Darrell Sinclair had been searching for his biological father for 22 years.
Last week, he got to meet him for the first time after an Ancestry DNA test and hard digging by his wife Melanie, who made it her mission to make it happen.
All Darrell knew was that his mother became pregnant with him at 15 after a summer fling in Port Moody with a construction worker from Ontario.
His mother would eventually marry another man and had two girls.
Darrell met Melanie in 1997. Together they decided they were going to look for his father.
He told Melanie that he had previously found a baby book with the name Doug Sherk handwritten beside the title father, then crossed out. That is how the couple’s search began.
Melanie knew Darrell’s biological father was from Ontario, but ended up talking to men with the same name in Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well, but to no avail.
In December 2018, Melanie and their two children – Noah, 9 and Abigail, 4 – bought Darrell an AncestryDNA kit for Christmas. They were going to give it to him for his birthday in March, but were too excited.
Still, the kit sat on a shelf until March 8, when Darrell decided he was ready to take the DNA test. He spat into a tube and sent the sample to Australia.
When the results came back, Darrell found a match to a familiar name: Sherk.
Darrell’s DNA matched a man named Brian Sherk, who’s DNA results were already in the company’s database.
Melanie looked up Brian Sherk on Facebook and he told her he was not the right man because he had never taken the DNA test, but that he was friends on Facebook with a man with the same name and who he is related to.
Melanie wrote to the other Brian Sherk. He was pretty sure his great uncle and aunt were Darrell’s biological grandparents. Sherk sent her an obituary.
Melanie saw that a man named Doug Sherk was listed as one of the children in the obit. She had messaged another man on Facebook by the same name two years earlier, but received no reply. This time, she was going to look for his wife, Sheryl, whose name appeared in parentheses.
When she found Sheryl on the social media site, she also saw a picture of Doug and realized that the couple had two daughters.
She messaged the daughters and received a reply from one of them, Rachel.
Melanie asked her questions about her father, then told her that she might want to sit down before telling her that she thought her husband was Rachel’s brother.
Rachel gave Melanie Doug’s number and asked him directly if it was possible that he had a child in B.C. and he said that it was.
Doug met Darrell and his family for the first time on April 4. He had surprised them when he let them know he’d be flying in from Medicine Hat, Alta., where he now lives with his wife.
The Sinclair family met Doug at Vancouver International Airport, all holding signs.
Darrell’s sign read: “The search is over! 40 years later … Nice to meet you dad”.
Noah’s read: ” We made a wish and it came true. We are so happy we found you.”
Abigail: “Welcome Papa Doug.”
They brought Doug to Ridge Meadows Hospital to meet Darrell’s grandmother, Beatrice Laurene Meger, who at 78, was suffering from leukemia and dementia. It was her dying wish to see father and son reunited.
“She said, ‘I held on for this moment,’” Melanie said.
Meger passed away on Wednesday morning, her wish fulfilled.
The Sinclair family plans to visit Doug and Sheryl in May and meet the rest of the family and also plans to attend a family reunion in Ontario next year.