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This article was published 28/11/2010 (3785 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Adoptee Roy Kading grew up not knowing where he came from. He was unsure of whom he looked like, whose characteristics he shared, and he was unaware that he had biological siblings. That changed in 1977 when, after years of searching, he found his birth mother and then his biological brothers and sisters.
Now 76 years old, Kading is helping others to do the same. A volunteer with Links Post Legal Adoption Support, he developed and maintains a website for the organization as well as conducts searches for those seeking family members.
"I was in the same position as them," said Kading, who was adopted at 13 months of age. "You have no background. You don't know your nationality. You don't know your health history. I think everybody who is adopted deserves to know their background and where they came from. "
He said getting to meet his biological mother helped answer many questions. As well, it helped him find the gravesite of his biological father who had died just two years prior. Interestingly, Kading, a Canadian National Railway retiree, also found out he had actually worked on the railway with one of his biological uncles, unaware of the close relationship.
Currently, on the Links Post Legal Adoption Support website there are about 5,000 names of Canadians searching for matches -- three quarters of those are from Manitoba. Kading, a St. Vital grandfather, said the organization will help any Canadian -- adoptees, birth parents, siblings or grandparents. He explained that although the government will help connect birth parents and adoptees there is much red tape, taking months or even years. Through his volunteer work with Links Post Legal Adoption Support, Kading said he has often completed matches within one day. Since starting the website in 1995, he has assisted nearly 400 searching individuals in finding a family member.
"I go through newspapers, I go through history books. I go through cemetery records. I look through obituaries, looking for families -- you have to build a family," explained Kading. "You get a name and then build a family with what information you have."
He adds that for the most part family members are happy to be reconnected. Only on rare occasions has he had to deal with those not wanting contact.
"Most of them (were) good but I've had some of them that didn't like to be contacted and raised hell and cursed and swore at me on the phone and slammed the phone down but that's alright -- that's going to happen," he said with a smile. "But even then, at least (the searching party) knows who they are and they get some information and I think that's what most people want."
If you would like more information about Links Post Legal Adoption Support, please visit members.shaw.ca/linksadoptionsupport.
If you know a special volunteer who strives to make their community a better place to live, please contact Erin Madden at email@example.com.