Forty years ago, baby Janet Keall was found outside of Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, wrapped and wriggling in a green blanket.
Her parents, Jerrilyn and Gordon Keall, told her the story as a child. Over the years, Janet’s emotions warred with each other. “At times I felt very happy and grateful,” she said, referring to the amazing home she’d been adopted into, “and other times I would feel very sad, very rejected. Why me?”
She requested her birth records as soon as it was legal, hoping to find some answers. But the paper she received in the mail might as well have been blank.
Even though the lack of information was discouraging, she didn’t give up hope.
For 21 years, Janet went through a multitude of resources to try to contact her birth parents. She visited the place where she was born, searched hospital records, told her story to reporters, and made public appeals for information. People came forward, but it always led to a dead-end.
Finally, after publishing Rupertsbaby.com, someone named Stephen emailed her with a story similar to her own. The attached photo showed that they even looked alike. A few weeks later, the DNA test revealed they were half-siblings. They shared a birth mother.
From there, Janet discovered three other half-siblings, two who had passed away at a young age. Through one of her half-siblings, she discovered her birth mother, who had died only three months prior.
“She definitely had a challenging childhood,” Janet said after a lot of research.
Janet decided not to disclose the identity of her birth mother. “She’s not here and there are living family members including the son that she raised,” Janet told the Times Columnist. “We would never want to cause him any further distress.”
Discovering her mother gave Janet an opening to find her father. Her birth mother’s friend disclosed that she remembered some of the people Janet’s birth mother had dated.
Armed with a first name, Janet had one of her volunteers go through piles of yearbooks.
Success at last.
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They found a last name and a photo. From there, it was easy to find a phone number. The man who could be her birth father was in reach.
When he finally picked up the phone, there was an instant connection. A paternity test revealed without a doubt that they were father and daughter.
Janet said, “He had no idea about me at all.”
Janet and her birth father haven’t wasted time getting to know each other. They’ve shared photos and have spent hours talking over the phone. They hope that they’ll be able to meet in person soon.
“He just kept saying, ‘Thank you for not quitting. Not many people would have kept looking, especially with nothing to go on,’” Janet said. Although not everything about the journey was positive, she was glad that she found a happy ending in the search for her birth parents.