Adopted woman, biological mother reunited after 45 years

A woman in Halifax wasn't expecting to find out about her birth mother while visiting a bar one night, but that's just how things unfolded for a woman raised in Corner Brook.
Biological mother Elizabeth Grinham, centre, and her daughter Lisa Braye, right, were reunited in October after 45 years apart. Loretta Grinham Noble, left, is Braye's sister. (Courtesy of Lisa Braye)

A woman in Halifax wasn't expecting to find out about her birth mother while visiting a bar one night, but that's just how things unfolded for Lisa Braye. 

Braye, 45, was raised by a family in Corner Brook, in western Newfoundland, after being put up for adoption by her mother in St. Anthony. She has been living in Nova Scotia for 28 years.

Braye had been looking for information about her biological mother for some time.

She lucked out when she overheard a conversation at a pub, and realized the woman was from Newfoundland. 

"I always ask, 'OK, what part of Newfoundland are you from?' and they told me St. Anthony," Braye said.

When Braye told the woman what she knew about her birth mother, including the woman's surname, there was a bit of shock. The woman asked to know when Braye was born, and how old her mother might be. 

"She said, 'I'm 90 per cent sure … that my best friend is your birth mother.'"

They exchanged phone numbers and within a short amount of time, she was in touch with her biological mother, Elizabeth Grinham.

Unanswered questions

Braye said she was happy that she was finally getting in touch with her biological family, and was hopeful to get answers to questions she's been asking herself for a long time.

Lisa Braye was just a baby when this photo of her in foster care was taken. (Submitted photo)

"The very first question I had of course was, 'Why.' I think every adopted child wants to know that, and once she explained to me the reason why, I was OK with that — I totally understand," Braye said.

"I had just wanted to let her know that I did not hate her in any way, shape or form for giving me up because I had a great life with the family I was adopted with."

Grinham said it was an emotional experience to have her daughter contact her after all these years, as she and her family had been trying to find her for years.

"It was really, really exciting, and I was crying and shaking," Grinham said. 

"I don't think I said much to her at that time because I was very happy, but I was shaken that much that I didn't know what to say to her."

According to Grinham, the day they finally met isn't something she'll forget.

"That was the happiest day of my life, I think," she said. "We were looking for her for 15 years now … but first when I [saw] her, I didn't know what to do. I just stood up and looked at her."

Tough decisions

Lisa Braye was reunited with biological mother Elizabeth Grinham, seen here, but she has never found her birth father Wilson Osmond of Pelly's Island. (Submitted photo)

Grinham said giving her daughter up for adoption was never something she wanted, but she thought it was the best way to give her child the life she deserved.

"I was 19 years old, and when I found out I was pregnant I phoned her father, her biological dad, and told him and he said it wasn't his child," she said.

"So I phoned my mom and said could I stay with her, and she said no. So I didn't have nowhere to go, so I said, 'I got to give her up.' "

Grinham said she's hopeful there's a bright future for her and Braye.

"I hope she accepts me not as her mom, but as her friend, because I know her mom is the lady that reared her up, but I hope we have a good relationship from here on," Grinham said.

"I always had a void missing — I used to go around the floor talking to myself saying, 'I wonder where she's at, if she's OK.' Especially on her birthday … I wouldn't want anybody to give away their children, to go through what I went through."

Braye said she finally has a larger sense of who she is, and that she's looking forward to moving on with her new relationship with Grinham.

"With me, it's been like a void that's been missing in my life. All these questions, medical questions and everything, and the reason why, and now it's like I'm fulfilled."


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