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12200 Fairhill Road, Floor A3
Fairhill Partners Collaborative Campus
Cleveland, OH 44120

Update 8: March 2, 2013

ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013

Wednesday March 6th – House Judiciary Committee Hearing – Statehouse Room 121 – 3 pm

Wednesday’s Proponent Testimony hearing on House Bill 61 to Restore Adoptee Rights promises to be an exciting one! People coordinated by Adoption Network Cleveland and Adoption Equity Ohio to testify include several “expert witnesses” and people coming from out of town. They include:
• Adam Pertman, Executive Director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute – flying in for the hearing
• Elizabeth Samuels, J.D., Professor of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law – flying in for the hearing
• Denise St. Clair, J.D., Executive Director, National Center for Adoption Law and Policy at Capital University
• Patricia Rideout, J.D., Chief Administrator, Cuyahoga County Dept. of Children and Family Services
• Linda Bolon, Columbiana County OH Treasurer and former Ohio House Representative
• Fred Greenman, Jr. J.D., Legal Advisor, American Adoption Congress
• Judge David Matia, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
• Nancy Burley, director of Adoption Circle Adoption Agency
• Betsie Norris, director of Adoption Network Cleveland
• Kate Livingston, founder of Ohio Birthparent Group
• Jeff Costello, an Ohio adoptee now residing in Atlanta, GA – flying in for the hearing
• Erin Hopkins McHugh, an Ohio adoptee
In addition, Ohio Right to Life and other organizations plan to testify.

Please attend if you can — we would like to pack the room with supporters and will have stickers you can wear to identify your support.

At the same time, on Wednesday afternoon, companion bill Senate Bill 23 to Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights will be having sponsor testimony in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee (hopefully future hearings will alternate or be staggered).

Future hearings in both the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate will provide time for additional Ohio adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents to testify. Hearings will always be on Wednesday afternoons and are typically scheduled the Thursday before. We will send word out as soon as we know a hearing is confirmed. To start writing your testimony, please see the Birthparent Testimony Guide at www.AdoptionEquityOhio.org. An Adoptee/Adoptive Parent Testimony Guide will be posted this weekend as well. Kate Livingston is coordinating birthparent testimony (katelivingston@gmail.com) and Betsie Norris is coordinating adoptee and adoptive parent testimony (betsie.norris@adoptionnetwork.org).

What you can do:
• Attend the House Judiciary Committee proponent testimony hearing on House Bill 61 on Wednesday March 6th
• Start to prepare your testimony for a future hearing, see the appropriate Guide and be in contact with Kate or Betsie (we already have lots of interested people, join in!)
• Make a financial contribution to help fund our efforts – you can do so by going to www.adoptionnetwork.org/roar2013.aspx or by mailing a check made out to Adoption Network Cleveland, specifying ROAR! 2013 in the memo line, to Adoption Network Cleveland at 4614 Prospect Avenue, Suite 550, Cleveland, OH 44103.

About the legislation:
Ohio Senate Bill 23, sponsored by Senators Beagle and Burke, and House Bill 61, sponsored by Representatives Pelanda and Antonio, were introduced February 12, 2013. Senate Bill 23 was assigned to the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee and House Bill 61 was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

The bills will allow:
• Ohio adoptees adopted 1964 to 1996* access to their Original Birth Certificate upon request at age 18, starting one year from bill passage date.
• Ohio birthparents to file a Contact Preference Form specifying if and how they would like contact.
• Ohio birthparents to complete and put on file an updated medical history for the adoptee.
(*Adult adoptees from before 1964 in Ohio already have this right, as do the vast majority of adoptees after 1996.)

To find your legislator, visit: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/
For more information, visit: www.adoptionequityohio.org/