It’s a family reunion Carley Lahaise has been waiting 83 years for.
The Vancouver woman adopted at birth recently submitted her DNA to Ancestry.ca only to discover she had family in southwestern Ontario.
Lahaise — who turned 83 on Thursday — learned her mother, who was a teen when she gave birth to her, and father later married and had seven more children together.
Four of the seven siblings have since died, along with Lahaise’s birth parents. But two sisters and a brother are still alive in southwestern Ontario.
A family reunion is scheduled for Saturday in St. Thomas, but first, Lahaise and her younger sister Norma Philips shared their experience on The Craig Needles Show.
Philips said she only learned she had an older sister about 17 years ago; her mother told the secret to her brother and had him promise not to tell until after she died but they still didn’t have a name or location for their older sister.
Then in May, Lahaise reached out to them.
“From May until now, it was like you were kind of living in a dream, watching TV — you were watching a television program that had an ending coming,” said Philips.
“Now the ending’s here,” said Needles.
“We found out it was just a beginning,” said Lahaise, and Philips agreed, adding that it’s nice to now be a younger sister instead of the oldest.
“The boss came home,” Philips joked, “it’s been absolutely fantastic. We are so much alike and have so much in common it’s like we’ve known each other our whole lives.”
Lahaise added that it’s been fun to see the traits and characteristics in her birth family that she sees in her own children and grandchildren.
“Like apparently, my mother was a great cake baker and my daughter does that and sells them, my granddaughter — (my son’s) daughter — she makes all these things.”
“My daughter Darlene does too,” Philips added.
“And it comes from grandma,” said Lahaise.
While it’s been a long wait to meet, Lahaise has no complaints.
“I had a good life, they had a good life, it’s just we didn’t have it together. I would’ve loved, oh, if we had known each other…”
“Back then,” Philips supplied.
Lahaise laughed, “this town wouldn’t have been the same!”
— with files from Global News reporter Catherine Urquhart