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  Ontario adoption files open June 1, 2009 -- you can choose to disclose or hide your identity
Family Helper editor

(Oct. 29, 2008)    Community papers across Ontario today ran a full-page government advertisement headed "Has Adoption Touched Your Life?". It tells the parties involved in an Ontario adoption that they'll soon get access to personal information now locked away in adoption records.

Starting June 1, 2009 they will be able to view original birth certificates and adoption orders in order to identify adopted adults and birth parents whose names were formerly protected in sealed files. Adoptees will be able to find out their original names and the names of their birth parents. Birth parents could learn the name their child was given after adoption.

Some may not want their identity known, so starting Sept. 1, 2008 adoptees and birth parents who want to stay private can file a Disclosure Veto; they must do so before June 1, 2009. They can also file a No Contact Notice if they don't want to hear from a child placed for adoption or from birth parents.

There is an option for telling people you want to be found, which the Ontario government advertisement doesn't mention. You can encourage a meeting by sending in the Notice of Contact Preference form.

By submitting your contact information you would make it easier to arrange a meeting with an adult adoptee or birthparent. The person looking for you would get this form when applying for identifying information, thus letting them contact you right away instead of conducting a possibly lengthy search for you. You would specify how you would like to be contacted (say by telephone, e-mail, exchange of letters) and whether you would meet in person or through a third party.

You can change your mind: the Notice of Contact Preference will not be given to a person if you later submit a Disclosure Veto or a No Contact Notice.

For more, see the Family Helper article Ontario to open adoption records (May 22, 2008).

The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services has posted a video and FAQ. Here's a transcript of the video:

Are you an adopted person or a birth parent of an adopted person? If the adoption was finalized in Ontario, you need to know about:
-- Ontario's new open adoption records
-- Your new rights to information and privacy.

Starting in June 2009, adopted adults will be able to apply for copies of adoption orders and birth registrations. Birth parents will also be able to apply for information from these records.

But what if you are an adopted adult or a birth parent and you don't want your information released? What if you want your privacy and your identity protected?

You can apply to file a disclosure veto if the adoption was finalized before Sept. 1, 2008. This will prevent the release of any information that could identify you.

You can also file a no contact notice if you do not wish to hear from the child who was placed for adoption or your birth parents.

You can apply for a disclosure veto or a no contact notice through ServiceOntario. Here's how:

1. Go to Adoption Information Disclosure.

2. You can file a disclosure veto if the adoption was finalized before Sept. 1, 2008 and:
-- you were adopted, or
-- you are a birth parent of an adopted person.
Click on the one that applies to you. Read the information under "Disclosure Veto".

3. Download the Register a Disclosure Veto form. Fill in and send by registered mail or courier to Office of the Registrar General, Box 900, Thunder Bay ON P7B 0A5.

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"From Family Helper,"


Fertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree
Contact: Robin Hilborn,
Box 1353, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
©2009 Robin R. Hilborn
Updated Oct. 30, 2008

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