It was a moment Robert Bowles never thought would happen.
On Saturday, he met his half-sister, Marla Glazer, for the very first time, along with dozens of other family members whom he never even knew existed.
Bowles, who now lives in Calgary, was born in Montreal in 1957.
He was abandoned as an infant and eventually ended up with a foster family.
The 61-year-old says he has lived his life never giving too much thought to his birth parents.
That was until last fall, when he did a genealogy test and was matched with Glazer’s family.
“It was surreal, to say the least,” he said. “It was exciting, a little bit nervous, but exhilarating because this is something that I never expected.”
Glazer, who lives in Ottawa, says after having some conversations with some family members, she believes her father — who passed away years ago — likely had a relationship with another woman before her parents were married.
She doesn’t think her dad ever knew about Bowles.
“It was just very overwhelming to be in this kind of situation where all of a sudden you have a half-brother, which is crazy,” said Glazer.
Bowles never got the chance to meet his birth mother, either, who has also passed.
But, through Glazer, he now knows that he has four half-siblings on his father’s side as well as 45 cousins and over a dozen aunts and uncles.
“When I finally came to say hi to him, it was an interesting moment,” said Bowles’ half-brother, Or Glazer. “I felt like he was family right then and there.
Bowles already has plans to visit his siblings again this summer.
But for now, they say they’re going to soak in the moment — they have a lot of catching up to do.