Bruce Hauck, 47, found his birth mother through social media just one day after her death. It was a sad end to his 25-year search. His biological mother, Melina Foote, 65, had died from a heart attack. “That’s the way it played out. Not the fairy tale ending that everyone that is adopted would prefer or certainly want. It was a brutal reality,” Hauck says.

On January 5, 1971, Melina gave birth in St. Anthony, Newfoundland to a baby boy, known then by the name Bruce Pollard. She was 19 at the time, and her mother did not approve of her situation. It was clear that she would have no support system, so she placed him for adoption. Baby Bruce spent six months in foster care before being adopted by Mina and David Hauck. The couple had been unable to conceive, but knew that were ready to start a family. They took the boy to central Ontario to raise him.

When Hauck was 13 he found a bin full of adoption documents from St. Anthony. When he confronted his parents, they admitted he was adopted. His decided that day that he would find his birth mother. The only real details he had were the name of the town he was born in, and that his biological mother had one arm that was permanently disfigured after suffering from polio.

Later in life, Melina married and had two children, Natasha and Andre. She raised her family about four hours away from Hauck’s home. One time she had visited her cousin for week, who lived just one block away. She never forgot about Bruce. In fact, she celebrated his birthday every year, sometimes with cake.

Not long ago, Hauck joined the Facebook group Newfoundland & Labrador Adoptees. He posted all the info he had and hoped for the best. Someone in the group recognized the information and contacted a member of his birth family. Hauck received a message from his cousin, Melvin Pollard. He said he had info for him and added, “Time is of the essence.” Melvin put Hauck in touch with another cousin, Murdock. When they met in person, he learned that Melina had passed away the day before.

His cousins invited him to the funeral so he could see his birth mother for the first and last time. She was buried with the fresh tears of her long-lost son atop her casket. “You spend half of your natural life trying to do a thing and suddenly the moment is thrust upon you, albeit in not a truly happy ending – but I got to see her face, I got to kiss her forehead, I got to hold her hand, I got to whisper what I wanted to in her ear to send her off,” Hauck said.

Although the experience was not as he hoped, he feels fortunate to have this new family and the memories of her that live on in their stories.