The Current

Scott Riley and his improbable path to a decades-long goal

Riley waited half his life to be re-united with his birth parents - but he could never have predicted the shocking twist in store when he finally did so.
Canadian Scott Riley could never have expected what he'd find when he set out to find his birth parents. (Courtesy of Scott Riley)

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This segment is part of The Current's ongoing series, The Disruptors.

Scott Riley was adopted along with his twin brother at birth, in 1976. Their parents were teenagers, the pregnancy unintentional, and their families had pressured them to give up the twins. 

That was the last time Scott would see or hear from his parents for 38 years. 

Until relatively recently, the law made it impossible for him to find any official information about them. So Scott went through life in a state of constant yearning.

"I wanted to know obviously the classic, why was I adopted, what my family history was, did I have any other siblings out there, who they were as people," he says. "There was always a hole in my heart. I wanted to find out who I was, where I came from." 

Ontario's adoption laws changed in 2008 so that adopted children could request information about their birth parents. 

Scott filled out the paperwork and sent it off. His parents wrote back. They were happy to hear from him, and they wanted to meet him too. 

Or rather,  that's what Scott thought would happen. 

 "I was hoping for, I guess, the dream of any adopted person: that there would be a warm, welcome 'hello,' and 'it would be great to meet you.' And when I didn't hear a response after a while...I was crestfallen," he tells The Current.

Scott didn't realize at the time, but he had made a mistake on his return address when he was filling out his paperwork. It would be six more years before he was finally able to meet his parents. 

And that's when things get really shocking. 

Listen to the full story at the top of this web post. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli.