application for Adoption File is required (form attached to this page)
  • Two pieces of identification (copies acceptable; if name change or marriage, need to show linkage)
  • $20 fee

The notarized request should be mailed to:

Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. 15098
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Should you have questions, contact our customer service team at (614) 466-2531.

1964 to 1996

INFORMATION FOR ADOPTEES AND LINEAL DESCENDANTS

Effective March 20, 2015, adult adoptees may submit an application to ODH for a copy of their adoption file.  The requesting adoptee must be at least 18 years old. The adult lineal descendants (lineal descendants are described as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the adoptee) may also submit an application for a copy of the adoption file.  The Application for Adoption File form is available to download on this page or in our lobby. Please note: a copy of an adoption file CANNOT be ordered online, nor can a copy of an adoption file be provided in our lobby on the same day.  Customers may mail the required documents with payment or submit them in our lobby; requests will be verified and researched, then copies will be mailed within one month.

Below are the forms available to be submitted by the adoptee:

Application for Adoption File - This form allows for anyone whose birth occurred in the State of Ohio and was adopted to obtain their adoption file located at ODH. This form must be notarized and submitted with two forms of identification and the fee of $20.  An adoption file usually contains the original birth certificate and a court order decree of the adoption. It may also include biological parent release forms and/or biological sibling release forms that were submitted to ODH before March 20, 2014 and some of the contents located in the "Birth Parent Information Packet". The biological parent and/or sibling release forms and birth parent information packet are not required before the adoption file can be released. 

Authorization of Release of Adopted Name - This form grants permission for ODH to release the adoptive name to the biological parents or siblings of the adopted person upon their request. This form must be notarized and submitted with two form of identification.

Rescission of Authorization of Release of Adopted Name - An adoptee may rescind an Authorization of Release of Adopted Name form, by completing this rescission form. By rescinding the Authorization of Release of Adopted Name form the biological parents or siblings will not be able to obtain the adoptive name of the adopted person upon their request. This form must be notarized and returned with two forms of identification.

Below is the form available to be submitted by a lineal descendant of an adoptee:

Application for Adoption File – This form allows for a lineal descendant of an adoptee as described above to obtain the contents located in the adoption file at ODH. This form must be notarized and submitted with two forms of identification and the fee of $20. Please note: One form of identification should show linkage to the adopted person.

INFORMATION FOR BIRTH PARENTS 

The biological parents can complete and submit a Birth Parent Information Packet which contains: a Contact Preference Form, a Social/Medical History Form and an Application for the Release of the Adopted Name. Below you will find detailed information as to the purpose of each form. 

The Contact Preference Form will allow the biological parent to state how they would like to be contacted if the adoption file is released. They can choose direct contact, contact through an intermediary or no contact at all. This form is advisory only and not enforceable. It does not ensure that contact will or will not be made. The Social/Medical History Form is not required with this form, but is urged to be completed. 

The Social and Medical History Form will allow the biological parents to update any social and medical information they wish for the adoptee or any lineal descendants to be aware of.

The Application for Release of Adopted Name form will allow the adopted child's name to be released to the biological parents in the event that an adopted child has submitted an Authorization of Release of Adopted Name form.

Please click here to obtain the Birth Parent Information Packet which includes instructions on completing the forms.

*** Any prior releases submitted before March 20, 2014, by the birth parent or biological sibling will be merged into the adoption file. The biological parent and/or sibling release forms are not required before the adoption file can be opened. ODH cannot add other types of correspondence, such as letters or photos, to the sealed adoption file. Any additional materials will be returned to the sender.***

*** The law provided that the biological parent of an adoptee could submit a Redaction Form in the event they did not want their name released with the adoptee’s original birth certificate. This form was effective until March 19, 2015 and will no longer be accepted. ***

INFORMATION FOR BIOLOGICAL SIBLINGS

Biological siblings of adoptees can complete the Application for Release of Adopted Name. This will allow the adopted child’s name to be released in the event that an adopted child has submitted an Authorization for Release of Adopted Name. The form must be submitted with two pieces of identification with one showing linkage to the adopted person.

 

A short film was created with input from staff at ODH to explain the process; you may view this film here

Should you have a question about these forms or this topic, please call the ODH customer service team at (614) 466-2531.

Should you have general questions regarding the adoption process in Ohio, feel free to contact the following private organizations:

1996 to Present

INFORMATION FOR ADOPTEES AND ADOPTIVE PARENTS

For a child born in Ohio with an adoption finalized after September 18, 1996 adoption records may be opened if the adopted person is older than 21 - or by the adoptive parent if adopted person is between 18-21 years old - and there is not a Denial of Release Form in the adoption file from the biological parent. Please note other documentation and verification may need to be provided before the adoption records may be opened by the Bureau of Vital Statistics.  A copy of an adoption file CANNOT be ordered online, nor can a copy of an adoption file be provided in our lobby on the same day.  For the requests shown below customers may mail the required documents with payment or submit them in our lobby; requests will be verified and researched, then copies of the requested documentation will be mailed within one month.

Adoption File Requests: An adoptive person who is over the age of 21 and who was available for adoption after September 18, 1996 can request a copy of the adoption file.  If the adoptee is older than 18 but younger than 21 the adoptive parents can request the information for the adopted child.  The following is required to request an adoption file:        

  • Adoption had to be finalized after September 18, 1996
  • Notarized Application for Adoption File
  • Two pieces of identification (if name change or marriage, need to show linkage)          
  • $20 fee

Release of Adopted Name:  An adoptive person who is over the age of 21 or the adoptive parent of an adopted person at least age 18 but under the age of 21 can submit the request. This form grants legal permission for ODH to release the adoptive name to the biological parents or siblings of the adopted person upon their request.  The following is required to authorize the release of an adopted name:

  • Adoption had to be finalized after September 18, 1996
  • Notarized Authorization for Release of Adopted Name
  • Two pieces of identification (if name change or marriage, need to show linkage)          

Rescinding the Release of Adopted Name: An adoptee may cancel a previously submitted Authorization of Release form. By rescinding the Authorization for Release of Adopted Name, the biological parents or siblings will not be able to obtain the adoptive name of the adopted person upon their request.  The following is required to rescind the authorization to release an adopted name:

INFORMATION FOR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS

Application for Release of Adopted Name:  Biological parent(s) or sibling(s) can submit the Application for Releases of Adopted Name. This will allow the adopted child’s name to be released to the biological parents or siblings in the event that an adopted child over the age of 21 - or the adoptive parents of and adopted child between the ages of 18-21 - have submitted an Authorization of Release of Adopted Name.  Please note, other documentation and verification may need to be provided before the adopted name can be released.  The following is required to release an adopted name to biological parents or siblings:

  • Adoption had to be finalized after September 18, 1996
  • Notarized Application for Release of Adopted Name
  • Two pieces of identification (if name change or marriage, need to show linkage)      

Authorization of Release Form for Birth Parent:  Biological parent(s) who did not sign the Disclosure Statement (ODHS 1693) when placing a child for adoption can file an authorization form that provides identification information about themselves. A copy of this form will be released to the adopted child in the event that they submit an Application for Adoption File.  The following is required to authorize release of information: 

Denial of Release for Birth Parent:  Biological parent(s) who wish to change their mind and decide they do not want their information shared with the biological child can complete this form and submit with the following:

  • Denial of Release for Birth Parent
  • Adoption had to be finalized after September 18, 1996
  • Two pieces of identification (if name change or marriage, need to show linkage)

Should you have questions about these forms or the options available to adoptees and their families for adoptions that were finalized after September 18, 1996, contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics at (614) 466-2531.