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Old 04-08-23, 04:44
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Default Switched at Birth

OH and I both found this a very interesting article in yesterday's New York Times.

Switched at Birth, Two Canadians Discover Their Roots at 67

I actually had to write down some notes before I could get my mind around it:

The man raised as Richard Beauvais turns out to be Ukrainian, not Métis. He's the one who now raises horses. Had a difficult childhood, being part of the Indigenous community. Was raised by Camille and Laurette Beauvais; Camille died when Richard was 3; then lived with grandparents; spoke Cree and French; grandparents' surname was Richard, his given name. He and siblings were forcibly removed by the Canadian government from the Métis community and Richard was adopted by the Pools, learned English, lost his French and Cree. He maintains his Indigenous identity in his own mind and would not change anything if he could go back now. His actual birth parents were James and Kathleen Ambrose, prosperous farmers.

The man raised as Eddy Ambrose turns out to be Métis, not Ukrainian. He had a happy, carefree childhood in the Ukrainian community and Ukrainian Catholic church of his upbringing where he was raised by well-off farming parents who also had a general store and post office, was cherished and protected by his parents and three older sisters. His birth parents were actually a couple named Beauvais: Camille (French Canadian) and Laurette (Cree and French Canadian, Métis). Now that he has uncovered his biological identity, he wants to be officially recognized as a Métis and is engaged in an intense search for his roots, starting beadwork, a traditional Métis craft, and bonding with a biological sister.
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Old 04-08-23, 22:25
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Janet

Unfortunately the article is only available to subscribers, but having seen several tv programmes about similar switches, it never seems to work out well unfortunately.

I recall one where both sets of parents initially agreed to share the children. This agreement quickly fell apart and they fought in court for sole custody. I think the result of that was supervised visits. No one was happy, certainly not the children. What a horrible situation for all concerned.

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Old 04-08-23, 23:50
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Rats! I used to be able to share the occasional article. Something's changed.

Well, I already gave you the summary. Sorry you can't read it.

Thanks, OC.
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Old 04-08-23, 23:57
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Here is another article about them which doesn't require a subscription (or at least, it is letting me read it for free):

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/cana...irth-manitoba/
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Old 05-08-23, 00:25
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Thank you so much, Kite. And it's a much better article! Kudos to The Globe and Mail.
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Old 05-08-23, 09:09
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Thank you Kate.

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Old 05-08-23, 18:15
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So many levels of culpability in this story make it very complex.

They should not have been swapped at birth - but I don't quite see how the Government was to blame. Heaps of blame attached to the Government though, for their policy of removing Indigenous children from their families - but that was nothing to do with being swapped at birth and one of them was going to suffer that regardless. Loving parents dying and you finishing up in care is again nothing to do with being with the wrong family. One of them was going to suffer that. Poor parenting in a troubled family, one of them was going to suffer that anyway.

Neither got the life they should have had, but they were never destined for that. I can understand the ethnic identity thing, I think, but the blame for that lies elsewhere. I do understand their feelings that they have been cheated though.

A complex and sad story. I doubt if it is the last one we'll ever hear about. Thank you for pointing it out Janet, I've been thinking about it for most of the day.

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Old 05-08-23, 19:54
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These stories are always sad to me. With DNA testing I’m sure many more will come out, not only accidentally ( or not) swapping at birth, but being taken from parents. My sister in law has found she is Aborigine and never knew.
My uncle( not related to her) found the same.
The saddest I personally seen yet, is a friend who had a First Nations mother and white father. When she was three and her father was working with the railways away from home, she was taken and charged with being a ‘half caste’.

She actually got hold of her charge sheet. It is the same paper she would have if she had stolen a car or murdered someone. A three year old, well loved, but ‘ half caste’ was her charge.
She was brought up by a ‘good white Christian’ family as part Indian. She was in her 50s when she found the true story.
She still feels for her mother who tired many times to get her back.
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Old 07-08-23, 21:24
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There was a very sad post on one of our local Facebook groups some time ago. The writer’s brother had been given a DNA test and, as a result, had found that he was not connected at all with what he thought was his family. The writer was asking about boys born in a particular hospital on a specified date.

I have no idea how they got on, but they certainly thought Mum had brought the wrong baby home from hospital.
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Old 09-08-23, 07:35
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Thanks for all the input, everyone. Sorry, I've been swept away by out-of-town company who left just this morning.

OC, you're right. Very complex indeed. And almost inevitably very sad, too, as AN witnessed. I keep talking to myself about it too.

Those are quite some stories, Libby. I think it's the indigenous aspect that most intrigued me—how the one who lived the native life found it so painful to have it shown that he was not in fact a native, and the other one who should have had the native life being so distressed at not having shared that and wanting to make up for lost time. Very interesting to me.
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