They’ve been half siblings for 37 years, but they didn’t know each other for 36 of them.
Born from the same mother nearly five years apart, Teena Post and Andrew Mathieu were both adopted as babies to different sets of parents.
Post was born and raised in the Sault, while Mathieu grew up in North Bay.
In 2010, Post learned through documentation that she had a half sibling out in the world somewhere, which sparked the beginning of what would end up being a 12-year search for her long-lost brother.
“I hit a lot of hurdles and walls,” she says. “I ended up meeting some family members through my biological mom’s side. I met with them around seven years ago and got more information.”
“At that time, I nicely stated that if anyone ever came looking for me, to please give them my name,” she adds.
Meanwhile, Mathieu became interested in learning more about his family tree about a year and a half ago, not knowing that he had a half sibling.
“I logged into ancestry and started digging and looking for information,” he says. “You submit your DNA, and your matches start piling up. It’s like a puzzle.”
Soon after his results came up, Mathieu ran across the same blood relatives on his birth mother’s side who Post had spoken with years ago.
Once he got a hold of them, Mathieu’s blood relatives were able to provide him with his half sister’s name, and the long-awaited connection was finally established.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think my search would lead to a new relationship like this,” he says.
“I contacted Teena through text and I said, ‘I’m your brother.’ It was obviously a shock. We organized a time to meet, and I drove up to the Sault in October to meet her.”
“When we met for the first time, he stayed at our home for three days,” Post adds. “When he pulled into my driveway for the first time, he got out of the car, and I just hugged him. I didn’t let go. It’s like our hearts just connected instantly. It was magical.”
“Knowing someone was out there and not knowing where they were was a really tough place to be,” she adds. “When he actually messaged me and indicated who he was, I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
At birth, both of their names were different than what they are today, so neither sibling had any name trace to go off when conducting their search for each other.
“When you go through adoption papers and go through the government, your birth name is on your documents,” Post explains. “When you physically get adopted, your adopted family can change your names.”
“It’s a miracle we crossed paths,” she adds. “If we didn’t run into the same family members, we never would have found each other. It’s an absolute miracle.”
At 42 years of age, Post is a stay-at-home mom, married with two kids, and owns a small business in the Sault.
Mathieu, 37 years old, is married and has one daughter, and he now lives in Ottawa working as a contractor for the Department of National Defense.
Since Mathieu grew up as an only child in his adopted home, the discovery of his half sister also meant that he’s now an uncle to a 12-year-old niece and a 16-year-old nephew.
“It’s been warm and welcoming to find new family and to learn new things about each other,” Post says. “All of our family is really excited, and it’s nice to see another branch added to our tree.”
“It’s all new, but you have to start somewhere,” Mathieu adds.
Mathieu came up to the Sault for the second time this past weekend to spend more time with Post.
The two of them snowshoed at the Chocolate Express fundraiser in support of ARCH on Sunday, which was the first event they’ve ever done together as brother and sister after confirming their DNA results.
“I’ve done the event every year since they started,” Post says. “My dad passed away at ARCH, so the event holds a special place in my heart.”
“Andrew and I were speaking on the phone about the event back in November, and next thing I know, he sends me a message saying he booked a flight and that he was coming.”
“He flew in from Ottawa just to do this event with me.”
Post says she’s also hoping to make a trip down to Ottawa during the summer to meet Mathieu’s wife and daughter for the first time.
While it took years to find one another, the half siblings urge anyone with long-lost relatives to remain persistent in their journey to connect with their family.
“I would tell them to absolutely not give up,” Mathieu says. “I know these ancestry sites get misconceptions. In this day and age, there are ways of finding people. You might hit a wall, and it might take years to find people, but there are ways to find them.”
“We want to thank all the family members that helped us find each other,” Post adds. “It takes time to find people, and I’m so grateful for it.”