ELLIOT LAKE — Like many people, fate in life can be described as positive and sometimes negative.
For soon-to-turn 83-year-old Judith Ann Pitre of Elliot Lake, fate brought her together with three siblings she has searched for but had never found on her own.
She spoke with ElliotLakeToday in an interview at her comfortable apartment in a Pine Road complex.
Pitre was adopted when she was three months old and placed with a couple who took in orphan children for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society in Windsor. Her adoptive parents had no children of their own and raised children they took in from infants to teenagers.
“I was loved; I was well looked after,” she said of her adoptive parents. “I don’t know why they decided to adopt me. I don’t think they knew of my heritage, because I’m black,” she said of her heritage, that is not apparent when one sees her.
“There was always something going on,” she said of her relationship with her adoptive parents. She believes her heritage might have resulted in an 'emotional' up-and-down upbringing with her adoptive mother.
Pitre was good at dance and was named valedictorian at the nursing school she attended.
With her nursing degree, she found work at the local hospital when she and her husband Rej moved to Elliot Lake in 1985. Rej was injured in an underground mine accident and died in 2006 as a result of the injuries he sustained.
Since then, she has attempted to have his name posted at the Miner’s Memorial at Horne Lake without being successful in those efforts.
About 20 years ago, she sent a DNA sample to the Ancestry app as she searched for siblings she had never met. She eventually called Ancestry to find out whether the search was successful and was told there was no match found.
During her early life, she ended up adopting three children herself, as well as giving birth to a son.
It was her daughter-in-law who discovered someone was looking for her on social media and had received a call from a woman. She told her mother-in-law about the contact. The day after Pitre’s 80th birthday, she received a call “from a lady saying they shared a father.”
Communication continued for two years and eventually led to the face-to-face reunion with two sisters and one brother in June this year. She identified her siblings as Liz, Joan and Roger.
“That was one of the exciting parts, talking to them and learning about the family history,” she said of the meeting.
She is hoping to continue communications with her newly discovered family members and hopes to see them soon.
In the near future, she is flying to Cuba for a one-week vacation.