An unforgettable fortnight in Canada!!


Pipa in Canada Wow, I’m back and I feel like I've been living in a movie for the last couple of weeks as we have had the most incredible trip out to Canada!!
A few weeks ago, my husband found out who his birth mother is. In Ontario in Canada, the law for adopted children has always been that you can’t find your birth parents, they have to find you. But this law changed on June 1st this year and my husband was allowed to apply for information of his birth parentage. On September 30th, he received a letter telling him the name of his birth mother (no father's name… yet!!).
So we immediately embarked upon this search for her and thanks to the internet, found a few family trees totaling about 30,000 entries of families and names related to his birth surname (amazing and true!). We discovered that his birth mother had tragically died aged 28 on Christmas Day - he would have been just 6. So, the hunt continued for any living blood relatives and we took off to Canada to find them!!

The kids with their Halloween pumpkins It was an amazing trip of discovery and boy is the internet handy for things like this!! He found his mother’s grave, he visited where she grew up, he met old school friends of hers, looked through year-books - but the best bit, was meeting his sister!!

The first blood relative (other than our children) that he had ever met in his life - it was massive! And she’s completely wonderful too - it was (sounds silly to say) just like family, like we had known her forever!! He then went on to meet his aunt who was able to tell him all about his birth mum, his grandfather, loads of stuff! It was an amazing trip and a real privilege to be part of.
Whilst we were out there, we stayed with our Vanderburg family and enjoyed the wonderful 'fall' season… not to mention Halloween!!! I’ve always been a bit dubious about this whole spooky celebration but we had an absolute blast! We all took off, dressed up (adults too!!) in all kinds of outfits ranging from fairies to Scooby Doo, to scarecrows and Transformers - every imaginable character was present!

The Halloween trailer We piled onto a trailer pulled by a tractor and embarked upon a 2-hour trip pulling up outside people’s houses and charging for the front door where they were waiting armed with 'candy'. They all go to such huge efforts at Halloween and it was truly a laugh/scream a minute (some bloke dressed up as a scarecrow scared the life out of me - I thought he was a dummy as there were many around, but as I ran passed him he jumped out at me. You should have heard me scream!!!)

The kids AND adults had a wonderful evening, drinking hot chocolate on the trailer, huddling under blankets as the evening wind picked up and the sun went down - an amazing evening for the last night on this incredible trip.
See you soon Canada!!!

Happy to be home though x x


  1. Jean Ellison November 9, 2009 at 6:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pippa!
    What a wonderful story! So glad you had such a super trip! Your husband must be over the moon at meeting his sister and Aunt – after all this time!
    Best wishes to you all.
    Jeannie x

  2. Pipa November 10, 2009 at 9:12 am -  Reply

    Hey Jeannie – I know, it’s been an incredible trip and of course is just the beginning of some fabulous new relationships!

  3. sylvia November 12, 2009 at 12:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa
    I am so very happy to hear your husband has found some of his family.Family are so special,we all need them in our lives.I hope you all keep in touch and I wish you all A Happy Christmas and A Very Special New Year.

  4. JudyPowell November 13, 2009 at 8:41 am -  Reply

    How fabulous for your husband. I was adopted at a year old and did the searching thing. My parents were wonderful, but I needed to know where I came from, so to speak, especially after my children were born. Sadly my birth mother had died, but made contact with a sort of cousin – it’s complicated – who gave me a photo of my mother as a young woman with her parents and siblings. It was taken in the 50s so isn’t teribly flattering. But my kids said – it’s just like you Mum, on the no make up days !! I didn’t care. I felt complete.
    Hope you have much joy on the “journey”. Horrid word – “voyage ” is a better one.

  5. Pipa November 13, 2009 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    Hey Judy – it was just the same for Bret, his Mum had died but having now found his half sister, she gave him a load of photos of his mum in the 60s and early 70s and they too look very alike – it was amazing for him!! I am so glad you had that experience too, fabulous!

  6. Chris Hall November 15, 2009 at 3:38 am -  Reply

    Lucky you Pippa. I love Ontario especially in the fall. We toured Algonquin park around the town of Huntsville in October a couple of years ago. I have never seen anything more beautiful.

  7. Jan Burnley November 15, 2009 at 3:56 pm -  Reply

    I’ve absolutely loved my holidays in Canada and the last time I was there, stood in just about the same place as you at Niagara Falls. Awsome!. Regards, Jan Burnley.

  8. Kristina Moore November 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm -  Reply

    Hello Pipa, I hope this makes Brett feel more complete as we all need ‘roots’.
    My niece once asked everyone if there was magic in life. She is 8 so magic is fairies at the bottom of the garden etc still (which I hope she will hold on to to be honest) and I sent her an email saying yes, of course there is magic in life. This is a brilliant example of that. Long may you all have an extended family.

