YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Birth records and family medical history soon will become available for more then 400,000 people.
Starting Friday, the Ohio Department of Health will open birth records for those adopted in Ohio between Jan. 1, 1964, and Sept. 18, 1996.
“It is an opportunity to find out about past family medical history, maybe possibly reconnect with some siblings or their birth parents that they never had the opportunity to find out,” Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert Rusu said. “Most people want the original birth certificate because that has the birth parents name on it and that is what they want to know.”
Catholic Charities in Youngstown has helped with thousands of adoptions.
“We have been getting phone calls already, people calling with questions,” Catholic Charities Regional Agency Executive Director Nancy Voitus said.
She said those calls are being referred to the Ohio Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics in Columbus, which is handling the records requests.
But, Voitus wants people to know that each outcome is different.
“I have seen success stories where people do connect and you can’t believe how wonderful it is for them, to other situations where people put that past in their life and have dealt with it and really don’t want to re-open that,” Voitus said.
Toni Amey of Canfield was born and adopted in California.
“Found the contact information for my biological mother and was able to make contact with her. That was probably less than desired. You know, you spend 30 years thinking that mom misses you every day and you find out that she dreaded this day,” Amey said.
But, Amey said she has gained a sense of freedom by trying to piece together her past.
“You can fill in the blanks and then you realize those were not the blanks you really needed, that you had the answers all along and you are going to create your own story,” she said.
The Ohio Department of Health’s website offers detailed information on the forms required for requesting records.