Adopted at 6 days old, Quebec woman hopeful new law will help her find birth mother

After years of delays, the Couillard government is expected to pass legislation as early as today to lift the "total secrecy" over the adoption process. Judy Millidge is among those anxious to see it become law.

New legislation intended to end 'total secrecy' to adoption history in province

Judy Millidge (left), who is searching for her biological mother, and Lise Émond, an advocate for adoptees, are waiting for the Couillard government to pass a new law that will make it easier for adoptees to find their birth parents. (Benjamin Shingler/CBC)

As a child, Judy Millidge remembers seeing a woman on the bus who had a nose like hers and wondering, could that be her birth mother?

Millidge doesn't remember her — she was adopted at six days old — and while she's content in her life and now has a family of her own, she still wonders.

"It's always in the back of your mind," Millidge, now 54, said in an interview on CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Millidge is among those anxiously awaiting the passing of provincial legislation that would make it easier for adoptees to find their birth parents.

After years of lobbying, the Couillard government is expected to pass the changes as early as today to lift the "total secrecy" over the adoption process and allow people who were adopted and their birth parents greater access to information.

'Modernizing' the rules

Last October, when Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée introduced the legislation, she said the changes were meant to "modernize" and bring greater openness to Quebec's adoption rules.

Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée introduced the legislation last October. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

The changes will allow an adopted child to learn the identity of his or her biological parents, unless they veto the request within 18 months.

Lise Émond, who was also adopted and now works with the organization Mouvement Retrouvailles, said she hears stories like Millidge's every day.

Her organization has been pressing for changes for 25 years. As it stands, adoption files from the 1940s, 50s and 60s are confidential, she said.

"They don't divulge that information," she said.

Years-long struggle

Millidge, who was born on Nov. 28, 1962, with the birth name Robin, has tried repeatedly to get information about her birth mother.

She once got into a heated exchange with a social services official who had her file and told her it was "locked."

"It's a stranger and she holds basically your life in your hands," she said.

"I have a right to know where I come from, my children have a right to know where I come from."

She's not sure how she would react if she eventually meets her birth mother.

"Am I looking for a relationship with the person? I can't even answer that," said Millidge, a resident of Vaudreuil, Que.

"I'm looking for answers. The biggest thing is, I'd like to be able to sit with her and find out why. And also tell her I'm good, and I've had a good life."