It’s not every day you get to meet members of your family for the very first time.
In November 1978, 18 year-old Edna Tom of Kamloops was on the verge of giving birth to a baby girl, but she knew at the time she could not raise a child on her own.
Edna made the difficult decision to give her baby up for adoption to give her a chance at a life she could not provide. Thirty-eight years later, Edna finally got the chance to meet her daughter, Jenny Bontron, in person for the first time on Tuesday evening in Kamloops.
It all started back in 2010 when Edna put out a post on Facebook with Jenny’s picture. Now, years later after the post was shared, they were able to connect in September and plan a time to meet up for the very first time. “I had a really great life so the fact that my mother was strong enough to give me up to a family that she didn’t know, it must have been hard for her,” Jenny said. “I had a really great life, parents who really loved me and were my best friend.”
On Saturday, Bontron was fortunate enough to have a close friend pay for a flight to Prince George where she reunited at the airport with her biological brother, Jonathan Tom and her father, Stanley Tom for the very first time.
Jenny says it’s a dream come true. “It’s kind of crazy, it’s been a whirlwind trip that happened last minute,” she said. “I’m so happy to meet everybody just to see what kind of connection there is and how much is already there.”
She added that getting off the plane was a lot to take in at first. “It’s overwhelming in a really nice way to feel butterflies in your stomach and to meet someone that you’re biologically connected to that you’ve never met.” Another meet and greet is set to follow later Saturday with Jenny’s two other biological brothers who were not able to make it to the airport by the time she landed in Prince George.
As for Stanley, he described for us a defining moment in his life where he finally got to hold his daughter in his arms. “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, these last three days I haven’t been sleeping and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just like a rush went over me and it’s the first time I’ve seen her, it was pretty emotional.”
The feeling is no different for Jonathan who was overcome with emotions to finally meet the sister he had heard about growing up. “I knew about her since I was young, my dad told us about her, but then finally meeting her makes me happy to know we do have a sister and we can get to know her now.”
As the three walked away from the airport, Jenny, who now works as an office manager in Ottawa was already making plans to come again for a visit. She left us with a simple message that her mother told her before she left for Prince George. “Don’t give up on trying to find someone that you think you can’t, just don’t give up, and keep trying.”
***With Files From CFJC Kamloops