A search for identity

Ike Atakulu fills out forms to request information about his birth parents.

Friday, March 20, 2015 – Today was the first day children adopted in Ohio between 1964 and September 1996 could request records of their birth parents.

Ike Atakulu was ready, at 9 a.m. today he was in Carrie Fiasco’s office at Hamilton County Job and Family Services ready to make his request. Fiasco is an adoption manager. Ike and his sister were adopted in 1977. He believes his mother is deceased. He doesn’t know much more than that.

“A person always wants to know who he is,” Atakulu said. Until today he and about 400,000 other Ohio adoptees could not access records without a judge’s order, due to a loophole in adoption records laws.  “That’s not fair to me,” Atakulu said.

In 2013, Senate Bill 23 was passed, allowing access to those records, after birth parents were given a one-year window to request their personal information be kept private. The wait ended today.

From what he’s been told, Ike’s mother could not care for him and his sister and his grandmother became his caregiver. When she fell ill, they went into foster care and were later adopted.

For Ike, this search is about identity and finding his people. “I don’t know no names, I don’t know nothing,” he said.

That information would give him some medical background and history, but more than that, it would give him a connection to his history.

“I don’t know who I am or who my family is. Who I look like, who looks like me,” he said.

Find out more about the new adoption records law at ODH.Ohio.Gov

by J.D. Bruewer

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