Our parents are a huge part of us, whether we like it or not. We carry their faces, their talents, their flaws, and their spirit, even when we’ve never met them. There’s a reason so many adopted children seek their family eventually — an unspoken bond between parent and child that is nearly impossible to ignore.
One Scotland-born woman harbored questions about her birth mother for decades: who was her biological mother? Why had she given her up? For decades, she found no answers. But then, at the age of 63, she finally found a clue with the potential to change her life forever…
Norah Gibson was born in 1955 in Clydebank, Scotland to a mother whom she never met. And while she was fortunately adopted by a lovely, loving couple, there was a longing she just couldn’t shake.
At the age of 19, Norah married her now ex-husband Kenneth McMaster. At the ceremony, someone said to her, “your mother would be very proud of you.” This sparked her curiosity even more.
At first, Norah began searching for her birth parents in secret, hoping not to hurt her birth parents’ feelings. With kids and a husband to take care of, as well as little time, attention, or money, she had little success.
Years went by without any progress, but Norah refused to give up. When her adoptive father, John Gibson, died in 1992 (her adoptive mother was already gone by this point), nothing stood between her and her past anymore.
During most of the 1990s, Norah went through records in Edinburgh and finally discovered her actual birth name: Anne Campbell. Still, she needed to dig deeper to find out who her mother was.
Decades passed. By 2019, Norah, right, lived in Dumbarton, a town near the one where she grew up. She had four children, Andrew, Gregor, Ross, and Lesley and five grandchildren. She sold juices for a living and still didn’t know her birth mom.
But after doing some research, she contacted a TV production that would help her find her birth mother and any other relatives she might have. Norah was over the moon: could this lead to a breakthrough?
With help from the production, and after endless research through interviews, archives, and photographs, Norah finally found the woman who could’ve very well given birth to her over 60 years before.
The woman’s name was Margaret Campbell, and she lived Duntocher Road in Clydebank, where Norah was born. Now came the moment she’d been waiting for her entire life.
Norah took some time to process her feelings and eventually headed to the address that she’d found. As she walked up to the door, her heart raced. Was she ready for this?
When the door opened, a stranger stood in front of her — but it wasn’t Margaret Campbell! Much to Norah’s dismay, she was told that her mother had moved many years ago and the current owner did not have her contact information.
Another dead end. Another fall back to square one. But then an investigator from the TV production managed to find her: Margaret was going by Rita now, the investigator said, and she didn’t live in Clydebank anymore…
In fact, Rita had moved to Campbellford, Ontario! No wonder Norah had such a hard time finding her — the 85 year old had moved to Canada shortly after Norah (or Anne’s) birth.
Nora reached out via mail, and suddenly, the two strangers were exchanging letter after letter, catching up on everything they had missed. And that was a lot, considering they’d been apart for over 60 years!
Apparently, Norah learned, it had never been Rita’s decision to give up her baby. She was young and unmarried, and her parents decided that this would be the best course of action. She never even got to hold her child!
Overcome with grief, Rita had moved from Scotland to Canada to leave the tragic moment in her life behind. But both agreed: it was time for Rita to return to Scotland. It was time for them to meet.
On Mother’s Day of 2016, Rita flew to Glasgow to meet her long-lost daughter. However, when Norah went to pick her up, she became extremely anxious. What if her mother had changed her mind?
It turned out Norah’s worries were for naught when, out of the arrivals hall, a 4’11” woman rushed towards her, embraced her and exclaimed, “here I am!”
Rita then revealed more: Norah had a half-brother, too! Ian Fair was standing right in front of her, and Norah couldn’t believe her luck: she had a whole new family after all those years!
Now together, the first stop they made was to the building where Norah was born, or “the scene of the crime” as Rita called it. The rest of their time in Scotland was spent exploring, bonding, and eating fish ‘n chips of course!
After Rita met her new grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Norah thanked her for having her. “Without you,” Norah told her, “I wouldn’t be here, and thus my kids and grandkids wouldn’t be here either.”
A few months later in October, it was Norah’s turn to fly out — she was going to meet her new Canadian family for Thanksgiving. Norah felt she had a lot to be thankful for, and that included her late adoptive parents.
