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  • Chantal Tougas, D.Psy.

Adoptees in Québec now have the right to know their origins

Since June 8, 2024, adopted persons in Quebec have access to the identity of their birth parents, a change that has been long-awaited by many adoptees. This was made possible by the Act respecting family law reform with regard to filiation, which amends the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms in Québec regarding the rights to know ones origins. Adoptees can now have access to their original act of birth, judgments concerning their adoption, and the names of their birth parents, grandparents and siblings of origin.


It is expected that thousands of people will file requests through the CISSS to get this information and perhaps request contact with their families of origin, which could mean administrative delays to get this information.


It is important not to minimize the emotional aspect of such a process of obtaining sociobiological information on your identity and of possibly reuniting with your family of origin. Indeed, adoptees who have taken these steps experience a roller coaster of emotions, including joy, sadness, regret, jealousy, and anger. Adoptees may feel joy to finally be able to know their origin story and retrieve this important piece of their identity that was lacking for so long, but also sadness upon learning that their birth parents had a happy family after entrusting them for adoption, regret or frustration of not having been able to know siblings or extended family members or of learning that no one was ever informed of the adoptees very existence, gratitude toward their birth parents for giving them the chance to have a better life than they thought they could offer them at the time of their birth, and disappointment and sadness in the event that their birth parents are deceased or refuse contact with them in cases where a reunion was desired.


It can be important for an adoptee to be accompanied in this process of obtaining information on their origins and seeking a reunion with their birth family to allow them to explore the full spectrum of emotions that can surface at each step of this process. And given the large number of requests that are being submitted to the CISSS adoption, research into family and medical background and reunion services across the province since this change to the Civil Code has come into effect, there may be frustration with having to keep waiting to obtain the information adoptees have longed to have.


And what about the birth parents whose identities are no longer protected by confidentiality? This situation can certainly be a source of concern and anxiety for some. They may have hidden this pregnancy their entire life and now fear that their secrets will be revealed to their current family. They may relive shame, regret, fear or sadness by reopening this chapter of their lives. On the other hand, they may hope for news about the child they gave up for adoption and wish to be reunited with them, and may be stressed waiting to know if they will be contacted or experience disappointment if they are not.


If you are in this situation, as an adopted child or a parent of origin and feel a need to talk about it, do not hesitate to contact me to make an appointment.


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