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She took a DNA test to find out her heritage. What she found was a decades-old secret her mother never planned to share

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In a quest to confirm an Indigenous strand in her ancestry, a 63-year-old woman discovered something else: her twin brothers she never knew existed, who lived only a drive away.

CTV News asked readers to share their experiences with 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage and other genealogy websites. These websites surfaced stories of uncovering family secrets, locating long-lost relatives and exploring family trees. Nearly 100 people responded to our callout.

One of those was Pam Currie, who resides in Esterhazy, Sask.

Curious about her ethnicity and looking to validate the Indigenous background her grandmother spoke briefly about, Currie joined Ancestry.ca in 2009. But it wasn't until December 2018 that Currie's husband, Paul, decided it was time for her to do the site's DNA test.

The results came back two months later, and Currie received a five per cent Indigenous match.

When DNA is submitted, Currie explained, the genealogy site notifies you of any matches with other members of the site, and gives information on that connection, such as whether a match is a first, second or third cousin.

"I recognized lots of names there. It was funny, I just had a feeling of trepidation about doing it. I was kind of scared because you just never know what you're going to find," Currie said in an interview with CTVNews.ca.

Every once in a while, Currie said, a notification would let her know of new matches. 

Then, in June 2019, a notification popped up that said "immediate sibling."

"I was in shock," Currie said.

A man named Todd explained that he and his twin brother, Scott, were her biological siblings who had been given up for adoption and were now looking for their family.

With more questions needing answers, Todd sent Currie an adoption document written by a social worker, which described their mother, Shirley.

Currie remembered reading the document and immediately recognizing that it was her mother. As for the father's descriptions on the form, Currie described them as "a mess," saying they didn't match her father, Chic.

"I assumed it was my mom's boyfriend at the time when (my parents) had split up," Currie said. She later learned this assumption was wrong. She and the twins had the same father as well.

A shocking discovery

Currie said her parents got married in 1960 and split 10 years later, after having three children.

Raised in Bienfait, Sask., Currie, her brother, Kelly, and sister, Teresa, stayed with their dad for three years while their mom was gone. Currie said her mother "needed to find herself" during this time apart.

While separated, Currie said, her parents tried to reconcile. Currie didn't know it at the time, but her mom became pregnant with the twins while her parents worked on their relationship. They decided to give the babies up for adoption, and Currie didn't find out about the twins until Todd sent her a message.

All Currie knew was that her mother returned.

"We got our family back together and had a wonderful, loving, happy family for 40 years."

Decades after her parents reconciled, Currie faced what she called the "emotional part." After receiving Todd's message, she asked herself, "How do I confront my mom?"

A teary-eyed Currie said she explained to her mom what the ancestry kit revealed, and the twins' interest in meeting them. Then, her mother broke down.

"She was very sad this had happened, (but) she was very excited we found each other," Currie said.

Pam Currie's parents and long-lost twin brothers are seen in the above image after reuniting. From left to right, Todd, Shirley, Chic, and Scott. (Photo provided by Pam Currie)

Currie says her mom hadn't planned to tell anybody about the adoption, but when the siblings found out about each other, she changed her mind about how she felt.

"The fact that she was going to keep this secret for [her] dying days, she was instantly excited," Currie said.

When they rounded up the family and revealed the news of their long-lost siblings, Currie said, her dad was initially hesitant. But he came around, and her brother and sister were excited.

Family reunion

Currie said she spoke to her twin brothers on Skype and by text message in the three weeks before their big reunion.

She found out the twins, Todd and Scott, lived in Moose Jaw, Sask., just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from their biological parents.

That drive to the twins' home was filled with feelings of caution and anticipation, Currie said.

"The Older I Get" by Alan Jackson, a country song about learning what matters most as you get older, played in the background during that drive, she recalled.

When they arrived, a friend and photographer who lived next door to the twins captured the emotional moments.

Pam Currie and her brother, Todd, embrace during their family reunion. (Photo provided by Pam Currie)

Pam Currie's mother, Shirley, shares an emotional reunion with her sons, Todd and Scott. (Photo provided by Pam Currie)

And while they were strangers, some things clicked right away.

"We are a family of lip kissers. When we went to meet these men that we've never met before, it was an automatic kiss on the lips. It was pretty fabulous," Currie said.

"They made Dad and Kelly T-shirts. They made us a cake that had our little family of seven little stickmen on it," Currie said.

Pam Currie's father, Chic, and brother, Kelly, pose for a picture during the family reunion. The twin brothers made T-shirts for them. (Photo provided by Pam Currie)

Currie said this was the start of many family get-togethers, and they were soon driving out to visit the twins every other week.

Life-long memories

As suggested by her sister-in-law, Currie and her siblings decided to audition for Family Feud, and taped an episode in December 2019.

"The dynamics between the two of them and the three of us, it just felt like they were our siblings. We instantly had those connections. (That) joking atmosphere you have with your family."

"We're making new memories," Currie said.

Pam Currie and her siblings on Family Feud (Photo provided by Pam Currie)

She said their first Christmas together was just the seven of them.

"We just wanted to experience a Christmas together. My sister bought us a Christmas tree, all the decorations and Christmas sweaters."

Currie said they had a sleepover at their parents' home.

"Todd phones Mom and Dad every night to have a conversation about how their day was. He's very sad that he missed out on our life. Does he have any animosity? No, none at all. Neither does Scott," Currie said.

Currie said the family gets together monthly but not all together at the same time.

When asked about how she may never have met her twin brothers if she didn't take the DNA test, Currie said, "It does make me sad. The fact that my mom would have lived with that secret all her life is heartbreaking. She can live with the rest of our lives fulfilled now. I'm glad I did it. There's no regrets."

Currie urges those curious about their genealogy and considering taking a similar test to "just do it."

"You're going to either have a good relationship with these people, or you're going to realize that no, you don't want the disruption in your life, then you just choose not to do it," Currie said.

As for Currie and her newfound family, their happy-ending story continues.

CTV News asked readers to share their discoveries after using 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage and other genealogy websites. These websites surfaced stories of uncovering family secrets, locating long-lost relatives and exploring family trees. More than 100 people responded to our callout.

Visit CTVNews.ca Monday mornings to read the latest in our DNA Diaries series.

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