KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops woman placed her son for adoption 43 years ago, and calls it the hardest decision she ever had to make — and with November being National Adoption Awareness month, she's reflecting on her story.
Sandy Bachmann was just shy of 18 when she gave birth to a baby boy in Burlington, Ont.
"He was born Sept. 15, 1974," Bachmann said. "I had no family support, I had no way of keeping Mark for myself, which is what I really, really wanted. But, I did what I felt I needed to do, and to give him the best upbringing was to give him up for adoption."
Her son, Mark Sears, was adopted by a loving couple who had adopted two other children before him.
Sears says he never had the desire to seek out his birth mom.
"If she hadn't have looked for me, I would not have looked for her," he said.
Once Sears turned 18, Bachmann applied to the Adoption Dislosure Registry in Ontario, hoping her son would also apply. He didn't.
"We did not have social media back then like Facebook or anything," Bachmann said, "so I did what I could do. I joined every birth mother seeking child group out there that I could, I belonged to several support groups, I used to put out newspaper adds: Birth mom looking for birth son born on such and such day at this hospital, both in the Hamilton Spectator and the Toronto Star."
None of Bachmann's efforts paid off until she enlisted the help of a company that looks for birth children and they found Mark.
"It was a weird feeling that you get coming over you," Sears said. "You don't think that's ever going to happen and it did. So, it felt really good."
Bachmann and Sears met in person this past May.
"I don't even think she got from around the car and she was crying already as she's coming up to me," Sears said. "We gave each other a big hug — I'm sure I shed a tear myself — and we just went from there."
Sears lost both of his adopted parents by the age of 18 and his older brother when he was 34.
Yet another tragedy two years ago left him with no reason to stay in Ontario.
"My wife (Marie) died two years ago and I raised a little girl by myself, and it was always our dream to move out here, me and Marie," Sears said.
"I have no family back in Ontario, and I gained a whole new family out here."
Sears moved to Kamloops with his daughter, Brooklyn, last month and is building on his relationship with his birth mother every day.
"I have a whole new family here, where family is all I ever wanted and I lost it all."
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