Failed reunion between siblings separated by Sixties Scoop ‘devastating’ for survivor

A family reunion between siblings who never met after one of them was adopted was cancelled at the last minute. The experience has opened old wounds for a victim of the Sixties Scoop, who is calling for more supports for survivors.

By Mark Neufeld and CityNews staff

A brother and sister who spent decades separated because of the Sixties Scoop had plans to finally reunite.

But just hours before the pair was supposed to meet, one of the siblings cancelled.

“You go your whole life picturing what this moment could look like,” said Katherine Legrange. “I’m incredibly disappointed.”

After searching for her birth family for more than 30 years, Legrange, the director of the 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada, was thrilled that she was finally going to meet up with her half brother for the fist time Wednesday afternoon.

But the morning before the reunion, her sibling stopped answering text messages and phone calls, leaving Legrange with the horrible feeling that the meeting was not going to happen.

“You know when it’s arranged and you make the plans for it, it’s very exciting and you finally feel like you belong somewhere. You have family to connect to, and when this breakdown happens, it’s devastating.”

Katherine Legrange

Katherine Legrange, had plans to reunite with separated brother using Sixties Scoop.

The Sixties Scoop is when an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous homes over a period of about three decades.

The Canadian government maintained it was acting in the best interests of the children.

Some survivors remain displaced and disconnected from families and their home communities to this day.

CityNews has chosen not to name Legrange’s sibling as media attention may have been part of the reason he cancelled.

While Wednesday was not the celebratory reunion Legrange was hopping for, she says it’s important to acknowledge for her and all Sixties Scoop survivors that this type of heartbreak over attempting to connect with birth families unfortunately happens often.

“This is common for folks who have been through adoption and the Sixties Scoop,” she said. “It’s not always a happy reunion.”

First Nations family advocate Cora Morgan says going forward more supports are needed to help people like Legrange rediscover their roots and connect with lost loved ones.

Such supports include access to ancestry records, and covering travel expenses for families who live far apart and need financial assistance to reconnect.

“We know those rippling effects from all those generations of stolen children, and our office has become a beacon of all those families looking to reunify,” said Morgan of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

“When this country is talking about reconciliation, you have to be able to right these wrongs and be able to provide the adequate supports and emotional supports that go along with it, and we are lacking those.”

Legrange has hope that one day she will finally meet her half brother.

“I’ll wait for him to come to me,” she said. “I think that there was a reason he felt overwhelmed or unable to come today and so I don’t want to continue to put that pressure on him to maintain a relationship.

“If he wants to, he will reach out to me, so that’s my plan.”

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