Browsing articles by " Administrator"

DNA match helps adoptee abandoned as baby

Aug 17, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   Blog  //  No Comments

DNA Match reunites adoptee abandoned at birth

 

I’m writing to share an amazing story on behalf of my Mother. Mom joined Parent Finders in the mid 1970’s, hoping to find any information that would lead to her birth family, or the 2 children that found her in 1931.
Abandoned at birth, or shortly after, she was discovered under a bush, in a lane in Regina, Saskatchewan on August 9,1931. She was found by 2 eleven year olds, Jean and Roy who heard her cries. Left across the street from the Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers, we had always thought that whoever left her there knew she’d be taken to the home to receive proper care from the nurses there.

 

A media search in the late 70’s led her to Jean and Roy, who were finally able to tell her more about the day she was found. She had a loving relationship with them both until their deaths. She was named Jean and my daughter and I are also namesakes. So vivid was the experience of finding her, that when my Mom met Roy in Regina in 1978, he was able to lead her to the exact spot in which she was found!

After so many years had passed, we had basically given up hope that her story may have a different ending…or perhaps, beginning would be a better term. When Mom turned 85 last August 2016, my daughter decided that she and the rest of the grandkids should purchase a DNA test kit from Ancestry.com, so that Mom could at least gain some insight into her heritage and ethnicity.

When the DNA results came back, we learned that there were 3 potential matches in the database for first or second cousins. Exciting indeed, but I don’t think any of us anticipated what would follow. When we emailed the potential matches, just to see if they had any family ties to the Saskatchewan area, particularly Regina in the 1930’s, all 3 revealed that they had! All emails led back to the same potential couple as parents, but the third email was the one that nailed it!

 

Sent from a granddaughter, she said that on her Great Grandmother’s deathbed, she revealed to her daughter that she had a sister that she didn’t know about…that she and her husband had left a baby on the steps of the Home for Unwed Mother’s before they were married.
When the daughter, Faye, went searching through adoption records in Regina, she actually found a brother that had been born at that home the year before, in 1930, and been given up for adoption.

Thinking her mother had been confused, and said sister, but meant brother, she ended her search, happy that she had found a brother. They reunited 8 years ago. So it seems, that Mom’s birthday gift ended up being a bigger gift then we had ever imagined. Although her biological parents are both deceased, she has assembled most of her puzzle.
She has one sister, and 2 brothers still living…2 deceased. Her parents gave her up, because they were unmarried, but went on to have 4 more children and remained together. There have been many pictures and phone calls, and a meeting is being planned this fall. There are similarities, left handedness that runs in the family, twins, a peg tooth. The family has been very welcoming and we are excited to meet them.

Thank you Parent Finders for the guidance you provided to my Mom as she began her search….another happy ending/beginning.
S. B.

How To Donate

Nov 7, 2013   //   by Administrator   //   Blog  //  No Comments

PLEASE PAY IT FORWARD – The advice and help you receive from Parent Finders is provided by experienced volunteers. We only charge a small registration fee which covers our operating costs such as internet and phone services, including long distance calls. If we have been able to help you find your missing family member, please make a donation to allow Parent Finders to continue to help you and others with their adoption search and reunion.

This service is administered by unpaid volunteers and these fees enable us to keep the office open and the files current in case of a match with your birth relative.

Remember you can always come back to Parent Finders for advice and assistance.

Parent Finders has always been supported totally by registrations and donations from people just like you.  We receive no government funding and we are all unpaid volunteers. We all hate to ask for money, but if we have helped you, a donation is gratefully accepted. The address below will always reach us.

You can send a cheque or money order to:

Parent Finders Ottawa
Please contact us at 613-730-8305 or E-mail us now at pfncr@yahoo.com for an updated mailing address.

If you would like more information  please contact us at:

Tel: (613) 730-8305 or  E-mail us now pfncr@yahoo.com

Parent Finders welcomes everyone. We encourage adult adoptees over 18, birth parents, fostered adults, birth siblings, birth relatives and adoptive parents to register with us.  Those under 18 can register with written permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Nov 22, 2022

Finding my Sister by Joy S. Searcher

Oct 28, 2013   //   by Administrator   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Finding My Sister:

Are Ontario Adoption Records Open?

By “Joy S. Searcher”

 

1950’s:

What a shock it was to find out recently that my mother and father had placed their firstborn child up for adoption when they were only 16 years old in the 1950’s. Not long ago my mother died of a severe and incurable cancer, and afterwards my father told my sister and me about the baby. We had only known that our parents had dated since age 14, married at age 19, had the two of us, and then separated after several years. Now, almost 60 years later, Dad told me in painful detail how they were made to place their first baby for adoption. They were shamed and humiliated by their relatives and officials at the Salvation Army Hospital and Children’s Aid Society.

 

Decision:

The three of us decided to try to locate our full sister/daughter. The outcome might be painful and difficult; more likely it would end up being joyous for us and for my birth sister who might be looking for her biological parents or family.

