Gina McClelland grew up as an solely youngster in Scarborough, Ont., not figuring out something about her organic father, besides his title.
She looked for him on Google for years, with few outcomes.
Then, someday in 2008, a photograph caught her consideration. It was of a person, Larry Cooper, who labored for an actual property firm within the Dominican Republic. His bio stated he’d moved from Canada to start out a brand new life.
“There was something about his picture that looked like one of my daughters,” McClelland, 46, informed CBC News.
On a whim, she emailed him.
“The next morning I got a response,” McClelland stated. “‘Yes, I am your father.'”
She knew it was true due to her childhood nickname, Mouse.
“[My father] didn’t know me by my name because he had taken off before I was named. And at the end of [Cooper’s] email it said, ‘Thanks for contacting me mouse.'”
Almost a decade later, with the assistance of a DNA check and a few of her personal investigative work, McClelland has additionally discovered three paternal sisters round Ontario and a brother from the Dominican Republic.
After McClelland linked with Cooper, they met in Toronto. They talked for hours and he informed her she had two sisters and a brother, however would not share their final names.
He later pitched the concept of getting everybody meet within the Dominican Republic.
But as months glided by, McClelland thought one thing may need gone improper.
“I had this feeling like, maybe the sucker’s dead. So I Google his name and his obituary came up,” she stated. Cooper was useless, at 60, three years after discovering his daughter.
But McClelland additionally observed a remark from a girl in search of particulars on how Cooper, her father, had died.
That’s how McClelland discovered her sister, Wendy Gray, 51, from Courtice, Ont.
“And then she told my younger sister Laura [Cooper] about me,” McClelland stated. Each of the ladies had a unique mom.
For Gray, the shock was mutual.
Her father had informed her about Laura, 39, who now lives in Kingston, Ont., and her brother within the Dominican of their sporadic conferences rising up. But McClelland was a shock.
“It’s exciting now. Once you come to the realization that it’s true and it’s hard to believe … Now we’re just trying to catch up,” Gray stated.
Another shock sister
The siblings bought to know one another, even took journeys collectively, however their story wasn’t over.
For Christmas 2017, McClelland’s youngsters purchased her a DNA family tree check.
McClelland says she did not anticipate to study something extra from the check, however when the outcomes got here again, she bought fairly a shock.
“It comes up that you have a sibling match. And I’m like, ‘What?'”
She contacted Bridgette Currie, her match, in early 2019. The Oakville, Ont., lady additionally grew up in Toronto and is simply 9 days older than McClelland.
Currie by no means knew her organic mom, and believed she was raised by her organic father.
“That left me kind of wondering, ‘OK, wait, what’s going on here?’ I thought I knew who my dad was,” Currie stated.
“I wanted to get some more testing just to confirm that we were related because I was a little hesitant at first.”
The man Currie grew up with had died just a few months prior, so she turned to surviving relations. Through a number of different blood exams with them and her newfound sisters, they found Cooper was, in actual fact, her organic father.
“We don’t know a lot of answers from how I ended up with, you know, the man who I thought was my father,” she stated. “I kind of connected with Wendy and Gina within a year of my dad’s passing. So for me it was nice … to have family around me.”
“From the first time we met, we all clicked and we have so much in common. It’s kind of scary, actually.”
The revelations have given the siblings so much to work via, however they’ve all begun to bond.
The sisters went on a cottage journey collectively this summer time. They additionally bought matching tattoos. And they plan to welcome their brother to Canada for a go to — which is very thrilling for Currie.
“It’ll be nice to meet him. The last piece of the puzzle,” she stated.
As for his or her father, McClelland nonetheless has a number of unanswered questions.
“I always wanted to know where I came from,” McClelland stated.
“Not knowing my dad was like this cloud that hung over me my whole life … but meeting them has helped me understand myself.”