Sharron and Debra - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Sharron and Debra

Adoptee Sharron and Birth Sister Debra
Reunited in 2010

Who knew that a search through old photographs, while doing a historical memoir for my first born granddaughter would lead to a new sister? In 2005, I was scanning photos from my 85 year old aunt’s albums when one picture, taken in 1940, made her pause. While gazing at the picture of my mother and her boyfriend, my aunt said, “Oh by the way, did you know you have another sister?” After picking my jaw off the floor I began asking questions. I knew approximately when she was born, where she was born and that she was called ‘baby Linda’.

I immediately contacted the Post Adoption Registry; that was Feb 28, 2005, my sister was not registered; news I did not want to hear. On Nov. 16, 2009, my sister’s 75 year old cousin whom I like to refer to as ‘Keeper of the Secret’ and ‘Spiller of the Beans’, decided it was time for her to know she was adopted, imagine hearing this news at the age of 69. Sharron, a fan of ‘Google’ searched for adoption registry sites; found the Post Adoption Registry and Fran.

March 25, 2010 was the day I got the long awaited call from Fran. Sharron was soon to learn that she not only had three sisters but two brothers and a whole lot more. WOW....

Our first phone conversation was absolutely amazing. We found similarities and differences, the most important thing we discovered was how comfortable we were talking to each other. It felt strange, yes, but we were not strangers and knew we were sisters immediately. Questions and answers were volleyed back and forth as if we were trying to fit all those lost years into one conversation.

As we live in different cities, nightly e-mails ensued, learning more and more; our appetites unquenchable. I was overjoyed upon reading the ending of Sharron’s first email to me; she wrote “Just know that I am so glad to have heard from you and will sign off, for the first time in my life as; Your Loving Sister Sharron.” Talk about emotional.

Our first meeting was May 1, 2010 at a restaurant in Calgary. I was so excited; I arrived early and began to pace in the waiting area, eventually I asked a waitress to take my camera and capture our first moments together. I couldn’t take my eyes off Sharron and am unable to tell you to this day what I ate or how it tasted. What an amazing feeling, our mother has been gone for 35 years and yet here was someone who is just as much a part of her as I am.

Now that I have gotten to know Sharron, I can’t imagine not having her in my life; I think of her daily and am truly thankful that my aunt and her cousin had the courage to tell us. I have no idea why our mother kept this secret or how difficult it must have been for her to do so, sadly that is something we will never know. I focus on the good fortune of having another sister in my life as well as a new pen pal, the cousin who ‘Spilled the Beans’.

It’s been 6 months now; Sharron and I have shared a lot of information and emotions and continue to build a fabulous relationship. The best way for me to describe us is.... we fit.......

After having written my version on the beginning of ‘our story’, I emailed it to Sharron for her approval. This is what she has added:

Some of the first feelings of anxiety I felt resulted from not only meeting my ‘new’ family but having to let go, just a little, of my old family to do so. This is all wonderful and difficult at the same time; it seems so strange to say brothers and sisters – really strange as I was an only child, but it’s exciting too.

I do not remember what we ate at our reunion at Tony Roma’s either, but the photo session you arranged was ingenious. I think that was an encounter that only the two of us can appreciate, very special and VERY RARE.

The warmth and joy I felt from being welcomed into the family was amazing, particularly from you Deb; Wally, Bonnie, Ann and Rob were extremely welcoming as well but you were the ‘cheerleader’, the ‘organizer’, the ‘sleuth’.

Although we don’t share the same father, I was especially impressed you were able to find relatives of my birth father’s family and with so little information to go on. I have now met an aunt and uncle, who never knew I existed and also know there are more cousins waiting in the wings.

The ‘memories album’ you put together for me; all those pictures of our mother growing up, grandparents, great-grandparents, my birth father and his family, making the album look like it was an antique, done in the 20’s or 30’s, putting names and dates on the back of every picture, a true labour of love, for that I will always be grateful. Did I mention the family trees you gave me? Oh my... I find myself at times unable to take it all in and feel a need to occasionally take a step away for a while; bit by bit as I peek at it from time to time, history is sinking in, time is still required though to assimilate it all.

Honestly, Deb, to be the recipient of so much love is just the best gift that one could ever receive. I don’t know how to ‘be a sister’ but you are teaching me and it is truly wonderful.

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