 

Procedure:

“Ontario’s adoption records are open”

“If you were adopted in Ontario — or if your child was placed for adoption — you can receive information from your birth and adoption records through ServiceOntario.”

All my father needed to do was apply for the child’s adopted name and adoption information, and then we would search for her.

 

Reality

My father’s applications for the Post Adoption Information were denied. “No birth registration showing you as a birth parent” they replied. This is when we learned that during the 1950s until early 1980s, unwed fathers’ names were not allowed on their children’s birth registrations. With their names excluded from the birth registrations back then, these fathers are not entitled to receive their child’s adopted name now – a Catch-22. My father had no way to receive his daughter’s adopted name.

 

CAS sent Dad his file, which included an Ontario Adoption Act document that he had signed at the time of birth, swearing to his paternity. But even with that, the Post Adoption Info department cannot release his child’s adopted name to him.

 

Other Procedures (Condensed Version):

— Custodian of Adoption Information – Dad and I both successfully applied to be placed on their Adoption Disclosure Register (which is a contact information exchange) but my birth sister was not registered.

— CAS – (Usually takes 2 years to receive this file, but is expedited for parents over age 70) As well as the paternity document, CAS also provided a file with non-identifying information such as the adopting parents’ general occupations, their ages, date of their marriage, city of residence, age of other children in their home, and date of placement. The file also included the name our mother gave to her first daughter, “Merry.” This was magical for us, even though we knew her name was probably changed later.

— Newspapers, City Archives, Internet, etc. Even without a definite name to search for, I still searched and placed notices, using what little information we had. Needle in a Haystack.

— Parent Finders – Next I joined Parent Finders, Very Helpful. With their input, Dad and I decided to visit his MPP to get assistance with this unfair situation.

— MPP – The MPP consulted the appropriate departments on our behalf and found that the legislation for unwed birth fathers of those earlier decades is not going to change in the near future, and that it will be a lengthy and complicated process if, or when, it is ever addressed. Even after two long years of applications, official documentation of his paternity, and political assistance, Dad was still not going to receive his child’s name. The MPP referred me back to the Custodian of Adoption Information.

Custodian of Adoption Info Severe Medical Search – I applied for this medical search so my birth sister would at least receive vital information about our mother’s severe illness and our family medical history. The government’s physicians approved my application, and the Adoption Info Advisor located Merry within a month! Merry was very thankful to receive the medical information from the Advisor because in the past the only thing she could write on her Family Medical History forms was “Not Applicable.”

 

Contact!

To our great joy, Merry was also very interested in contacting us. All within days she phoned me, we exchanged emails and photos, and the four of us even met in person! It’s difficult to describe how powerful a feeling it is to meet a person who is so closely related and who shares so much of our essence. We have much to share and enjoy our get-togethers immensely. Although her adopted family will continue to be her wonderful family forever, she is still elated to know people that look like her and who are her birth relatives.

 

Post Script – Are Ontario Adoption Records Open?

Not for everyone. In 2008 the Ontario government legislated that adopted children and their birth parents have a right to know each other’s names and adoption information. (Note: There are various veto options for people wishing no contact with birth relatives.) When they file an application form, their child’s or parent’s name and information will be sent to them within weeks. BUT fathers who were unwed at the time of birth, and their children, born up until the early 1980’s, are an exception. These children and fathers are still being denied their basic right to know each other’s names, because the fathers’ names were excluded from the birth registrations through no fault of their own. These fathers are denied even when they have proof of paternity. Unwed fathers of the 1990’s until present, and their children, do receive each other’s names. Fathers and children have the right to know, no matter in which decade the child was born. We will write the Attorney General about this unjust legislation. It needs to be amended.

 

October 28, 2013

What Adoptive Parents Should Know

Nov 7, 2012   //   by Administrator   //   Blog  //  3 Comments

What every Adoptive Parent should Know About Search and Reunion

For most adoptees, search is experienced as an expansion of a sense of self and not as a rejection of the adoptive family.

The first rule of search and reunion is that search is not about dissatisfaction with the adoptive family. The need to know about oneself and one’s roots is primal. In order to have a niche in the world we need to know, first of all who we are. And if we are shadowed by an unknown background, by an unseen set of truths that we know little if anything about, then we may not develop to our fullest potential. If the adoptive family understands the importance of search for an adoptee’s sense of self, they will not fall victim to the myth that the adoptee is substituting one family for another. In most cases, adoptees draw closer to the family that raised them and with whom they have had many years of shared experience and love.

Adoptive parents should support but not direct a search.

There is always a huge temptation for adoptive parents to move from showing support to taking control of a search. Searching can be exciting and will certainly bring out the detective in all of us, but the fact remains that this is the adoptee’s search and must follow the adoptee’s pace. Adoptive parents may assist by providing information such as the Adoption Order, the social history of the birth family, papers from the agency, and communications from social workers, lawyers and doctors involved in the placement. Adult adoptees are able to obtain identifying information from ministry/public agencies. In addition to gathering facts, adoptive parents are encouraged to support the adoptee through the emotional highs and lows of this process. We also strongly recommend the use of search and reunion support groups whose leaders are well versed in the dynamics of this process. Their skills and experience are invaluable.

