David Hjerto (centre right) meets his brother Richard (far left) and sister Robbin (far right) for the first time after reaching out to his biological mom Patsy (centre right) and reuniting with her. Contributed photo

Family reunion almost 50 years in the making

Adopted Norwegian man finds his biological mother in Endako.

“It is our fairytale ending,” said a mother after being reunited with the son she gave up over almost 50 years ago.

Earlier this year, an adopted man living in Norway who had been born in Smithers reached out to The Interior News looking for help to find his birth mother.

Forty-eight-year-old David Hjerto, whose birth name was David Bruce Parker, tried to reach out to her a couple of times over the years but either got cold feet or hit a wall in his research. He was finally ready to meet her, find out if he had any biological siblings and discover the reason he was given for adoption.

He had heard that his father had abused him and child services took him away. Hjerto would discover later, that wasn’t totally true.

After The Interior News ran an article with his story in it, someone called the office thinking she could be his sister — and that part was totally true. After contact information was exchanged, a DNA test was taken shortly afterwards. It was confirmed with 99 per cent certainty that David had found his biological mother and it didn’t take either of them long to decide to meet.

He flew into Canada two weeks ago and had a family reunion where he met his mother, brother and sister, which exceeded his expectations.

“There aren’t words for it but yeah … it was nice,” he said after meeting his mom. “It is much more than I hoped for. It feel liked a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

When Patsy Fleming learned that he was looking for her, she was in shock.

“My sister in Cranbrook first found out. It was her friend that sent her a copy of the article that ran in The Interior News. It took her three times to open the paper but when she [her sister] read it, she freaked out and phoned my daughter in Edmonton and tried to get her to tell me, but she wouldn’t. When my sister called me, I didn’t even know who it was at first, she was being all goofy and crying. But when I finally figured out what she was saying I went into shock. I had always said I would never try to find him; I felt I gave up that right when I gave him up. The fact that he was looking for me was overwhelming.”

Fleming, who lives in Endako, said meeting her son again was a God-given gift.

“He is just such a good man. He has had wonderful parents and he has had everything that I could have wished for him. The only thing for me that is hard is that I missed out on years, but at the same time I am much happier that he had a good life. It isn’t about me, it is about him,” she added.

“I am so grateful that the people that took him in are good people; his mom and dad are good people. He had every opportunity to grow and become the man that he is. He had an upbringing to be a good man, you can’t ask for more than that for your child, especially if you were never in a position to offer that for him.”

Hjerto has also learned a lot more about his childhood since arriving in Canada. He thought his father had hurt him and that was the reason he was taken away from his mom, but it was actually his mother’s boyfriend at the time. Fleming made the decision to give him up for adoption shortly before he turned two. He’s discovered that his dad is still alive and he’d like to meet him one day.

His family back in Norway is supportive of him meeting his Canadian family. He has left again to go back home to Norway but he plans on keeping in touch with his biological family and hopefully visit again soon.

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