The Globe and Mail “First Person” project features many life stories that are captivating and empowering. For those who have experienced adoption, they know adoption can be painfully beautiful. For one woman featured by the project, the best day of her life was in the midst of this pain and the strength she found in the heartache of adoption reunion.

Kristine Quan grew up in a loving family, but her world was turned upside down at the tender age of 3. When her brother, then 6, was told he was adopted, he revealed to Kristine that she too was adopted. While he meant no harm, this led to a lifetime of doubt and question of self-worth for Kristine.

For Kristine and her family, adoption became, in a sense, a dirty word. It brought on anger and resentment. Kristine details how they simply did not know how to cope with adoption as a family. This led Kristine to fantasize about her birth mother, as many adoptees often do when their identity is shrouded in mystery.

Kristine recalled her fantasies starting, “In my perfect imaginary world, I was a ballerina with a unicorn and the most wonderful, beautiful mother ever. Over the years, I gave up on the unicorn and becoming a ballerina, but never at any point did I stop having the most wonderful and beautiful mother ever, somewhere out there, missing me as much as I missed her. I spent years researching and reading everything I could get my hands on about adoption reunions, preparing myself for the journey I knew I would have to take, to finally meet the most wonderful and beautiful mother ever.”

When Kristine became an adult, she registered with the Catholic Children’s Aid Society’s Disclosure registry. In short, it was a way to let those who placed her for adoption know that she wanted to be found. While she also hired private detectives and searched on her own, it was not long before the registry returned a match: her birth father.

Kristine notes that she was a little taken back as she had not really fantasized about meeting her father. While he turned out to be a great man whom she still has a relationship with, he did not fill that void in her heart. He was, however, finally able to connect Kristine with her birth mother.

They met at a hotel in Toronto. Their visit was joyous, though Kristine recalls not remembering much. Of what she does remember, Kristine states, “On that day, what came before, or whatever was to come after didn’t matter. On that day, she was the most beautiful and wonderful mother ever. The hole I felt in my heart was filled by her physical presence, and that was enough.”

Sadly, Kristine and her birth mother’s new relationship dissipated over the years. Yet, Kristine still maintains meeting her birth mother as the best day of her life. It filled a void and mended wounds that she had held onto for most of her life. Her fantasies were now reality.

Summing up her feelings after fulfilling her fantasy, Kristine says, “Maybe my birth mother and the unicorn weren’t fantasies too far disconnected. While one might hope to encounter a unicorn, you can’t really expect to keep it. It would ruin the magic. But, boy oh boy, putting your arms around the unicorn would forever be remembered as the best day of your life.”

Your first step in your search and reunion journey is to register in’s Reunion Registry.