Article tiré du Montreal Mirror
FIND YOUR FOLKS
Mouvement Retrouvailles member helps reutnite port-adoption families
by Chris Barry
Name: John Ryan
Occupation: Press officer/member of Mouvement Retrouvailles
Bio: This hearty Ahuntsic resident started life out in an orphanage and only began looking for his natural birth parents at age 50, after his doctor suggested it might be in his best interest to know his biological family’s medical history. A former Montreal police officer, dry cleaner, construction worker, downstairs neighbour to Maurice Richard, substitute high school teacher (at a time when he was still working towards his own high school leaving certificate at night) and, finally, personal property appraiser, John had little success obtaining information regarding his natural birth parents and finally turned to Mouvement Retrouvailles (mouvement-retrouvailles.qc.ca), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find their long-lost natural parents, or conversely, that little bundle of warmth they abandoned on the steps of some dark foreboding orphanage all those years ago. Today, he is a full member of the organization who “accompanies people in their search—to guide and prepare them, because when people actually do find their natural birth parents, it can bring great joy, or great pain. It can be a great deception. You never know what will happen.”
Was life in a mid-20th century Quebec orphanage as much fun as one might expect? “Truth is, when you don’t know anything else, everything is fine. If you’ve never tasted sugar, you don’t miss it. If you never touch fire, you don’t know that it burns.”
Did any of the good brothers at the orphanage ever get familiar with his bottom in a decidedly un-Christian-like manner? No, but John remembers at least one time when he was hit in the face so hard by one of his masters that he flew five feet in the air before landing on the ground.
When reunited, are mothers generally pleased to meet their discarded children or is it a more of a, “Jesus, get off my fuckin’ back, man, just be thankful the Church convinced me not to rip you out of my womb and flush you down the toilet like I wanted to” type of thing? “Every case is different. And when people are reunited, it’s not like they suddenly just arrive at the door. There’s correspondence first. For some people, it’s like nothing, where others just cry and cry. Where troubles sometime begin is later, let’s say if a person starts wanting their biological mother to start acting like a mother to them, and she isn’t quite ready for this.”
Has he had any luck finding out who his birth parents are? Very little to date. “I only know I was born to a 22-year-old English- speaking mother, everything else has been censored from the documents. You know, I really want to know where I come from, who I am, but this is all they say they can give me. This is one reason why Mouvement Retrouvailles was founded, to help people get this information.”
Musical preferences: Mozart, Beethoven.
Last book read: Dis merci! by Barbara Monestier.
Words of wisdom: “It’s never too late to find out.”