Adopted children often want to learn more about or find their biological parents. Also, many people who have given a child up for adoption would like to reunite with the child. Can this be done?
In this article, Éducaloi answers the most common questions about reunions between children given up for adoption and their biological parents. It explains the rules of confidentiality, how to find your biological parents or a child you gave up for adoption, and the support available during a reunion.
Are adoption files always confidential?
The general rule is that adoption files are confidential. However, an exception is made if both the adopted child and biological parent are looking for each other. The law makes other exceptions as well, for example, to prevent a marriage between blood relatives, or for study and research purposes as long as the people concerned remain anonymous.
How can I get information about my biological parents?
You can find out about your "social and biological origins" (information about your birth") from the Centre jeunesse (youth centre) of the region where you were adopted by filling out a form and providing any information you already have. This will make it easier to locate your file and identify you. For example, you can provide your name at birth, your date and place of birth, the date of your adoption, the names of your adoptive parents, etc.
What information can I get about my biological parents?
You can get a "summary of antecedents," which is a summary of the information in your medical file from the day you were born to the day you were adopted, as well as any other information that is available on your biological parents. However, you will not be told anything about their identity or location unless they have already consented to this.
How can I find my biological parents?
If you are under 14, you can try to find them as long as your adoptive parents agree and your biological parents gave their consent.
Reuniting with your biological parents involves three steps.
First, you must fill out an application for a search and reunion at the Centre jeunesse of the region where you were adopted. You can do this when you ask for your social and biological origins or after you receive your “summary of antecedents.” The Centre Jeunesse will then try to locate your biological parents using the information in its adoption files and by contacting the Régie de l’assurance-maladie (health insurance board) to obtain their most recent address.
Next, the Centre Jeunesse will contact your biological parents to let them know you want a reunion. It’s entirely up to them whether or not to meet you. The Centre Jeunesse will only tell you who they are and give you their contact information if your biological parents gave their consent.
The third and final step is meeting your biological parents, if they agree. The Centre might suggest that a worker from the Centre attend the meeting. In many regions, you can ask to be accompanied by a volunteer from Mouvement Retrouvailles, an organization that helps people affected by adoption.
Mouvement Retrouvailles provides support at each of these steps. To find a location near you, call their head office at 1-888-646-1060 or visit their website.
How and when can I look for a child I gave up for adoption?
If a biological parent asks for information about a child she gave up for adoption, the child will not be told if he is still a minor. You must therefore wait until the child is 18 years old.
If the child is 18 years or older, you can apply for a search at the Centre jeunesse of the region where the adoption took place. The Centre will proceed in the same way as for an adopted person looking for his biological parents. If the Centre locates your child, it will contact him, and he will decide whether or not the Centre should give you his contact information.
I need medical information about my biological parents. Do I have to get their consent?
Yes, unless your health or the health of a close relative (such as your child) is at risk because you don’t have the information. You must apply to the Youth Division of the Court of Québec and explain your situation.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.