Shannon Peck has always wanted to find her birth parents. She’s put effort into searching over the years but needed a break to identify her birth father.

“Because you want to know if you look like your mom or your birth mother or birth father,” said Peck. “You want to know if they have similar interests to you? That nature versus nurture thing.”

In August she got that break. Two second cousins popped up on an ancestry DNA website who were able to identify her birth father. After reaching him on the phone, he agreed to a DNA test that came back with 99.99 per cent certainty.

“Yeah, I’m still kind of in shock because I never really thought in my life that I’d ever know who he was,” said Peck.

Peck was adopted at 10 days old. Since being a young girl her parents told her she was adopted and Catholic records gave her an idea about her birth parents’ relationship.

“It says that I basically was the product of a short-term relationship. I think a summer fling in Europe. My birth mother was from Alberta and visiting Europe. My birth father was in Europe with the U.S. Air Force,” Peck said.

Peck found her mother’s identity within the past four years. Much of the identifying details were vetoed in the adoption records.

“And found out that she actually lives on Vancouver Island. She lives on the southern island and I knew through the veto she didn’t want me to reach out to her. She said clearly in the statement of veto her family doesn’t know about ‘the incident” [of] my birth,'” Peck said.

Peck put the details of her adoption into a textile-fibre art exhibit titled your “Your Daughter is in Good Hands,” which was first shown in Duncan last spring. It highlights what adoptees experience.

“How that can affect the adoptive child throughout life, how being removed from their birth parent at such an early age can affect them,” Peck said.

As for speaking with her birth father after all these years, “It’s been great,” said Peck. “He’s super kind. He’s been really accepting from the get-go which has been fabulous. It makes it a lot easier when you’re not struggling to try to be accepted.”

Peck will fly to New York for her first face-to-face meeting with her birth father later this month.

Kendall Hanson