One woman spent most of her life searching for the answer to her life long question: Who was her father? Erica Cowie spent 30 years looking for her biological father and was ultimately lead to a family she never knew existed.
As a young child, Cowie knew she was different. She had curly hair, olive skin, and brown eyes, and had a feeling her biological father must have been someone else. For many years, Cowie asked questions in search of the truth. Cowie said, “I asked and asked, but it wasn’t until I was 27 years old and did a DNA test and found the father who had so lovingly raised me wasn’t my biological father.”
But if the man who raised Cowie wasn’t her blood father, then who was? Earlier this year, she made an incredible breakthrough through an ancestry website. A DNA test showed that Cowie had Portuguese heritage, which matched up with a man named Paul De Freitas from her mother’s past. Now that she had a name and photos Cowie took to Facebook to see if she could find a connection.
Cowie who is now 38 and married with two kids, lives in Newcastle, Ontario. She posted that she was looking for her father on Pink and Blue, a moms group on Facebook which boasts about 25,000 members. Cowie wrote, “A piece of my heart is missing.” Less than 24 hours later, she received a private message from a group member named Vanessa Costa. “I can’t believe this is happening, but Paul is my uncle,” Costa wrote.
Costa put Cowie in touch with her mom, Cecilia De Freitas all thanks to Facebook! However, DeFreitas has to break the news to Cowie… her biological father, Paul De Freitas died four years ago, without knowing he had a daughter. Although Cowie could never meet her dad, she did reunite with De Freitas and dozens of other newfound family members.
Cowie has attended a family reunion, meeting aunts, uncles, cousins, and a grandmother she never knew existed right in the same province. “I was expecting that she was going to be as beautiful as she is, and I said, ‘Wow, I can’t believe the resemblance. The hair, the face, the skin, the eyes, everything — like my brother’” De Freitas told CBC News.
Cowie has since learned more about her father, who worked as a hairdresser and loved nature, adventure, and travel. His wanderlust passed along to Cowie as she also traveled the world as a dancer on cruise ships for about ten years when she was 18. De Freitas said Cowie’s arrival in the family has helped them grieve Paul’s death, which left a hole in the tight-knit family. De Freitas described reuniting with Cowie as “a gift that helps us to heal”.
While Cowie is thrilled to be reunited with the other part of her family, she’s sad that she’ll never get to meet her father. “All I know is I’d hug him so tight I would never let go,” she says. “I’d tell him I love him — and thank you for giving me life”, Cowie said.