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Butterbox Survivors:

Life After the Ideal Maternity Home:

Since the 1992 publication of Butterbox Babies, the Ideal Maternity Home in Chester, Nova Scotia, has become synonymous with illegal adoptions and suspicious baby deaths. Much attention has been given to the neglect of infants at the Home, the exorbitant fees paid by adoptive parents, and the secretive nature of the transactions. But what became of the children who were adopted? What effect did their shaky beginnings have on their later lives? Were they loved and cherished, or mistreated and ignored? Did they feel like "family"? Did they always wonder who they were? In this comprehensive book, author and Survivor Robert Hartlen has compiled the personal stories of thirty six of the adult adoptees who survived the Ideal Maternity Home. Here we share in their most private memories and experiences; the painful struggles to come to terms with being adopted, the epic searches to find birth families, and the heartening sense of a surrogate family many adoptees found in fellow Survivors. Also included are stories of some of the birth mothers who gave up their children, and of some of the adopted mothers who claimed the babies as their own. Underlying all the stories is the terrifying realization that except for an act of fate, or of grace, these Survivors might have shared an unmarked grave with their innocent fellow infants known and remembered as the "Butterbox Babies." At once uplifting and disquieting, these stories not only force us to confront a painful chapter in Nova Scotia's history, but also challenge us to reconsider the whole notion of "family."
Published by Nimbus Publishing

This is an uplifting story of human triumph; it is about overcoming adversity and discovering the truth about your life.   More ..

Finding your birth parents

Webpage reviewed 18APR07

We need volunteers from all parts of the adoption issues community to provide us with their knowledge.

You may be an adoptee, social worker, parent, foster parent etc etc.

If you want to volunteer, please email us.


Thanks to the volunteers from the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers Link opens in a new window  for the following links:

Alberta

Alberta has opened their adoption records effective November 1, 2004. click here to read more

Searching in Alberta Link opens in a new window

Alberta Adoptees Search and Reunion Registry Link opens in a new window

British Columbia

Open Adoption Records since November 4, 1996

Searching in British Columbia Link opens in a new window

Open Adoption Record Statistics Link opens in a new window

Manitoba

Passive Registry and Active Search Registry

Post Adoption Registry Link opens in a new window

LINKS Post-Legal Adoption Support Group Link opens in a new window

Southern Manitoba First Nations Repatriation ProgramLink opens in a new window

New Brunswick

Child, Youth and Families - Adoption Disclosure Search Link opens in a new window

Newfoundland and Labrador

Records are now open for natural parents and adopted adults. However, disclosure and contact vetoes apply. For provincial laws, regulations and search information: click here Link opens in a new window

Northwest Territories & Nunavut

Passive Registry and Active Search for persons adopted, natural parents and adoptive parents (link not working 17APR07)

Nunavut government website Link opens in a new window

Adoption Legislation Link opens in a new window

Nova Scotia

Passive Registry and Active Search Link opens in a new window

Adoption Information Act Link opens in a new window


Ontario

( November 23, 2006 )

For more information about Ontario's adoption information disclosure system, please contact the Adoption Disclosure Unit at:

The Adoption Disclosure Unit Link opens in a new window
Ministry of Community and Social Services
2 Bloor Street West, 24th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1E9

Tel: (416) 327-4730
Fax: (416) 326-6867

Email: adoption.disclosure@css.gov.on.ca

Please note: To ensure confidentiality, the Adoption Disclosure Unit responds to most e-mail inquiries by regular mail. Please include your mailing address and postal code if inquiring by e-mail. If you prefer being contacted personally, please include your daytime telephone number, including area code.

The information below was taken from the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services ( November 23, 2006) To view it directly click here Link opens in a new window

About Ontario's New Adoption Information Disclosure System

What is the Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005?

The new legislation will allow more open access to adoption records for adult adoptees and birth parents, while balancing the right of an individual who does not wish to be contacted.

The new adoption information laws will give Ontario adoptees what the rest of us take for granted the right to know their personal identity and history.

When fully implemented, the legislation will allow:

  • an adopted person who is 18 years old or older to obtain a copy of his or her original birth record and adoption order. The adoptee would be able to learn his or her original name at birth. These documents may also provide identifying information about birth parents.

  • a birth parent to obtain the information contained in the birth registration and the adoption order of the child they gave up for adoption, once that child reaches 19 years of age. These documents may provide identifying information about the adoptee, including his or her name after adoption. Any information about the adoptive parents would be removed.

  • a birth parent or adoptee who does not wish to be contacted to put a "no contact" notice on his or her record. The individual who registers the "no contact" notice would be asked to voluntarily provide family and medical history and a brief statement about his or her reasons for filing a "no contact" notice.

  • sanctions for violation of a "no contact" notice up to $50,000 for an individual or up to $250,000 for a corporation.

  • birth parents and adoptees to apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board to prevent disclosure of identifying information where there are concerns for personal safety.

Who is affected by this legislation?

