Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rose Marie and Valerie, we need to find you now

Update 9:05 PM - Valerie is found!!! Valerie's husband called Joanne tonight!

One down - one to go!

Rose Marie and Valerie, we need to find you now

Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator(Aug 29, 2007)

Andy Brouwer's family unit was shattered forever on April 6, 1962, when the Children's Aid Society moved in and scooped up Andy and his seven siblings. He has no memory of the last time the family was together. Several siblings have reunited, but Andy, who has pancreatic cancer, is eager to find two missing

Andy Brouwer knows he hasn't got much time left to meet the sisters he didn't know existed until a few years ago.

Brouwer is suffering from pancreatic cancer and was told he has months rather than years to live.

"It would be nice to have the family back together for one last shot. But we're kind of running out of time," the former Dundas resident said in a telephone interview from Alberta.

He was just a toddler and has no memory of the last time the family was together 45 years ago.
The family unit was shattered forever on April 6, 1962, when the Children's Aid Society moved in and scooped Andy and his seven siblings.

They had been living in a massive stone house on King Street West in Dundas and two-year-old Andy was the baby of the brood.

According to CAS records, their father, Percy Edwards, had deserted his handicapped wife, Viola, and the children. The 32-year-old mother, who had trouble speaking because of a cleft palate, told the CAS she couldn't look after the family on her own. She remarried and died as a result of a car accident 10 years to the day after the CAS took her children.

Except for the oldest daughter, Stella, who went to live with an aunt, the three boys and four other girls were put up for adoption.

Andy and his sister Joanne were adopted by a family in the Hamilton area. Their new parents, who were warm and nurturing, never concealed the fact they'd been adopted. But the pair didn't learn until several years later -- when Joanne started sleuthing on her own -- that they had biological brothers and sisters.

A restless soul, Andy was 15 years old when he dropped out of high school in Dundas and hitchhiked to Alberta, where he found a job in a meat plant. For the next 20 years or so, he worked at a number of jobs and moved around a lot.

"I'm not the kind of person you'd find in the phone book," he laughed.

But one day, while riding the bus in Edmonton, he ran into his sister, Joanne, whom he hadn't seen for more than 20 years.

By coincidence, she had also moved to Edmonton and they were living only seven blocks apart. She told him how she'd contacted the Hamilton Children's Aid Society and learned they had other brothers and sisters.

"She told me she was hunting for siblings. She found six of us," he recalled.

But Joanne didn't have any names or addresses at the time. She contacted her first sibling, Stella, through the Internet about five years ago. In the past two years, she's met another sister, Julie, and a brother, Richard Young, who recently moved to Alberta from Nova Scotia.
She's also spoken several times on the telephone with another brother, John, who lives in British Columbia. But she has yet to meet him face-to-face.

About three weeks ago, Andy and Joanne and their three new siblings all got together for the first time at Richard's new home in the farming community of Hugenden, near Camp Wainwright, in Alberta. During the reunion, they spoke to John on the phone.

For Andy, who has moved in with Richard, it was a bittersweet occasion. It was the first time he'd been surrounded by that many family members in 45 years. But two sisters were still missing and the family circle won't be complete until they're found.

Although he knows the clock is winding down, he isn't about to give up just yet. He believes it was a happy coincidence that brought this many family members together so far.

"It all started because we happened to meet on the bus. I'm hoping the coincidences will happen again. It would be fantastic (to meet the other sisters)," he said.

The missing sisters are:

  • Valerie, DOB Sept. 24, 1951, adopted in 1964. Her adoptive father was a railway engineer, and her adoptive parents had six other children.

  • Rose Marie, DOB July 7, 1954, adopted 1964. Her adoptive father may have been an accountant, and her adoptive parents had one older child at the time.

Anyone with information can contact Joanne Brouwer at 780-483-1072 or e-mail

10 complaints from ingrates:

Anonymous,  August 30, 2007 at 5:50 AM  

Thanks for posting that - Joanne is a friend of mine. It has taken such a long time to find her brothers and sisters.

I hope that the last sibling can be found before her brother dies.

I know she is going to everyone that will listen.

I ask that if anyone knows Rose Marie (birth name), please, please contact Joanne before it is too late.

Again, many thanks for your help and support.


Unknown August 30, 2007 at 9:36 AM  

Hey thanks for posting this :o)

joannes blog August 30, 2007 at 12:44 PM  

Thanks so much for posting this information on your website. I really appreciate this. We need all the help we can get.

Since the newspaper article came out, we have found Valerie.

We only need to find Rose Marie now.


Ungrateful Little Bastard August 31, 2007 at 7:52 AM  

I'm crossing my fingers for you!!!!

joannes blog September 13, 2007 at 11:04 AM  

Still no luck finding Rose Marie. Today I meet Valerie though, I'm so excited, so is my brother. My brother has not been doing very well the past few days, I'm getting very worried now.

Thanks again for posting this for us!

Ungrateful Little Bastard September 14, 2007 at 4:34 PM  

Joanne I hope someone comes forward with some information soon.

joanneb311 September 24, 2007 at 10:32 PM  

Valerie came out to meet us all, and so did our new found brother John! What a week we had, it was wonderful, but also sad.

They each spent alone time with our little brother Andy, which was good. He could not stay up for very long at a time as he needs to rest a lot. He really enjoyed the visits though.

Still nothing on Rose, I wish we could find her.

Thanks again for posting this on your site!

Joanne Brouwer

joannes blog February 23, 2008 at 6:20 PM  

My dear brother Andy passed away Dec 19, 2007. I will love him and miss him forever. He is my Hero, he was so strong right until the end. My tears for him will be never ending.

We still haven't found Rose Marie, I wish he could have had the opportunity to meet her or even talk to her before he passed away. I would love to find her still and complete our family finally.

Thanks for all your help and for posting our story.

Ungrateful Little Bastard May 24, 2008 at 7:35 PM  

I have no idea why I didn't see this until now. I know it's late, but I'm so sorry.

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