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Ohio Adoptee's Access to Records Law: A Retrospective

Films on Ohio Access to Records

Adoption Network Cleveland’s work, and that of our founder/Executive Director Betsie Norris, in achieving access to records for Ohio adoptees, has been well documented in film.

An Adoptee ROARed in Ohio: The Betsie Norris Story, by Jean Strauss

With its debut at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2014, this short documentary reveals the fascinating story behind why Ohio sealed adoption records in 1964, and how Adoption Network Cleveland’s Executive Director Betsie Norris spent 24 years changing a system her own father inadvertently helped to create. (22min)

Wendy Blitzer Barkett (3:22)

On March 20, 2015, opening day, Adoption Network Cleveland held a press conference with the Ohio Department of Health. Four adoptees were given their birth certificates in the ceremony. The first was Wendy Blitzer Barkett. In this short clip, Ohio Department of Health Director Rick Hodges presents Wendy with her birth certificate. The audio improves shortly into the clip. (3min)

Ohio Senate Republicans

The Ohio Senate Republicans made a short film about the records opening, highlighting sponsors Senators Bill Beagle and Dave Burke. Dave Burke, an adoptee, also received his own original birth certificate at the opening day press conference. (2min)

Ohio—Open Mic, by Jean Strauss

On the eve of their birth certificates becoming available, several Ohio adoptees relay stories of why this moment is so significant for them. Includes footage of Ohio opening day at Vital Records. (5min)

Ohio—Opening Day, by Jean Strauss

On March 20, 2015, Ohio enacted legislation that allowed citizens adopted in the state to apply for their own original birth certificates. Simply being able to file that application was a powerful moment — as witnessed in this brief film. (5min)

Ohio—Statehouse Ceremony on Opening Day, by Jean Strauss

On the day the birth certificates became available to Ohio’s adopted citizens, four adoptees received their records in a ceremony at the State House. Mostly unedited, this footage includes speeches by legislators, Ohio Right to Life, by Betsie Norris, and by people key to the passage of this legislation. (12min)

Answers, by Akron Video Makers

Share in the journey of a birthmother and an adoptee as they search for answers on their individual adoption journeys as a result of the new law. (7min)

The March to Vital Statistics, by Jean Strauss

On the morning of March 20, 2015, hundreds of adoptees marched to Ohio Vital Records together to—finally—apply for their birth records. (1min)

Walking Through Ohio’s New Adoption Records Law, by Jean Strauss

This video provides information about the enactment of the new law in Ohio that allowed adult adoptees born in the state to receive their original birth certificates. It also provides for birthparents to state their preferences regarding contact, and allows for the redaction of a birthparent's name, if desired. The procedure for release of the state-held adoption file is explained here. Note: this film was produced prior to, and in preparation for, opening day. This film was made as an educational tool in a collaboration between Adoption Network Cleveland and the Ohio Department of Health Division of Vital Statistics.

Six Word Stories

As thousands of deeply personal stories unfolded after Ohio’s records opened, we invited participants to submit “Six Word Stories” to capture some of the essence. Here is a selection of those narratives. (9min)

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