Diana Hochberg


My name is Diana Kayla Hochberg. I became a widow at thirty-five and a solo mom to my son and stepdaughter. Three years later, I accepted an invitation for a long weekend to Las Vegas to visit my best friend and her family. My parents passed away early in my life, my mom before I was eleven and my dad when I was twenty-five. I contacted my father’s close friend, Manny, who lives in Vegas.

Manny took my son and me out to lunch, and the slip of the tongue changed my life forever. “It’s a shame you never got to meet your parents,” he said. I remember acting as if I knew what he was talking about. When, in fact, my heart was pounding out of my skin, I knew nothing. I told myself that I’d call my brother in New York when I returned to the hotel. He would straighten everything out. He was unaware of any adoption, and over the next few months, I sent for my birth certificate and made many calls. One relative said, “Don’t open this can of worms.”

Other relatives would say, “I didn’t realize you were adopted.” Months later, the first of three different birth certificates arrived, full of lies. After that, I contacted my father’s friend Manny again in Las Vegas. During his Navy career, he worked for the CIA, and I told him I needed his help. He represented me at an automobile industry convention alongside men who knew my father and asked around about my birth.

He located Mort, the man who made the arrangements surrounding my birth. Fast forward: I discovered I was a Black-Market baby born in the mid-1950s. No adoption papers were needed because I was registered as the natural-born child of the parents. My birth mother was underage, and there were no laws protecting her rights. Mort who arranged these so-called adoptions was selling babies for profit. I was a business transaction, born in Montreal, with no adoption papers and no original birth certificate. Ten days after my birth, I was taken across the border to Plattsburgh, N.Y., then to Lake Placid, N.Y. where I was relinquished to a Jewish American man, my adoptive father. In exchange, my birth mother was given money for college, dental work, and a one-way ticket to her hometown of Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Mort informed me that my birth mother was a Canadian from Vancouver with Ukrainian, Austrian, and Polish descent. She seemed like the ideal candidate to him. He decided my birth mom Donna must be Jewish because the Hochbergs, my adoptive parents, desired a Jewish child—a perfect match. But he lied, she wasn’t Jewish. I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home with Jewish practices and customs, and our home was kosher.

As my journey progressed, I was reunited with my birth mother’s family in Canada during the summer of 1994. At first, there were letters, cards, and weekly phone calls. Then holidays to Canada. Over the next six years, we developed ties with one another. I felt blessed to be able to call my grandmother weekly, and my aunts continued to call me and write letters. My aunts would write I wish you were here. When I questioned my aunts about my father, they advised me to stop. “Aren’t we enough?” “Your mother was rejected by his Italian family from the West End in Vancouver.” For some unknown reason, I continued to be interested and searched independently.

Seven years after I met my maternal family, I received another phone call that altered my life. I listened to a man with an ominous voice warn me to stop searching for my father. He then threatened the life of my son and family. My son is my universe. That night, I chose to end my search and ties with my Canadian family. In the spring of 2015, I reached a turning point. I had an awakening after an accident and resumed my search.

I spent the next six months researching newspapers, microfiche, articles, and the library and speaking with older family members. In August 2015, I flew to Vancouver for ten days to visit family and friends. I split my time between family and the various leads I worked on. I spoke with several Vancouverites who wanted to meet with me and assist me with my search. One man suggested that I take a DNA test. Three months after I returned from Canada, I felt compelled to learn more. I decided to take an over-the-counter DNA test and chose Ancestry.com. I thought, perhaps doing this will help me finally identify my birth father. My aunts had told me that my father was Canadian. After seven years of tracing my birth father’s trail, it was determined that my birth father was American. As I learned about my ancestors, I gained a greater understanding of the challenges they faced. Understanding where I came from gave me a sense of identity.

Over the last seven years, I underwent several transformations, including a major career change to teaching. I never gave up searching for my mother or ancestors, leading me back to Denver and Vancouver. I became more passionate and empathetic during this time and began helping others on their journeys. I dealt with false documents in America and Canada. I wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada asking for my Canadian Birthright. Still, I have no real legal rights until a judge or another legal authority grants them to me.

As I sought the truth, I became acquainted with people from all over the world. I was able to discover a group of people who were uplifting and encouraging to one another. I am a truth seeker who desires to know, analyze, and sense what is true. During this process, I discovered myself along the way. My eyes have been awakened by my discovery of media cover-ups, black market babies, the Mafia, and the CIA. Along with the government, corruption, and money laundering are prevalent. I recognized that crime had always existed; it had been regarded as a necessary cost of conducting business.

I am thankful for the adoption community. We are all storytellers, if we all worked together we could help each other identify and connect with our biological relatives. I realize that despite our differences, including our circumstances, we all share one thing: a desire to seek and find the truth.

Nonetheless, I still have obstacles to overcome. One is the pursuit of my Canadian citizenship. I never imagined I’d say it, but I was Hijacked and therefore deprived of the birthright to which I should have legally been entitled. Everyone in my mother’s family was born in Canada and has Canadian citizenship. Every child has a Right to Know who their biological families are.

Since 2016, I have helped others with their Genealogy adventure. I left teaching during the pandemic and now do private tutoring. I am an advocate for Black Market Babies’ voices matter. I have learned to embrace my passion and love of photography. Every photo I capture has a story behind it. I returned to writing, and last month, I completed my manuscript, Hijacked My Canadian Birthright.

The most rewarding part of my journey was discovering my ancestry and achieving my desired closure. I found closure after twenty-nine years. Even though I am disappointed that I never met my birth parents, I learned about them. Through my persistence and research, I found photos and stories shared by my family. I now know who I am and where I came from. I’m at peace.

To my family and friends and the Adoption Community, Thank you for all your support!

ASRC: Adoption Search Resource Connection, NAAP: National Association of Adoptees and Parents, Elevating Connections, Celia Center, and Right to Know