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Quebec law makes it easier for adopted children to find their birth parents


Quebec is introducing changes to make it easier for adopted children to find their birth parents.

Starting this weekend, any adult adopted in this province will have access to the names of their biological parents even if the parents want to conceal their identities.

It's a significant change that one group called Mouvement Retrouvailles has long lobbied for.

Lise Emond, the group's Montreal representative, gave an update to CTV News on her own personal journey. The 75-year-old said in an interview that she just found out who her biological father was this year.

Her father died in 1984 so she never got to meet him. But she's still grateful that she finally learned his identity this year, and confirmed their relationship through DNA testing, which is something she urges others to do.

She's been able to connect with family members on her father's side because of that information.

There could be many more stories like this one, with the legislative change coming to Quebec in a few days. It's been a long process with changes gradually introduced by different governments over the years.

In 2018, the Liberals adopted Bill 113, which meant adopted children could access their files, find out the identity of their birth parents and try to contact them unless the birth parents had previously indicated they didn't want to be contacted.

What this latest change means is that birth parents no longer have that option for a veto. By law, their identity cannot remain a secret.

Emond believes this will be "liberating" for people who were adopted and will make a huge difference in their lives as they search for answers.

"I think it's a big opening and I think for the adoptees, it's a big thing because we're given part of our lives back that we never had before," she said.

"We didn't have the pleasure of having the name of our mother … For me, I went over 30 years, 40 years knowing my mother was 23 years old when she had me but I had no name, not even where she came from. In those days, they didn't even tell us what city she was from, which, now we're going to know. If she's deceased and we want to [visit] her grave, we can go to her grave and those are things that we did not have before."

Emond says there are many mothers of a certain generation who had children out of wedlock, which was frowned upon by the church so they were forced to give them up. There was a lot of shame and secrecy attached to the whole experience.

Even though the identity of the biological parents will no longer be able to be kept a secret, reunions cannot be forced.

In fact, if a child tries to contact a birth parent against the parents' wishes, the child risks facing heavy fines under the Civil Code.

The changes come into effect June 8. Top Stories

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