The story of long-lost sisters reunited by a DNA test still melts hearts
Two New Brunswick women that were adopted as babies were recently reunited as sisters, after taking a DNA test two years apart. They are now building a relationship at 89 and 87-year-old.
Betty McMurray and her sister Gladys Craig were born on Prince Edward Island during the Great Depression. It was hard times for their mother, who sent them to a home for infants run by the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception in Saint John, where they were put up for adoption.
From there one, the siblings’ lives would take different courses, and they only discovered each other’s existence eight decades later.
"I pretended. I lived my life as if she was my sister, but I knew different."
BETTY’S SIDE OF THE STORY
McMurray, 89, was 18-months-old when she was adopted by Andrew and Mary Frances McMurray of Bathurst from St. Vincent's Orphanage. McMurray said of her parents that they were wonderful and did everything for her to be happy.
She was raised as an only child, and longed for a brother or sister but never got one. While McMurray was happy, she was bothered one of her classmates called her “adopted,” and even though she confronted her parents about the claim, they denied. “I couldn't get any proof," she said.
"But it bothered me."
At 45, she had to ask her mother for a birth certificate to process her pension documents. That’s when she discovered the truth. But McMurray chose not to ask about her biological relatives out of respect for the man and woman that raised her.
She never married but had a successful career, a loving family and some loyal friends.
GLADY’S SIDE OF THE STORY
Gladys Craig had a bit of luck. She was adopted by her maternal grandparents, Frank and Mary-Ann Gaudet. She was raised as the couple’s child and was made believe that her aunts and unless were her siblings.
Even her mother, who lived in Charlottetown and sometimes visited, posed as her older sister. But Craig knew something was fishy, and once rummaging around the house, she found her Baptismal certificate, where it stated who her mother was.
"I never said anything," Craig said. "I pretended. I lived my life as if she was my sister, but I knew different."
Then, when she turned 18, one of her aunts told her the truth and revealed that her mother had put another baby for adoption before she was born. “We started looking at one point for this person, but it never came up," Craig recalled. "We tried several times at the orphanage and different places, but we couldn't find her."
She married Danny Craig, a member of the Canadian Army, and had three kids.
THE DNA TEST
Craig and McMurray lived in opposite sides of New Brunswick for years, one in Saint John and the other in Bathurst.
In 2016, McMurray’s friend, Sharon Gillis, convinced her to take a DNA test and see if she could find a relative, but there were no matches available. "I said, 'I wasn't under a cabbage leaf. There had to be somebody, somewhere,'" Craig stated.
Two years later, Craig’s family got her a DNA kit for Mother’s Day, setting the encounter in motion without imagining it.
After getting the results, Sharon Gillis contacted Craig, and they set up to meet with McMurray in Moncton. “We fell into one another's arms, hugged one another, and looked one another over to see if there was any resemblance," McMurray said. "We seem to get along really well."
The sisters have slowly eased into the other’s life. Visiting for the holidays and talking on the phone every week.
They also discovered with some additional investigation that they had five more half-siblings, but all of them are dead now.
“To be completely alone in the world as I am — it's been so many years that I didn't know them," said McMurray. "It gave me a different feeling, like that there was a connection. It's almost like a story I'm reading," she said. "But it's me, not just a fiction."
MORE SIBLINGS REUNITED
McMurray and Craig are only one of the dozens of people that have found long-lost family members after taking a DNA test. Is getting more and more common to hear about twins reunited, or a daughter connecting with her real dad and more.
Barbara Dameron and Lundy Maxwell, from Virginia, had a similar story.
They both were given up for adoption from a woman who said she couldn’t take of her kids.
Maxwell knew she had half-siblings from the biological parents she never met, but she sent her DNA test hoping to learn more about her medical history. However, when results came back stating she had a sister, Maxwell was ecstatic.
“I had always had that nagging space inside there; something was missing,” Maxwell said. “I was 61 when I realized I had a sister.”
Both women were nurses and later found out their mom was also one. They hold no grudges about the woman for her decisions and are planning on digging more about their family to learn more about the circumstances that pushed their mom to give them away.