Almost three decades after she found what she thought was her birth family, 70-year-old Jeannine Haché of Pigeon Hill, N.B. has discovered she's not related to them at all — but is now happily getting to know her real biological siblings.
Haché, adopted at birth, started searching for her biological family in 1975, and found them with information from a social worker. Although her birth mother, Léola Poirier, had died, Hache got to know her new siblings, and has been visiting the Hamilton family regularly in Saint John for 27 years.
'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.' — Maurice Comeau
But a phone call from a stranger late last year cast doubt on the information Haché was given all those years ago.
"He said, 'I don't suppose you are my sister?' and I said, 'Oh my God, who's speaking'?" Haché recalled.
It was Denis Comeau of Atholville, one of three siblings who had recently been told their mother had given a baby up for adoption before they were born.
Checking the facts
In early January, Denis' brother Maurice Comeau agreed to a DNA test to help Haché find her true biological family.
The findings came back 92 per cent positive that the two are siblings, Maurice Comeau said, remembering the looks of shock from his brother and sister.
"Their face just kind of went blank for 30 seconds," Comeau said.
Then they called Haché, who started to cry.
"I said, 'Look Jeannine, this is a beautiful thing, it's beautiful," Comeau recalled.
Meeting for the first time
The group decided to meet in March, but Maurice Comeau couldn't 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 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, the whole family rented cottages in Caraquet, and got to know one another. Comeau said it was a natural fit.
"Like we've known each other forever, you know."
For Haché, the new information was bittersweet. She waited a week before breaking the news to the Hamilton family, to whom she'd grown very close.
"They cried, they didn't believe it."
"I was in shock for one month, I couldn't sleep. Twenty-seven years I had the Hamilton family, that's a long time," Haché said.
After digging deeper into government documents, Haché still isn't sure why Léola Poirier is listed as her mother. She's been told there are more documents pertaining to her adoption, but they've been sealed by the court.
Haché said she called a lawyer to see what it would take to have them opened, but was told it would be more than $1,000.
She's curious about what information is in the documents, but doesn't plan to pursue the matter further.