The journey of adoption can be a rocky road filled with emotion. Searching for a birth family can lead to the outcome that one wants, or not. But what if you found your birth family and almost 30 years later discovered they weren’t actually your birth family? And the reason you found out that you weren’t related is because your actual biological family appeared with proof. It’s hard to believe it, but this happened to a woman in New Brunswick.
Adopted at birth, Jeannine Haché started looking for her birth family in the mid 70’s. Amazingly enough she found them with the help of a social worker. Or so she thought. Although her birthmother, Léola Poirier, had already passed, Jeannine now 70, spent the next 27 years getting to know her ‘biological’ siblings, the Hamilton family, and has regularly spent time with them each year.
But late in 2015 Jeannine got a phone call from a man named Denis Comeau. He was a stranger to Jeannine at the time but he asked her ‘I don’t suppose you are my sister?’ and everything changed. Denis and his 2 siblings had recently learned that their mother had a daughter before they were born and she had created an adoption plan for her.
Wanting proof, Denis’ brother Maurice Comeau agreed to a DNA test and in January of this year it was discovered with 92% positivity that Maurice and Jeannine are biological half-siblings. They contacted Jeannine with the findings and Maurice told CBC News that Jeannine started to cry.
Learning about her actual biological family was certainly bittersweet news for Jeannine and she took her time digesting the information before telling the Hamilton family whom she’d become close to over the years. "I was in shock for one month, I couldn't sleep. Twenty-seven years I had the Hamilton family, that's a long time," she told CBC News. After waiting a week she told the Hamiltons and they too were shocked. They still don’t understand why the adoption paperwork lists her birthmother as Léola Poirier.
Jeannine has since looked further into her adoption records and has learned that there is more information but it is sealed by the court. Although she is curious about it, she has chosen to not pursue it further and embrace her Comeau biological siblings as family.
It was agreed that Jeannine and the Comeaus would meet in March of this year however half-brother Maurice could not wait.
"I hopped in the truck and I drove down to see her. She was on the steps waiting for me with a big hug and some more tears of joy. I walked in the house and my God we spoke for five or six hours and it just came naturally just like I was talking to an old friend. It was just beautiful."
In February there was a Comeau/Haché family reunion where they all got to spend time together and get to know Jeannine. Maurice said it was a natural fit.
“Like we've known each other forever, you know."
With files from CBC News