  9. Barbara Boosie November 16, 2009 at 4:31 pm -  Reply

    It is very exciting to meet a birth family, I should think but I hope that the people that adopt children are not forgotten , as it is those that cope with the childhood illnesses, the tantrums, the school days and probably supported with love and finances the career for the childs future.

  10. Judy November 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm -  Reply

    You sound like an adopting Mum. I for one will never forget my truly lovely adoptive parents. They were and always will be my “real Mum and Dad ”
    However those of us unfortunate enough to be able to be brought up by our birth parents need some idea of our identity, roots, call it what you like. I would hope that we are able to do this with the love, support and understanding of the people who have brought us up, who after all should have only our best interests at heart.
    Sorry Pippa, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  11. Julie Haynes November 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, I have a feeling that you and your husband’s recent experiences are going to prompt lots of comments. Like some of your other readers I have been through similar. I love ‘my’ mum and dad so dearly but they are no longer with us. I just needed to know where I came from and did contact my birth mother who gave me up for adoption at just 6 weeks old. For me, it good experience but I didn’t feel I had found that missing something. Maybe it was because my adoptive parents had made me feel so special.

  12. jill November 23, 2009 at 12:06 am -  Reply

    Brilliant,just brilliant! So happy for your hubby,must have been a deeply profound experience.

  13. Caroline Jones November 23, 2009 at 1:29 am -  Reply

    Hi Pippa,
    So glad you had a wonderful trip and I bet your husband was so pleased to have met his sister, aunt and family. Hope you can keep in touch with them and spend a Christmas with them sometime either over here or there.
    Best wishes to you all and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
    Caroline x

  14. Sue Harrison November 23, 2009 at 5:20 am -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, I am so happy for you and your family, especially your husband. I was also a birth Mum to a daughter in the late 60s. I waited for 35 years and was found. We are five years together now and its a whole new ball game, including two lovely grandsons along with my daughter. Lived 8 miles from each other all that time. I am sure he will never forget his Mum even though he was not able to meet with her. So important to understand where you belong, but equally to know who has cared and loved you while growing up. give him my best wishes. Sue

  15. November 23, 2009 at 8:55 am -  Reply

    Hi Pippa I lost both my birth parents two and a half years ago within 5 days of each other. The same year my daughter emigrated to Vancouver Island Canada. We have visited twice now and have our papers in to join them. Families have to be in contact in some way. Canada is an amazing place.
    Love Diane

  16. Hazel Knoppik November 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pippa,
    What a wonderful story, it brought tears to my eys after reading that his birth mother died on christmas day only aged 28 how tragic.
    I am glad he met some of the family, he must of put his mind at rest, I hope that all stay in contact for many years as familes are very important but sometimes everyone can never got on which is not very nice.
    I wish you and your husband and children a merry christmas and a happy new year.
    Love Hazel & Darren.xx

  17. elizabeth Lowe November 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pippa
    So happy to read your story about your trip to Canada, so pleased to hear your husbands news re connecting with family members this will mean the world to him and bring him some peace of mind for the future to come. good luck to you and your family.

  18. Margaret Horwood November 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pippa and hubby
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story. It gave me such a warm lovely feeling which made me feel good. I’m so much for family life warts and all. Welcome back!

  19. Pipa November 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm -  Reply

    It’s so lovely to hear everyone’s different reactions – this topic can never be cut and dry because it is after all about the deepest relationships we can ever encounter. We all know that life throws so many curve balls our way so here’s to those who love us, those we share our lives with, roots that anchor us and dreams that steer us. This for many reasons has been a huge year for both of us – its funny how some years just tick by and other years completely change you!

  20. Elizabreth Howarth November 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm -  Reply

    What a wonderful story about your husband meeting his relatives for the first time. Quite brought a tear to my eye. I have recently researched my family tree and found cousins from as far away as Australia to the next village to where I live. Amazing!! You get quite involved with their history don’t you? Enjoy your new family and Good Luck. Have a great festive season.

  21. Michele November 14, 2011 at 8:22 am -  Reply

    Hi Pippa,
    So pleased your husband found his family, I hope you have many happy reunions over the coming years.
    I never knew I had a brother until after my Mum died, he had been taken by her ex when he was four and she never saw him again. 12 years ago on a genealogy website he posted a message looking for my Mum and Gran, I responded and we actually met in 2002. He had emigrated to Canada in 1969 and had searched for his family, his Dad had died. He had no memories of our Mum so I gave him copies of ever photo I had of her and of course all the stories. We only met that once as he died 18 months ago but we kept in touch with emails and telephone conversations. So tell your husband, don’t put off another visit saying, “next year”, time runs out so quickly.

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