Nfld. & Labrador

Ontario man 'overwhelmed' after N.L.-based search for birth mother goes viral

An Ontario man is using Facebook to reach out to Newfoundlanders in a quest to help him find his birth mother.

Yvan Chenier hopeful social media can help end lifelong search

Yvan Chenier is using Facebook to help find the woman who gave birth to him in St. John's on Feb. 1, 1975.

An Ontario man is using Facebook to reach out to Newfoundlanders in a quest to help him find his birth mother.

Yvan Chenier, who now lives in Sudbury, Ontario, posted a note on Facebook sharing what he knows about his birth mother earlier last year. In the months that have followed, the post has gone viral and been shared nearly 40,000 times.

Chenier said he was born in St. John's on Feb. 1, 1975 to a woman he was told was either in her late teens or early 20s at the time.

He also knew that his birth mother's father owned a bakery in a small town near St. John's, and that she had seven sisters. He was the first boy born into their family. 

After seeing a friend have success using Facebook to find their birth mother, and finding his case overwhelmed with red tape at Children's Aid, Chenier decided to give social media a try.

"I figured I'd share the story and hit click and from there the response has been overwhelming," he said.

He wants to meet his mother for all the reasons you might expect; to see the person who gave him life, and see a piece of himself reflected in another human being.

"When I first started doing my research it was to find someone who looked like me," he said.

"I would look at my cousin and I would see his mother, my aunt and I would look at my family members and they would all look alike and I said 'wow I want that'."

Time is running out

At 40 years old and with a small child, Chenier would like to have the chance to meet his mother while he still might be able to, and find out a bit more about his biological family's medical history as he gets older.

Yvan Chenier, pictured here with his son, says that he is optimistic that he will be able to find his birth mother. (Submitted )

Although he's never returned to the island in the time since he was adopted at six months old, Chenier said he's thankful for the help he has received from Newfoundlanders who have shared his post.

"What they say about Newfoundlanders and people on the East Coast, how friendly they are — it's true," he said. "I've got places to stay when I go there and these are just people I've met on social media."

Every share helps

Chenier said that every little bit helps when it comes to sharing his story, and he's hopeful that it will help him reconnect with his birth mother.

"It's something so simple," he said. "You never know right. It's a long shot, but it's a shot nonetheless."

Ever since he was little, he's been replaying what might happen if he gets the chance to come face-to-face with his mom.

"I think just … a big hug. I'm sure I would have some tears," said Chenier.

"I don't know what I'd say … 'nice to meet you'. That I'm okay and I understand. I just want to let them know that I'm not mad or anything like that."

By sharing his story online using social media,  he's hoping to get a resolution to a question that has been plaguing him since he was a young boy.

"I've been carrying this for a very long time."


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