You have to take a look back in order to take a look forward…


My dad was born on June 7th, 1952. That is according to his Quebec birth certificate. But according to Sister Janis Philip, my dad was born on June 8th, 1952. And his name was Luke.

nun letter

Handwritten letter for my grandparents from one of the Sisters at the orphanage

We can make a safe assumption that my dad was most likely born from an unwed Catholic girl. She was probably sent away from home after finding out she was with child, had my dad, and went back home like nothing happened. That seems to be the trend in this era and location. My dad spent his early years at La Creche St-Vincent de Paul. 680, Chemin Ste Foy, Quebec City, Quebec. It no longer exists, though I have found information regarding the orphanage online, through a museum located in Quebec City.

On May 24, 1954, my grandparents received a letter from the Catholic Home Bureau. “Dear Mr. And Mrs. Lammers: La Sauvegarde De L’Enfance has informed us by mail that they have selected a child for adoptive placement in your home. The child is a boy, born June 7, 1952….” My grandparents picked up my dad somewhere around the beginning of July 1954, as the next telling document I have in my possession is the “Application to File Petition for Naturalization in Behalf of Child.” This document was filed when my grandparents were able to legally have my dad become a naturalized US citizen.


The “…seal of the court is hereunto affixed this 25th day of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-eight…”
My dad died 46 years to the date, on April 25th, 2004.

My grandpa says in the “Statement of Facts for Petition for Naturalization” (11) Said chid was lawfully admitted to the United States at Port Huron Michigan on July 4, 1954, on the automobile. (12) Said child is now and has been in my (our) legal custody for at least 2 years, since July 2, 1954 and has resided in the United States continuously immediately preceding the date of this application since July 4, 1954. It is very cool to see that my dad was not only taken from the orphanage shortly after turning 2 years old, but that he officially moved to the United States on the 4th of July!

two articles

Images and articles from my dad’s naturalization ceremony in Beloit, Wisconsin.

I find all this history of my dad’s first 5 years hard to fully grasp. He never really remembered much of his early years, so he wasn’t ever one to have things to share with me. The newspapers, letters and photos we have were found at my Grandpa’s house after he passed away in 1995. My Uncle Ed, my dad’s brother, also had some important documents that have since been passed down to me. He is the only one who has the stories to tell, as he was there with my dad from the start. All of these priceless documents link together the young life of an orphan, whose life may have been very different if my grandparents had not adopted him.

I have dabbled with trying to find out information regarding my dad’s birth parents…it seems next to impossible. I have spoken to some people in Quebecpeople involved with the Church, government, workers at the Good Shepherd Museum...It seems that the adoption records in Quebec are under lock and key. I am a bit selfish, as I wish to find this information so badly now. My dad never wanted or cared to know about his birth family. With his heart disease being explained by doctors as simply ‘genetics’ I wish I could know about his family history. Maybe someday something will come to surface. Until then, I have these documents to cherish as they are an important piece of my dad’s past.

12 responses »

  1. Pingback: So…What’s Next? | Je Me Souviens-To Infinity & Beyond!

  2. Did you ever get any information? My husband was also adopted out of the same orphanage as your father. I would appreciate any information that you might have.

    • We never found any additional information than what we discovered when we went to Quebec. I got his information on file with the centre for youth so if birth family wishes to find him and his information I will be contacted. I keep digging though hoping for more! Best of luck.

  3. I just spent some time reviewing and reflecting on likely some of the same documents you had for your father. It’s all so interesting to me. I appreciate you blog about what you have researched and discovered in regard to your father.

    My father too was adopted out of the same orphanage as your father. I found a hand written note, likely my grandmother’s writing, stating that they stayed at a Lucy Motel near the orphanage the days leading up to my father’s adoption. Interesting that the files may still exist but are under lock and key. I may try to research the Center for Youth and attempt to put information on file. I’d also be interested in hearing anything else you have learned about the orphanage and the children that were there. My father does not recall anything due to him being so young at the time of his adoption.

    • I have not learned anything new since our visit two years ago. Visiting the museum was an awesome experience, because we did get to talk to the sister on site about what went on in the orphanage. She explained that most children were adopted at 2, as the mothers had until the child was 2 to declare if they would keep them. Many of the mothers also stayed on site and worked to pay for room and board. They were likely sent away from where they lived, as the pregnancy was often out of wedlock.

  4. I to was born at that orphanage and was adopted in the winter of 1958. My parents worked for the catholic charities of Chicago il lgrew up on the south side of Chicago catholic and went to catholic schools when my parents could afford it some years not. I went and saw the orphanage in 1990 when I was able to met some nice nuns who told me about the place in 1958 and what went on then it was very cool to hear the stories anyway it was nice to read this storie. Vince Munday

  5. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to find your blog. Your story is extremely similar to mine, I’m looking for information of my fathers birth parents, from the same orphanage. I have the hand written letters from the nuns, also a very, very vague page about the birth parents. Lists things like “good looking man, no defects” 🤔 ( Interesting way they put things back then.) My father doesn’t have an interest in knowing anything about his birth parents, however I do. I’m curious about them for health reasons such as yourself. On top of it all your father lived in Beloit after he was adopted and mine lives in Green Bay. I wish I found your blog years ago. I am so grateful you created this. I will continue to check out your blog for future updates and posts.
    Have you done a DNA test with ancestry yet? I ordered mine, just have to send it back.

  6. I was adopted from the same orphanage as your father. As far as I understand, adoption records in Quebec are sealed by the courts and remain inaccessible to this day.

  7. I have just discovered that my dear late mother gave birth to a child and put her up for adoption when she was too young to care for a child. This was in Québec in 1947. I only know this now as that child has found us, our mother’s family with my father. My mother passed away, so I think that opens up the records. But I have also learned that the Québec Govt has opened adoption records in the last year. Perhaps there is more opportunity for you to find information on your father’s birth mother now. It may worth another look. Good luck.

    • Hi there. Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, they have opened adoption records (as of June last year) but I’m in a grey area since my father passed away and did not file any type of record request or release before passing. So even as next of kin, they denied my claim when I sent originally. However, I heard things may change in a years time so I might have more luck. Not giving up!

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