Siblings happily reunited after years of patience, persistence - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Siblings happily reunited after years of patience, persistence

Our story began when I, barely an adult, knew that there was a huge hole in my past which I would like to fill. In January 1977, and, with the help of my adoptive mother, I located and met my biological mother. We had three pieces of information: the place of my birth, my birth name, and the number of siblings that she had. Lanz was not as unique a surname as I might have expected. She asked that I not contact her again as no one knew of my existence. Little did I know how true that statement was. She did tell me that I had a brother Dennis and a half-sister Linda. I respected her wishes. I remained involved in Parent Finders, helping 32 others, until I left the province in 1980.

Fast forward. I often wondered about Dennis and Linda. I checked the paper where I was born on many birthdays, even enlisting the help of others. Maybe someone was looking for me. I first applied for voluntary contact with the Alberta Post Adoption Registry in 2005. Maybe … just maybe …

I retired and moved, yet again. Each move I updated my address with Post Adoption. During my last move I came across my adoption information. But now technology was on our side. I googled, wondering what the situation might be there. I found her obituary.

Fast forward to October 2013. I wondered if I should try to make contact. I am not an extrovert and now 57 years had gone by. I contacted aParent Finders office. I asked if she would be willing to contact my brother (yes, I had his phone number). She did.

The night of November 5, I was out for the evening. Yes, my phone and email told me that we had action. Yes, Dennis would like contact. He cried when he received the phone call. He asked questions and he wanted contact NOW! I authorized the release of my phone number. I was still hoping for some sleep (which none of us got) and said that any time after noon (my time) would be fine. 12:01 my phone rings. I remember little of that conversation. I was floating on air and was somewhere in outer space. At the end of the call, I did ask “do you know where Mike is” (Mike is the person that helped me in 1977). He asked who is Mike. Sigh.

It would be about 24 hours and I was talking to my sister. I remember more of that conversation because, at best, it was simply bizarre. Please remember that I had known for several decades that they existed. They knew nothing about me. So there were very valid questions. And I tried to answer them. I then approached Post Adoption for my identifying information as I wanted to show, in an official way, who I was. We all talk daily.

My papers arrived several days before I went to meet them in March 2014. When I received my information, parts of it were greyed out. This greyed out information might lead us through a series of events. Upon proving the death of all four parents, I was able to obtain a full release.

What a great reunion. I was met by Dennis and his wife at the Calgary airport. I ran into his arms. I am so blessed. We drove 3 hours to my sister’s home where she and her hubby, our nieces and great-nephew were waiting for us. As soon as I sat on the sofa I became one. The hole in my heart was no longer there. I was in-reunion.

I had said several times, over the phone, that I believed that there was at least one more sibling. In Dennis’s home, with Dennis sitting in his favorite chair, I again said that I believed that there were more than 3 of us. To which, in exasperation, Dennis says to me. There are only 3 of us. I will bet my home, my wife, and my dog that there are no additional siblings out there.

That afternoon we went over to Linda’s. As we were talking I asked her if she knew anyone who worked with our mother. She said, yes, in fact, she did. I asked her to phone them as we were/are still trying to track dates and places. Although it had been a decade since they talked they knew Linda immediately. When asked about Mary’s employment, they responded with would that be before or after the baby. Linda goes white and we hear her echo the word baby. I look at Dennis and asked what he was going to do without a house, a wife, and a dog. Post Adoption could confirm that we have a sister born in May 1958 and sent me non-identifying information.

Tragedy struck. I lost my niece less than two months after meeting her. Yes, I was at her service and was included in every part of it. I really miss her. Everyone has shown such joy that we are together now. It melts my heart when I hear a voice saying “Auntie” and I know it is me that they are speaking to.

Last summer, as my adoptive Mom’s health was failing, both my brother and my sister wanted to meet her. Well, Linda and her hubby’s four day visit, was awesome. Mom went everywhere with us. Train, cruise, Tickleberries. She came upstairs to join us for dinner. She sees me and Linda, looks around and asks, “where is the old guy”. Mike was on the other side of me and he will never live it down. He is the youngest among us. And she liked Mike!

Dennis was not quite as lucky. He and she wife Sharon also came but Mom was in the hospital. They met, visited a bit, and within 2 weeks Mom passed away. Mike, who helped us in 1977, also came out with his wife to meet Mom.

We spend holidays together. In May, we are scattering Mom’s ashes. Both families will be present, health permitting. Dennis has already met my other brother who lives in Ontario. We dropped in for a visit in December.

There is still much to be done to find our other sister but we will succeed. I hope, within my life time, that the laws will change that will allow siblings access to identifying information. It should be the adult’s decision as to whether they wish to be involved in their birth family. But until we find her, and give her that choice, we will not know the outcome.

--condensed version

Modified: 2015-07-07
PID: 18233