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Alberta woman seeks help in N.B. to find birth parents

03/09/2015 09:47 EDT | Updated 05/09/2015 05:59 EDT
An Edmonton woman is seeking help in New Brunswick to track down her birth parents, nearly 50 years after she was adopted in Moncton.

Susan Cockle had the shock of her life this summer when she and her sisters were clearing out their parents home in Alberta.

They discovered old yellowed adoption papers from New Brunswick. She opened up the papers and discovered she was adopted at birth.

"And I'm oh my goodness. I have another name, Carolyn Lee Phillips, so now I'm in shock. My sister is crying we're in utter disbelief," she said.

She said she grew up next to The Moncton Hospital at 33 Carney Ave. but never realized she was adopted.

Now she would like to meet her birth family. She tried to get information from the provincial government but New Brunswick is one of the last provinces to seal adoption records.

She said the former Progressive Conservative government agreed to change the adoption laws but that never happened. Cockle is now waiting to see if the new Liberal government will follow through on that initiative.  

But she's worried it may take too long because her birth parents would now be 70 and 72.

"And if the files don't open for one, two or three years, as I've been told, I think that's too much time. I don't think it's fair," she said.

She would like the help of people in Moncton.  

"Think back for me to 1965-66, do you remember a tall blond pretty woman, who was visiting from Ontario. She was four months pregnant when she moved from Ontario to Moncton by herself," she said.

Basic information

While Cockle has never met her birth parents, she has received some basic information, which she's using to help find them.

"My birth mom was 21 when she had me. My birth dad was 23. She was tall 5-9 and he was 6-2 and when I learned that I, to be honest, started crying. I'm just shy of 5-10," she says.  

Both her birth parents were athletic and active in music.

"They were both athletic she played basketball, she was a swimmer and a skier, he was a football player and a hockey player, he water-skied, he downhill skied," she said.

"I have been athletic all my life and I still am," she said.

Her birth mother sang in a band for three years and her father played the accordion and the piano.

Cockle said there are so many unanswered questions.

"So now I think. 'Oh my gosh I would like to meet these people.' I would like to look someone in the eye and see myself reflected and I'm so curious now, do I have half brothers or half sisters out there or full brothers or full sisters," she said.

She also knows that her birth mother was 21 at the time and moved from Ontario to Moncton when she was four months pregnant. Cockle was born on Jan. 28, 1966.

She said her current parents didn't think they could have children so they were keen to adopt her.

Her mother has apologized for keeping her origins secret.

Cockle said there are practical reasons for knowing more about the Phillips. 

"I need to know my medical history what should I be screened for there are risk factors and for my children as well I have two boys also I wanted to know my heritage what's my blood line, where do I come from what generation Canadian am I."

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