The woman who was abandoned at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital in 1977

Abandoned at birth, woman renews appeal to find her parents

She was abandoned on the back of a hospital doorstep, and 38 years later that is still all she knows about her origins.

She was abandoned on the back of a hospital doorstep, and 38 years later that is still all she knows about her origins.

Janet Keall began the search for her birth parents in 1996. Her efforts painted a clearer picture of who discovered her but nothing about who left her.

The media attention helped her learn about the couple who found her as an newborn wriggling in the folds of a green bedspread. But when she searched for her health records and police records she came up empty.

“What are the odds? Not only do I have nothing to go by but even just the little things: what was my health like, what did I weigh?” Keall said.

In her first search to find her biological parents her story only reached TV broadcasts and newsprint. Now, her second attempt stems from curiosity that social media may give her story more traction.

“I do appreciate that a woman doesn’t just go through life and abandon a child and it’s no big deal. I feel compassion for her if she was ever to see me so public in the media, which could be quite daunting,” Keall said, which is why she set up a website to give the woman some assurances that she doesn’t want anything from her other than to meet her and maybe have some kind of relationship.

She said she has spoken with Prince Rupert RCMP to confirm that the police will not pursue any legal repercussions for her abandonment.

Left on a doorstep

What she does know is that she was found on the doorstep of the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital on October 14, 1977

Years later, when she searched out some of the nurses who cared for her, they told her that her umbilical cord wasn’t taken care of properly and she could have been up to a day old.

She spent the next five months at an orphanage until she was adopted out to a family in the Lower Mainland.

Her parents, Jerrilyn and Gordon, raised her in Surrey. For the first two years, every time the phone rang they would wonder if it was her biological parents asking for their daughter back.

Keall was initially registered as Bonnie Vanessa Hope at the hospital, and because of the adoption regulations at the time, her adopted parents couldn’t officially adopt her or register her name officially for two years.

Her parents told Keall her story and how they came to adopt her. They were always open and non-judgemental to her past but Keall said they couldn’t fix the pain their adopted daughter was going through.

“I had to walk through everything that I had to go through to be here today and be quite happy and balanced,” she said adding that as a young adult she had trouble trying to form her identity.

Finding forgiveness

It wasn’t until she held her first-born in her arms that she gained a new perspective. “I held him and thought, I get it now because that bond is so strong. If someone is in such  bad way to abandon their child it’s not about me. I had this moment where instantly I forgave her. Whereas before I still had bits of anger pop up. I haven’t felt angry or anything towards her for many years,” Keall.

Nearly 10 years later, Keall made a trip back to Prince Rupert with her two sons to show them where she was left. She was touched when one of her sons asked if he could sit in the spot where his mother was found. He told her, “I want to know what it feels like.” It was an emotional moment but it showed Keall that her children understood.

Her youngest son has been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, anxiety disorder and used to have seizures, which is another reason she wants to find her biological family. She is hoping to learn more about the family’s medical history.

The search began 20 years ago, and now Keall is hoping that this time around she will get some leads to find her parents.

She has already received hundreds of messages but nothing concrete yet.

If anyone in the Prince Rupert area knows anything about Keall’s family she asks that they visit her website where they can find all her contact details.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Totem pole, first in 30 years, raised in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole was a two year project lead by local carver Lyle Campbell

Heart of our city – Fighting for the road to recovery

World champion kick-boxer wins at Trinity House recovery program

Tour recognizes Prince Rupert’s rich labour history

Epic story of the Battle of Kelly’s Cut put Rupert on the labour radar

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Funding to support early reclamation work at acid leaking B.C. mine

B.C. Government committing up to $1.575 million for Tulsequah Chief Mine site

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read