Moose Jaw’s Hadwen, '60s Scoop survivor, to meet biological father for first time in 45 years
|Moose Jaw’s Timothy Hadwen will have a chance to meet his biological father on Saturday afternoon outside of St. Andrew’s Church.|
A lifelong quest to find his biological parents is about to come to fruition for Moose Jaw’s Timothy Hadwen.
Hadwen, 45, will meet his birth father for the first time this Saturday afternoon (June 5) when the two finally cross paths outside of the St. Andrew’s Church memorial to the lost 215.
“It seems to be one of those happy-ending stories where we’ve been hearing so many sad stories with so much heartbreak and racism and finger-pointing, who’s to blame and who should take responsibility,” Hadwen said on Friday afternoon.
“But not every story has a happy ending like this… I’m one of the lucky ones to gets to meet my birth father, who I never met. And there are a lot of children who are still out there who are looking.”
Hadwen and his three sisters were adopted by Larry and Rosa Hadwen when he was a young child, and he grew up in an environment that was “wonderful, and I still talk about them and rave about them and how much they did for us... They’ve always wanted me to know about my background and who my birth parents are and now we do.”
Even growing up, the question of ‘where did I come from’ was in the back of his head, which eventually led Hadwen to reach out to Saskatchewan post-adoption services. At first, they weren’t a lot of help as records of his biological birth parents weren’t available, but his birth record was. And on that record was his birth mother’s name.
That led Hadwen to get in touch with his advocate from Montreal Lake Cree Nation, and a startling revelation.
“After I e-mailed that to him he replied right away ‘I know where your biological parents are, I’ve known them my whole life almost’,” Hadwen said with an incredulous laugh. “They only live a kilometre apart from each other up in Little Red. It’s amazing how close we are together and how we were still so far away.”
Unfortunately, his birth mother had passed away. But Timothy had a phone call to make to 78-year-old Stanley Halkett of Little Red River First Nation, located a half-hour north of Prince Albert.
“It was very nerve-wracking at the beginning,” Hadwen said of making that first connection. “It took me a while to muster up the courage to move forward and make that first call. And when I did make that call, you could hear it in my voice, it was shaky, very emotional, but I pushed through it and we had a good conversation.”
That first contact also brought forward another surprise.
“Stanley never stopped looking for me the whole 45 years,” Timothy said. “Now he’s so excited and he said ‘I’m dropping everything and I’m coming to see you, I don’t care about the weather, I have to see you and I have to hold you’. It’s an amazing feeling and at the same time it’s a very exciting moment.”
It was also a moment tinged with sadness, given what he and his adopted parents had been told.
“I was led to believe that my birth parents didn’t want me and that’s why I was up for adoption, but my adopted parents, they were lied to this whole time,” Hadwen said. “It’s heartbreaking because I’m not the only one, there are so many kids who never had a chance to be with their biological families.”
In other words, exactly the situation so, so many other Indigenous people went through as part of the 60’s Scoop. Hadwen has chosen to let that part of the past stay the past, though, even as he continues to deal with the outcome of that heinous chapter of Canadian history.
“I don’t want to point fingers or blame anyone for what happened, it’s time to move forward and heal,” he said.
Part of that healing will happen Saturday.
Stanley is making the four-hour trip south from Little Red River, and when the two finally meet, Timothy has little idea how it will go other than it will be an amazing moment for both men.
“I know it’s going to be emotional, we spoke again this morning and we’re just moving ahead with the meeting, however it goes,” Hadwen said. “It was 45 years ago I was in my mother’s stomach and he didn’t even know I was born, what day I was born, time I was born… apparently they decided my birth mother wasn’t worth keeping me and that’s how I ended up in the system.
“But now I get to meet my birth father, and it’s going to be incredible.”
Hadwen plans to stream the meeting on Facebook Live, and you can watch the meeting happen at www.facebook.com/timothy.hadwen.1.