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Published Tuesday October 6th, 2009 at 1:31am

Original Article by Diana Lynn Tibert

From a genealogical perspective, I'm very fortunate.

I canresearch for years, uncovering one relative after another. Frompersonal experience and photographs, I can see that I have my father'scrooked upper lip, my mother's thick dark hair, the same eyes as mycousin.

The DNA within my cells connects me with all myancestors. I know many of their names and from where they came. But noteveryone is as fortunate.

Some don't give two hoots aboutgenealogy and the ability to trace a family line back through thecenturies. Others, like myself, thrive on it. Knowing this, I'm notsure how I'd feel about genealogy if I were adopted.

I discussedthis topic with a woman in a waiting room not long ago. She had beenadopted and was struggling to learn more about her birth parents. Shewas interested in genealogy, but felt as though she wasn't researchingher roots but those of her adopted family. She wanted -- no, she needed-- to know who her birth parents were because she had been diagnosedwith a serious illness. Knowing the medical history of her biologicalfamily could provide clues to her own condition.

Adoption is notan easy word for some to say; it's an even harder subject to discuss.Personally, I believe words such as shame and secrecy should never beassociated with adoption. Understanding and acceptance are moreappropriate. There are emotional challenges where adoption isconcerned, but I believe there are many benefits for all sides.

Foryears, adoption records have been sealed, giving individuals no hope ofreunions. That is changing. Both children and mothers are raising theirvoices and fighting for their rights to know.

Laws keepingrecords sealed indefinitely are slowly being rewritten. Since eachprovince governs its own legislation concerning adoption, accessibilityis varied across Canada. Researchers must adhere to the laws in theprovince in which they were adopted.

People wishing to locatebirth parents or children given up for adoption now have the power ofthe Internet. Regardless if individuals live in the province of theirbirth or not, information is just a few key strokes away. Websites suchas Origins Canada, Supporting Those Separated by Adoption have changed the way people search forfamily members. Origins Canada's Adoption Records page containsinformation for each province, whose records are open and those whichremain closed.

Many websites have been established to helpchildren find their birth families and vice versa. One website is theCanadian Adoptees Registry Inc.. Currently, they have 15,031individuals in their database searching for family. In total, theyhelped create 8,591 reunions, of which 609 took place last year.Visitors can search the database containing births from 1921 to 1991.The adopted individual must be 19 years or older before being listed onthe website.

To learn more about adoption and to keep up to datewith changing laws, visit the Adoption Council of Canada website.