Alberta - Open Adoption Records

November 1, 2004

Canadian Council
of Natural Mothers


This means:

  • people adopted and natural parents will be able to obtain identifying information about each other through the Post Adoption Registry [PAR]
  • to apply for identifying information, forms are at Post Adoption Registry, click on "How to Apply" or click on "Reunions" then "Registrations for Reunion"
  • people adopted are entitled to their name given at birth which includes their original surname

Identifying information is ONLY available to the immediate parties involved; people adopted and natural parents. The information is NOT made public or available to anyone else.

  • PAR will provide identifying information without charge to people adopted and natural parents.
  • search agents/agencies will no longer be licensed by the government to search
  • siblings and grandparents of people adopted and children of people adopted are not included in open access to identifying information. They can register on the Passive Registry [Voluntary Registry]
  • PAR will continue to match people on the Passive Registry and provide some counselling services.
  • the search and reunion process in place at this time in Alberta will continue until November 1, 2004.

Please check the Post Adoption Registry for current and upcoming search and reunion information.

Please be aware there is an information veto that can be registered by either a person adopted or natural parents.

  • An information veto stops the person searching, adopted or natural parent, from accessing identifying information on the person they are searching for. Before filing an information veto, think carefully about the consequences for the person you are denying identifying information.
  • The person adopted is being denied the right to know their origins and ancestral history. This information is integral to knowing one's complete identity. No other person in our society, except people adopted, can be denied the right to know their biological origins.
  • Natural parents are being denied the right to know the well-being of the son or daughter they lost to adoption. Adoption is promoted as a "loving choice" to provide a child with a "better life", although this is not always the case. Some mothers chose adoption so their son or daughter would have a "better life" and many, many mothers had little or no viable choice other than adoption made available to them. These mothers, having committed no crime, have been excluded from knowing the well-being of their son or daughter for decades.
  • Be aware of the sensitive, emotional and often over-whelming issues that surround adoption and the consequences of decades of closed adoption records for people adopted and natural parents. Obtaining identifying information helps puts you in control of the future for yourself and your family members.
    • It allows people adopted to connect with their origins and helps facilitate their whole identities
    • It will help many mothers to heal and to process their trauma, grief, and loss created by adoption and closed records

     

A DISCLOSURE VETO CAN BE FILED BY AN ADOPTIVE PARENT

Bill 21 Section 74.2 (9) (see below) Allows an adoptive parent to file a disclosure veto on behalf of their ADULT adopted son or daughter if,

(a) the person adopted is unaware, according to the adoptive parents, he or she is adopted
(b) if the adoptive parents and the minister decide, knowing the personal information from his or her adoption file will be extremely detrimental to the ADULT person adopted.

Circumstances of conception, such as rape and incest were cited as reasons. Both are criminal offenses committed against a woman, in this case the natural mother. Why should the mother be punished for a crime committed against her by being denied knowing the well-being of her son or daughter surrendered to adoption? What proof will be provided that the person adopted does not know they are adopted? The only person who can truthfully answer that question is the person adopted. What reason is there to deny an ADULT person adopted their legal right to access their own personal information? What right do others have to decide if an ADULT should know the circumstances of their conception?

Adoption Disclosure section from Bill 21 [was Bill 24] from the Legislative Assembly webpage.

74.2(1) In this section,

(a) "adopted person" means a person who is adopted under an adoption order made prior to January 1, 2005;
(b) "parent" means a biological parent and an adoptive parent under a previous adoption order.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), on receiving a written request from an adopted person who is 18 years of age or older, a descendant of a deceased adopted person or a parent of an adopted person, the Minister may release to the person making the request the information in the orders, certificates and documents sealed under section 74.1(2) other than personal information about an individual who is neither the adopted person nor a parent of the adopted person.

(3) The Minister shall not accept a request under subsection (2) from a parent of an adopted person unless the adopted person is 18 years and 6 months of age or older.

(4) Despite subsection (2), if an adopted person who is 18 years of age or older or a parent of the adopted person has, prior to the date of the request under subsection (2), registered with the Minister a veto in a form satisfactory to the Minister prohibiting the release of personal information in the orders, certificates and documents sealed under section 74.1(2), the Minister shall not release the personal information unless the veto is revoked.

(5) A person who registers a veto under subsection (4) may revoke the veto by providing written notice of the revocation to the Minister.

(6) A veto registered under subsection (4) is revoked when the person who registered the veto is deceased.

(7) Despite subsections (2) and (4), the Minister may disclose to
(a) an adopted person who is 18 years of age or older,
(b) a descendant of a deceased adopted person, and
(c) an adopted child who is 16 years of age or older who is, in the opinion of the Minister, living independently from the child's guardian,
the birth surname of the adopted person if the adoption order relating to that person did not disclose it.

(8) Despite subsection (2), if the Minister receives proof, satisfactory to the Minister, that all the parents of an adopted person are deceased, the Minister may release to the adopted person or a descendant of the adopted person all the personal information in the orders, certificates and documents sealed under section
74.1(2), including personal information about individuals who are neither the adopted person nor a parent.

(9) Despite subsection (2), if the Minister is satisfied, based on information provided to the Minister by the adoptive parents, that
(a) the adopted person who is 18 years of age or older is not aware of the adoption, and
(b) the release of the personal information would be extremely detrimental to the adopted person,
the Minister may deem that a veto has been registered under subsection (4) by that adopted person, in which case the Minister shall not release the personal information in the orders, certificates and documents sealed under section 74.1(2).

(10) A deemed veto under subsection (9) is revoked on the request of an adopted person who is 18 years of age or older.


© The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers