Calgary

Calgary man finds his biological father, only to realize he already knew him

After two years spent trying to discover his past, Jordan Solomon got more surprises than he'd planned for.

After 2 years spent trying to discover his past, Jordan Solomon got more surprises than he'd planned for

When the pandemic hit, Jordan Solomon kicked off his search for his biological father, not knowing where the search would lead him. (Jo Horwood/CBC)

Jordan Solomon always had a gut feeling he wasn't related to the man he was told was his father.

Then, at the beginning of 2020, while backpacking through Asia, Solomon received DNA results that finally confirmed that suspicion.

"It really threw me in for a loop," said Solomon.

"I was in Cambodia at the time, and I remember I was at a temple and that's when I had this feeling come over me that like, I think my real dad is alive."

When the pandemic hit, Solomon was back in Calgary. It was then he decided it was time to kick off his search for his biological father. 

I had papers everywhere. It was all over the floor.- Jordan Solomon, Calgary resident

He started with a blank sticky note, and for the next two years spent many late nights poring over family trees and genetic matches.

"It was nerve-racking, it was a lot of information," said Solomon. 

"I had papers everywhere. It was all over the floor."

Solomon, who is a father himself, was also attending university at the time, as well as working a full-time job. He said his search took a toll.

"It was very rough, but it was worth it," he said. 

A big part of his motivation stemmed from wanting his son to know who his grandfather was. 

"It was for the next generation."

A breakthrough

After going down a number of rabbit holes, Solomon finally got in touch with one of his online DNA matches, right before she boarded a cruise ship in Florida.

She told Solomon to call her daughter in Toronto, who had a detailed knowledge of their family tree. 

Solomon said that when she showed him her ancestry, it was like she gave him the last piece to a giant puzzle. 

"I was sitting in my economics class and … the hair on my arms stood up," said Solomon. 

He messaged the man he thought was his biological father on Facebook, who eventually took a paternity test and realized that Solomon was indeed his son.

Solomon admits that his search took its toll, but that he had to find out where he came from for his son's sake. (Jo Horwood/CBC)

But the surprises didn't end there.

Looking through his social media pictures, Solomon not only noticed the two shared a strong resemblance, but also pieced together that he had met the man before.

He said it blew his mind. The man was a former co-worker of Solomon, with whom he had worked for three or four years.

As it turns out, Solomon and his father, Roger Arsenault, had worked together in a New Brunswick mall years earlier. Solomon was a security guard and his father ran a store.

"There was something about him … I felt like I knew him," Arsenault said. 

Both men clearly recalled a day that Arsenault gave Solomon a friendly slap on the back and told him he was doing a good job. They said it was a moment of intuitive recognition that stuck with them throughout the years.

Since reconnecting, Solomon said his dad has taken on a very supportive role. 

"He turned out to be the dad that I thought he would be," said Solomon. 

"He took on that grandfather role pretty great."

Jordan Solomon and his father, Roger Arsenault, worked in a New Brunswick mall together years earlier. Arsenault said he lit up when he met his grandson for the first time. (Submitted by Jordan Solomon)

Arsenault said the experience has cemented his belief in destiny. He remembers meeting his grandson for the first time.

"My grandchild, his son, got on the video chat [and] he looks at me and he says, 'Can I call you Grampy?'" said Arsenault.

"I just lit up like you wouldn't believe."

With files from Jo Horwood

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