Adoptive parents withholding information from an adoptee is not a sign of love and protection. It is a sign of disrespect, indicating the adoptive parents’ lack of trust that the adoptee can make adult decisions.  Openness is the foundation of a secure and loving relationship.

 There are too many examples of adoptees that learn late in life that they were adopted. Perhaps their parents withheld the truth out of kindness, perhaps out of fear of rejection, perhaps out of fear of public scrutiny. Whatever the reason, this is a very difficult thing for an adult adoptee to discover and to come to terms with. Sometimes they find out at the death of their parents and are completely devastated believing that their whole life has been a lie. All their medical history is incorrect; all their family history has been fabricated. They truly feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under them. In the end, openness trumps secrecy every time, no matter what the adoption story.

 Speaking ill of the birth family does not discourage adoptees from searching. In fact, the more an adoptive parent disparages the character or actions of the birth parent, the more adoptees desire to make contact with birth parents.

Some adoptive parents are prone to speak of the birth family in negative tones hoping perhaps to bring the adoptee closer to the adoptive family. However, the message heard by adoptees is: “The source of your DNA is bad and, thus, so is you.” If adoptive parents wish to keep their children close, respectful conversation about origins is a necessity.

In search and reunion, “no” often means “not yet” or “I can’t tell you”.

The dynamics of search and reunion are very complex. Sometimes adoptees publicly reject a search for fear of hurting their parents. For some, this means searching out of the sight of the adoptive parents. For others, it means delaying the search, even though the adoptee may have a pressing need to discover more about origins. In neither case does this serve the best interests of either the adoptee or adoptive parents. To delay search or to engage in a clandestine search denies the adoptee the opportunity to receive the emotional support from adoptive parents that will help to mediate the stress of coming to terms with his or her own history. Search is a normal developmental part of the process of adoption. Adoptive parents abrogate their responsibilities as parents if they are not available to assist their adult adopted children in this task.

Immediately following reunion, adoptees may become emotionally over-involved with the birth family to the exclusion of the adoptive family.  They may quickly retreat to the adoptive family for support and reassurance. They may have major changes in mood, particularly depression or anger which may be directed to anyone in the inner rings of the constellation. In response to these possibilities, adoptive parents can play many important roles.

This is where the adoptive family can really be helpful and supportive, not by being directive or analytical, but by being comforting and present. Sometimes the adoptee just needs time to assimilate new information or deal with a birth family far different than the one they fantasized about. There can be huge feelings of being let down. Alternatively, they may wish to spend every waking moment with the new found relatives. If adoptive parents recognize these responses as an attempt to normalize what is so unique, and can be emotionally available for their children, they will do much to cement their relationship together.

If adoptees so wish, adoptive parents may join adoptees in reconnecting with the birth family.  Successful integration of the two families requires stepping carefully through several minefields.

Adoptive and birth families may differ in social class, ethnic and life experiences, resulting in awkwardness in reading social cues. In some cases, adoptive and birth mothers make a quick and strong connection, leaving the adoptee to the side as the two mothers pursue their relationship. In the end, successful integration of the two families requires that each family recognize that search and reunion is about the adoptee feeling connected to the two families. Cognizance of this will help lead all to find a way to live together at an agreed upon pace.

All parties to the adoption must face and respond to loss across time. For birth parents, there is loss of the child they did not get to raise. For adoptive parents, there is the loss of the child that they never had. For adoptees, there is the loss of the self they might have been if circumstances had been different. Without search and reunion, adoptees also lose a full historical, medical and genetic history that links them to their origins.

All participants in an adoption must face issues of loss which are accompanied by disenfranchised grief, the grief that is neither socially recognized nor whose amelioration is socially supported. For reunion and reconnection to work there must be mutual recognition of such losses and attempts by all to support each other during the grieving process. At this pivotal point of transition in the two families, competition over who has experienced the greatest loss will not serve anyone well. However, expressions of empathy will go a long way to achieving improved relationships.

A vast majority of adoptees, adoptive parents and birth parents rate search and reconnection as successful.

One of the most common questions asked of search and reunion specialists is “How many reunions are successful?” And the answer is “All of them”. That is, they are all successful because the initial effort was to find and contact the missing family of origin. Whether the reunion develops into a warm, positive relationship that grows over time is another question and depends on many things. It depends on the willingness of the participants to work at it. It depends on their patience, their willingness to accept differences and change and on their willingness to expand their horizons. How could adoptive parents, with the best interests of their child at heart, not wish for such potential riches?

 These notes were compiled from conversations with adult adoptees and birth parents who gave their personal opinions and heartfelt feelings about what they wished the adoptive parents knew about searches.  We offer this in the spirit of openness and honesty in adoption.

May 8, 2012

Photo of the day

30th Anniversary
30th Anniversary