The legislation has a direct impact on adult adoptees and birth parents of adult adoptees. Once the legislation is fully proclaimed in force, adult adoptees and birth parents, with certain exceptions may be able to find out who their birth parents/children are through identifying information from original birth registrations and adoption orders held by the Office of the Registrar General.

When will the new legislation be implemented?

Implementation of the legislation has begun. We expect that the new system will be fully implemented in September 2007.

We will be using this transition time to put the proper processes and procedures in place to file "no contact" notices and to process requests for information. It will also provide some time for adoptees and birth parents to learn about their new information and privacy rights.

When the legislation is fully implemented, will the changes affect all adoptions that have occurred in Ontario?

Yes, the changes will be applied retroactively. This means that the changes will affect all adult adoptees and their birth parents where the adoption order was registered in Ontario.

What changes have already occurred?

Before January 3, 2006, adult adoptees and birth relatives could apply to the Adoption Disclosure Unit of the Ministry of Community and Social Services to conduct a search for a birth parent, birth grandparent or birth sibling if their application didnt result in an automatic match on the register.

Since January 3, 2006, the Ministry, is only accepting and processing new search applications for severe medical reasons (e.g. information needed for an organ transplant).

As of April 24, 2006, the Ministry, is no longer accepting new applications. This is being done to stabilize the number of records that need to be transferred to the new disclosure process. All applications received before April 24, 2006 will be processed, and if a match is found on the register, the parties involved will be notified.

I have already applied for a search. Will the ministry continue to process my application?

If the ministry received your application for a search before January 3, 2006, it will be processed. Although every effort will be made to complete all searches during the transition to the new adoption information disclosure system, we cant guarantee that all searches will be completed. Some searches can take years to complete.

All search applications received before January 3, 2006 will be processed with priority given to severe medical searches. Once the Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005 is fully implemented, all non-medical searches will be discontinued.

Who can request a search for severe medical reasons and for whom?

People who are eligible to request searches are:

  • adult adoptees;

  • adoptees under the age of 18 who have the consent of an adoptive parent
    birth parents;

  • adoptive parents on behalf of a minor adoptees;
    adult birth siblings;
    birth grandparents;
    those who have legal custody of minor adoptees or birth siblings; and individuals authorized to act on behalf of incapacitated individuals. (Incapacitated persons may include adult adoptees, birth parents, birth grandparents, and birth siblings.)

The following people may be sought under a severe medical search:

  • adult adoptees;

  • birth parents;

  • adoptive parents of minor adoptees;

  • birth siblings;

  • birth grandparents; and

  • people who have legal custody of minor adoptees or birth siblings.

When I gave up my child for adoption, I thought my anonymity would be protected. What if I dont want to be contacted?

The Adoption Information Disclosure Act, 2005 is based on the premise that adoptees should have the same access to their medical and personal history that non-adopted people have.

At the same time, the legislation recognizes that the right to know is not the same as the right to a relationship. People will have the right to place a no contact notice on their file and there will be significant penalties for those who do not respect these notices.

In other jurisdictions, such as British Columbia and Newfoundland, these sanctions have been effective. There are no records of individuals breaching a no contact notice anywhere in Canada.

During the interim period leading up to the full implementation of the new adoption information disclosure system, birth parents and adoptees may apply to the
Child and Family Services Review BoardLink opens in a new window (416-327-4673 ) to prevent disclosure of identifying information in order to prevent sexual or significant emotional or physical harm.

I am a birth parent/adoptee and am concerned about my personal safety if my identifying information is released. How do I apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board to prevent disclosure of identifying information?

There will be an interim period before adoptees can apply to have access to the birth registrations and before birth parents can apply to have access to information from birth registrations and adoption orders.

Before this period lapses, the province will provide information about how to apply to the
Child and Family Services Review Board Link opens in a new window (416-327-4673 ) to prevent disclosure of your identifying information. This information will be available publicly well before the new system is fully implemented."


Prince Edward Island

Passive Registry for persons adopted and natural parents ( link not working 17APR07)

Active Search Registry Link opens in a new window  for persons adopted searching for natural parents ( link not working 17APR07)

Our Darlings' Registry Link opens in a new window   (based in P.E.I) - Pearl Gillies, a CCNM member and Provincial Representative (P.E.I.)

Quebec

Searching in Quebec Link opens in a new window

Saskatchewan

Passive Registry and Active Search Link opens in a new window

Yukon

Assistance for adult persons who were adopted adopted and natural parents seeking disclosure, reunion information or counselling. See the Parentfinders website Link opens in a new window


Canadian Press

Adoption bill passed to cheers, tears

Received support across party lines
Critics want veto clause for privacy

Canadian Press,  by Gillian Livingston,  Nov. 2, 2005

Supporters sobbed, cheered and embraced one another yesterday as the Ontario government finally passed controversial legislation to unseal the province's adoption records after what proponents of the bill consider 80 years of secrecy and shame.

New Democrat member Marilyn Churley, a birth mother and long-time champion of changes to Ontario's adoption laws, bowed her head and wiped away a tear as the votes were counted, aware that her 10-year battle for change was at an end. More ..


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