SEARCH AND REUNION
The decision to search is not an easy one for many adopted adults and their parents by birth. “What if they don’t want to know me?” “What if I don’t like what I find?” adoptees wonder. Birth parents may ask themselves, “What if he doesn’t know he/she was adopted?” or “Do I have the right to interfere in his/her life?” These are all natural questions. After all, in an adoption search we are seeking answers about ourselves, our heritage, or our children. None of this is to be entered into lightly. What we find may change our lives forever. Most people do find answers to some of their questions and these answers may bring them a sense of peace.
Preparing to Search
Before embarking on an adoption search, the ACC suggests that you educate yourself about the process and the emotions you may (unexpectedly) encounter. We would suggest you seek the support from a therapist or counsellor who has experience with search and reunion. This professional support as well as the support from other persons who have searched may prove invaluable to you. Nothing can replace the support and advice that adopted adults and birth parents can share with you. No one else really understands what it is like to be missing vital information about yourself or to have surrendered a child to adoption. There support groups located all across the country. There are also online support groups whose members can provide invaluable advice and support.
How to Search
This section outlines the provincial laws regulating adoption disclosure. Each province in Canada has a different set of laws that regulate how adopted adults and their birth parents may reconnect. Adoption disclosure laws differ by province/territory across Canada. To find the laws that govern the province in which you were adopted / surrendered a child to adoption, please click on the links below.
For help understanding your provincial adoption law, contact the ACC office or a local support group. Local groups can also provide you with tips on how to conduct a discrete and respectful adoption search and with contact information for experienced adoption searchers in your area.
Often reunion brings with it unexpected emotions. Adoptees mourn the family and identity they lost. Birth parents who surrendered a child to adoption often revisit the feelings of loss they experienced at the time of the adoption. All of this can be very challenging to deal with emotionally. Local support groups are filled with people who have experienced adoption reunion and are happy to help you work through what you are feeling. They can also direct you to an adoption competent therapist in your area.
Reading books about adoption reunion and the effects of adoption on adoptees and their parents by birth may also be helpful.
Canadian Children's Rights Council - Finding your birth parents- ADOPTION RECORDS
Parent Finders Canada
Adoption Support Kinship
Origins Canada Tips for a Successful Reunion
Facebook Free Canada Adoption Family Search and Reunion
International Soundex Reunion Registry
Adoption Book List: Search and Reunion