DNA test reunites adopted Irishman with his half-brothers

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An Irishman living in Canada discovered he was one of several hundred babies illegally adopted in the 1950s and 1960s after taking a DNA test several years ago.

Born in Ireland in 1958, William Enright discovered he had been adopted at the age of 23 when he was about to leave Ireland to pursue doctoral studies at Michigan State University.

However, Enright said he “never thought about looking for his biological mother and father” at the time and told his adoptive father he was grateful to have been adopted by “decent loving people. “.

Things changed in 2014 after he retired from his animal work and moved to Eganville in Canada. There, Enright became involved in a number of community projects and attended an Ancestry presentation at an Eganville & District Seniors (EDS) meeting.

“I wondered if I was even of Irish descent,” Enright told Chief Eganville.

Enright purchased a DNA test kit and registered on the Ancestry website using a pseudonym. He sent in a sample of his saliva and found two months later that he was 99% Irish, with most of his DNA coming from Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

Enright hadn’t read the fine print, however, and received emails in 2016 from birth parents who had been contacted by Ancestry.com.

At first, Enright decided to “let the sleeping dogs lie” and ignore the emails, after hearing bad stories of people reuniting with their birth families.

Three years later, on a trip to Kenya, Enright received a call from the Irish Agency for Children and Families Tusla, who told him he was probably one of several hundred adopted babies. illegally through St. Patrick’s Guild and Dr. Eamon. de Valera, an eminent gynecologist and third son of former Irish President Eamon de Valera.

Tusla had no concrete information about his adoption, but Enright was soon 99% sure that his biological parents were Eileen Riordan and Arthur Hanley, both from Claremorris in County Mayo. Both had been dead for over 20 years.

Enright discovered a number of long-lost relatives, including cousins ​​and uncles, but his biggest surprise came in the form of two half-brothers, one on each paternal side.

Brian, who was born to Eileen Riordan and her second husband, and Gerard, who was born to Arthur Hanley and his second wife, are both 45 and have been friends since they were children.

These men, who had nothing to do with an older brother, were shocked by the discovery but eager to welcome him into the family.

The three men met via Zoom in October 2020 and quickly exchanged information about their life and upbringing.

They kept in touch over the next 18 months, although Enright was unable to see them in person as Covid-19 restrictions prevented him from making his six-monthly visit to Ireland.

However, Brian, Gerard and their families traveled from Ireland to Canada on April 6, 2022 to finally meet their long-lost half-brother.

“It was like we all saw each other yesterday,” Brian’s wife Sinead said.

Gerard’s wife, Nina, commented that everything was “comfortable and natural”.

“You get to know each other well when 12 people spend a week together in the same house.”

Enright remarked that the discovery of his half-brothers and their subsequent visit to Canada was the “best Easter present” he could have imagined, adding that he was “convinced” that all their relatives are watching from above. delighted that “this circle of life is complete”.

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