Tapestry

The heartache and healing of finding my birth father

David Newland spent years searching for his birth father and what he found changed his outlook on life.
Memorial Garden in Red Deer Alberta (David Newland)
Listen18:50

"There's a path that led to you. Your path doesn't start with you. Your path includes every ancestor you've ever had. It has to." - David Newland

David Newland was adopted when he was three months old. Though his was a happy family, David never quite felt that he fit. He was drawn to a more free-spirited, artistic lifestyle.

When he was in his early 20s, after his first marriage ended​ and he was living far from his own daughter​, Newland put in a request to find his birth parents. ​Years later, the adoption agency put him in contact with his birth father​, who he discovered had been a hippie ​back ​in the 1960s.

David Newland casts a shadow over his birth-father's memorial site (David Newland)

"Growing up, my mom always told me I should have been 19 in 1969 - and it turns out my birth father was 19 in 1969." - David Newland

When David eventually spoke to his birth father on the phone - the only contact they ever had - the conversation was challenging. Though he was charming and friendly, David's birth father was also honest about the hardships in his life. He admitted to struggling with hard drugs and difficult relationships.

David felt his birth father personified the "dark shadows" David had fought within himself.

"What happens if your ancestors aren't shining portraits above the mantelpiece? They're people who just got you to this generation. That might be all they were able to do. They just struggled down the tide of history just to get you here. "

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.