It was Norah’s determination that reunited them, and Rita, in turn, was thankful for that. It may have taken actual decades, but Rita and Norah have each other now, and they couldn’t be happier. Another search for family started in the 1960s…
Walter MacFarlane and Alan Robinson were entering Punahou middle school in Honolulu, Hawaii. But luckily for Walt and Alan, whom everyone called “Robi,” the two quickly became friends for life.
The boys did everything together. They both played on their high school football team, enjoyed playing cribbage, and loved being outdoors. But common interests weren’t all that brought them together.
While Walter never knew his father, Robi never knew either of his biological parents because he had been adopted when he was just a baby. Naturally, because of this, the boys felt a connection on a deeper level.
Despite their age difference of nearly 15 months, the boys were absolutely inseparable. Of course, while they were close they each had other circles of friends, too. It was only natural that they would grow a little bit apart.
As time passed and the boys grew up, things continued to change. “He was the party-er. I never went to or did any partying in high school,” said Walter, who continued to seriously pursue athletics.
Robi was always a little less athletically inclined. When he stopped partying and settled down to clean up his act, he began attending aviation school and later became a pilot for Aloha airlines — not a bad job for someone with a lust for adventure!
Still, Walter and Robi remained friends, as they would always care deeply for each other, even if they were living completely different lives. It may seem hard to imagine, but they kept their friendship up for six whole decades!
As Walter aged and became a father, he loved and appreciated the friends and family he had, but he couldn’t help but be curious about the father he never met. So, for Walter’s birthday, his kids gave him a gift that could finally give him some answers…
His daughter, Cindy Macfarlane-Flores, gave him a DNA test. She and her siblings helped Walter take the DNA samples and sent them to the company where they would be matched with others. “So then we started digging into all the results he started getting,” said Cindy.
One of the top matches shared a lot of DNA with Walt and even had an identical X-chromosome. It turned out… Walt had a half-brother! It was then that he noticed the half-brother’s username and nearly fell out of his chair.
The mystery brother was registered under the username “Robi737.” Of course, it immediately reminded Walter of his childhood friend Alan, whose nickname was Robi, and who had become a pilot flying Boeing 737s.
Walter wanted to believe it, but he thought it was too good to be true. Could it really be that he and his childhood best friend were related? Or was it something bigger, like fate bringing them together?
You see, Robi had also turned to Ancestry in order to find his birth parents. “I had a younger brother that I lost when he was 19, so I never had nieces or nephews. I thought ‘I’ll never know my birth mother, will I ever get to meet anyone from my family?'”
When Walter suspected that Robi was indeed the match with the identical chromosome, he ran to the phone and called him up. When he asked if Robi was Robi 737, his suspicions were confirmed: they were half-brothers all along!
“It was a shock,” Walter said. It was an astounding realization that the friends shared the same birth mother, but everything finally fell into place. It made sense to them now why they looked so alike, why they had always felt a special bond…
Walter and Robi met up right after the shocking discovery but neither could believe it was really true. Yet, when they looked down at their arms side by side they knew it was true. “Yea it was a shock, definitely and then we thought about it and compared forearms,” Robi said. “Yea hairy arms, that did it!” Walter added.
After the initial shock wore off, the brothers couldn’t help but reminisce about their youth. “It was so funny because you know when we played for Punahou, we were both first string and we’re brothers, playing side by side,” Walter said. He’s the tackle, I’m the end, and we never knew, you know.”
“We’d go to Punaluu to go free-diving and fishing,” Robby said. “I’d be making noise in the water splashing around, and he’d be teaching me how to do it right. He’d always come out of the water with the biggest string of fish and I had the smallest.”
The discovery happened just before the holidays, so Walter and Robi gathered their families together to share the incredible news. “This is the best Christmas present I could ever imagine,” Robi said. “It really is a Christmas miracle, and we’re just so happy that we found each other,” Walter added.
The brothers were completely overwhelmed by the news and are still getting used to the fact that they now have each other as more than just friends. They have plans to spend their retirement traveling together and catching up for lost time, as friends, and as brothers.