Adoption is the establishment of a legally recognized, lifelong parental relationship between a prospective adoptive parent and child.

It is one of the most rewarding responsibilities of the Probate Court is to make sure a child is placed in a safe, loving and permanent home. Below you will find out more about the various types of adoptions which come through the Probate Court.

Types of Adoptions

There are alternatives to adopting a child. Under some circumstances, guardianship, change of name, custody through Juvenile Court, or acknowledgement of paternity may be more appropriate. Information about most of these procedures can be found on other pages within this site. It may be wise to consult an attorney for advice of the best alternative.

Rights of an Unwed Father

An unwed father, known as a putative father, may preserve his rights to consent to an adoption of a child born after January 1, 1997, by registering with the Ohio Department of Human Services, Putative Father Registry. Registration must occur either prior to birth or no later than thirty (30) days after birth.

Open Adoption

An open adoption occurs when both the natural and adopting parents, prior to the adoption, voluntarily disclose their identities. Open adoption law applies only to non-relative adoptions and may involve a non-binding agreement for contact between the adopted child and the natural parent(s). All parental control of the adopted child remains with the adopting parents.

Access to Adoption Files

Adoption files are confidential and closed to the public. However, the adoptee (after the adoptee is 21 years of age), may obtain the following information:

  • Prior to 1964: Copies of the original birth certificate may be obtained from the State Bureau of Vital Statistics by the adoptee only. If adoptee is deceased, this may be viewed by the adoptee's children only.
  • From 1964 to 1996: Adoption records are closed. Identifying information will be released to adoptee only if the biological parent(s) or adult sibling has signed a Release of Information.
  • 1996 to Present: From September 18, 1996, adoption records are open to the adult adoptee only, unless the biological parent(s) have requested that identifying information be withheld. Please contact the State Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Birth Certificate After Adoption

After an adoption, the original birth certificate will be sealed and a new birth certificate issued with the adopting parent(s) reflected on the birth certificate.

Adopted children born in Ohio (or a foreign country) receive their new birth certificate from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Columbus, Ohio. Children adopted in Ohio, but born in other states, obtain their new birth certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state where they were born.

Related Documents