Now Or Never

A long-lost dad and daughter meet after almost 40 years. Now what?

Ann and Art have found each other. But now, they have to figure out what their complicated relationship is going to look like.
Ann Robillard found her biological father Art Nefsky in 2016. (Art Nefsky)

Ann Robillard had always known that she was adopted. 

Art Nefsky had always wondered about the daughter he knew was out there somewhere. 

"Occasionally I would start fantasizing and thinking: 'what does she look like, what's she doing, is she healthy?'" he said.

"It seems to be very difficult for a parent to find a child, a little easier for the child perhaps to look up the parents."

After searching on and off throughout the years, Nefsky eventually stopped looking and hoped that one day his daughter would reach out. In 2016, she did. 

Robillard had a loving relationship with her adoptive parents. She had built herself a good life and a good career. But two years ago, she felt like something was missing — and decided to track down her biological parents, who had split up after she was born. 

Art Nefsky and his daughter Ann Robillard had quite the family resemblance when they were children. (Art Nefsky / Ann Robillard)

When she arrived at her father's doorstep, it was a big surprise. 

"My jaw dropped," he said. "I grabbed her. I gave her a hug. I went to a drawer and pulled out some pictures I had of her at three days old."

Ann Robillard found her biological father at the age of 40. (Art Nefsky)

"And then he started getting these tears in his eyes," recalled Robillard. "He stepped back for a moment and just looked at me."

"It was the most incredible moment I ever had in my life," said Nefsky. "I was in shock."

The two didn't waste any time starting the process of getting to know each other. Robillard even lived with Nefsky for a short period, after she decided to move to Toronto. 

Ann Robillard and her dad spending time together. (Art Nefsky)

But as often happens when offspring move back home for a while, things didn't go exactly as planned.

"When I was there it was great," explained Robillard. "It was like staying with a relative."

But both father and daughter said they eventually became overwhelmed.

"Am I her father? Are we friends? How do we act toward one another?" said Nefsky. "I could be pretty intense. I could come on strong because I want to know so much."

After a month living with her biological father, Robillard moved to a place of her own. 

"I'm happy to talk to you," she told him. "I'm happy to come have dinner now and then. I'll come to Passover, to Hanukkah. And I think that's all it's gonna be."

"We don't have to be in each other's faces all the time. That took some getting used to," he admitted. "But I can go back to being my eccentric, semi-reclusive self."

While Robillard and her father both know they have some figuring out to do, the pair are glad to be together after nearly four decades apart.