Two half-siblings living thousands of kilometers apart met for the first time this week in Halifax after a decade of searching and DNA matching.
“I was so happy to see him, and to know he was real,” said Debbie Martin, who recently lived in Winnipeg, Mann. For the first time, John flew to meet Colin Brown of NS River.
“I just hope that we can be like brothers and sisters and have a good relationship with our family.”
The two half-siblings did not know about each other’s existence until about a year ago in the 70s.
Martin’s daughter, Twyla Woake, said she always suspected that Martin’s father was not her biological father and joined Ancestry.com about 10 years ago while searching for the truth.
Over the years, he received a few hits from distant relatives who lived in Nova Scotia – strange, as he had no known ties to Nova Scotia before.
“Now we do,” said Wok with a laugh.
But last year, he found a close match for Martin’s biological niece — Brown’s daughter — in Nova Scotia. From there, they were able to piece together that Brown was Martin’s long-lost brother.
Woake said that Martin and Brown’s father were from Nova Scotia and went to Manitoba as a circus performer. He ended up working for Martin’s parents for some time on their family farm.
Martin said that his sister once told him that the only time he had seen his father mad was when he had a fight with a Nova Scotia farmhand.
“I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, and nine months later you were born,'” said Martin.
‘A whole new branch for my tree’
Woake said it felt good to finally close the book on the mystery and is excited to spend time with a side of the family she didn’t know before.
“It was quite amazing. We thought there must be someone there, and it took us a long time to find him,” she said.
“It was one of those moments I waited for because I wanted to do this for my mom. It feels amazing to have a whole new branch in my tree.”
‘It’s like a dream come true’: Genetic testing leads to emotional father-daughter reunion
Before meeting Martin at the airport, Brown said he felt “nervous,” but it melted away as he smiled ear-to-ear while hugging his long-lost brother for the first time.
Since connecting online last year, the siblings say their relationship is already “100 percent.”
“We’ve texted back and forth for a year now, and it’s been great. We’re alike in many ways,” Martin said.
Martin and Brown, along with their partners and children, will travel to the Maritimes together for the next two weeks and capture decades of lost time.
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