Alberta family reunited 70 years after oldest brother put up for adoption
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Calgary’s Kevin Fleming
Published Sunday, January 13, 2019 9:11PM EST
After 70 years of living only hours apart, an Alberta man is finally meeting the brothers and sisters he didn’t know he had.
Born out of wedlock in 1939, Bob Elfstedt was put up for adoption when he was only three months old.
“When you think back… ‘38 when [his mother] became pregnant, ’39 when she had me…it was like painting her purple. Not to her, but to her mom and dad,” Elfstedt told CTV Calgary. “Why else would you have to give someone up at three months old?”
His parents later married and had four other children, but never mentioned Bob to any of them.
Elfstedt says that he’s always hoped to find out more about his birth family, but had no luck until recently.
After joining Ancestry.ca, Elfstedt says they managed to put him on the right track in a matter of days – discovering not only that he does have family, but that many of them still live nearby.
He reached out, making a call to his younger sister Sherri first.
“I've thought all my life, how do you start this conversation?” he said. “So I said, ‘I got the name from the guy who gave it to me’, and she said ‘that's me’, I told her ‘I'm not a salesman, please don't hang up on me.”
After hearing the news, Sherri immediately called her other siblings, Sheila, Shirley, and Eugene, and put Elfstedt in touch with Eugene, his younger brother by five years.
“We had no inkling that we ever had a brother,” Eugene Jackson said. “If we’d have known we had a sibling out there, we’d have been hunting for him.”
The siblings say that there was an almost instant connection between them when they started speaking over the phone.
“After he phoned, and I talked to him, it's like I felt like I knew him already,” Sheila Jackson said. “So that's got to be a genetic thing right there.”
The siblings reunited for the first time in Olds, Alberta on Jan. 12, with Shirley flying in from Nova Scotia for the reunion.
“Seeing him this morning was very emotional, I've talked to him on the phone a couple times, but I didn't know that I'd react like that when I seen [sic] him,” Shirley Jackson laughed.
Though there are still DNA tests to be done, the family says that they’re glad to be reunited.
“It's probably the best thing that's happened to me, I've never been so high in happiness, all my life I've wondered, and it's no more wondering,” Elfstedt said. “There they are right in front of me, and they're alive, this is the best thing that ever happened.”
The siblings say that now that they’re back together, they hope to make up for lost time.
“We’ve got a lot of years to catch up on,” Eugene said. “We’re going to be busy for a while.”