Canada: 'Holding her was unbelievable': Sask. family reunited with Aunt taken to Europe during Sixties Scoop - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada 'Holding her was unbelievable': Sask. family reunited with Aunt taken to Europe during Sixties Scoop

17:01  13 november  2019
17:01  13 november  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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She was taken as a child during the Sixties Scoop . Now she was home for the first time in more than 50 years. Thomas-Jones was taken from her mother at six months old. She was adopted in Big River, Sask ., by a Welsh family that then moved back to Wales.

She was taken as a child during the Sixties Scoop . Now she was home for the first time in more than 50 years. "I think the overwhelming feeling was relief. I think I hadn't dared to believe that I was actually going to be home," she said. Watch the tearful reunion between Thomas-Jones and her niece here

After spending her flight from Wales, U.K., keeping her children busy and wondering what it would be like in her original home, Kim Thomas-Jones was greeted at the Saskatoon airport by drums and Indigenous singing. 

"It was just very emotional," she said. "It is completely everything I dreamt of."

Thomas-Jones had never known her Saskatchewan family. She was taken as a child during the Sixties Scoop. Now she was home for the first time in more than 50 years. 

"I think the overwhelming feeling was relief. I think I hadn't dared to believe that I was actually going to be home," she said.

Thomas-Jones embraced her niece Erin Parenteau, who worked to bring her here. They cried in each others arms.

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The Sixties Scoop refers to a practice that occurred in Canada of taking , or " scooping up", Indigenous children from their families and communities for placement in foster homes or adoption.

Birth family of Kimberly Lee Ann Settee Jones plans to take her hunting and to sweat lodge when she arrives. They were separated half a century ago by the 60s Scoop , but a Saskatchewan family is working on a reunion with their long lost aunt .

a person standing in a room: Kim Thomas-Jones (left) and Erin Parenteau met for the first time in the Saskatoon airport on November 9, 2019. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Kim Thomas-Jones (left) and Erin Parenteau met for the first time in the Saskatoon airport on November 9, 2019.

"Holding her was unbelievable," Thomas-Jones said. 

Parenteau, who has lost both her mother and grandmother, said Thomas-Jones is the only close-family relative she has left. 

"It took my breath away. I just, I started just sobbing," Parenteau said. "It's life-changing for me."

Thomas-Jones was taken from her mother at six months old. She was adopted in Big River, Sask., by a Welsh family that then moved back to Wales. 

Parenteau said she never stopped looking for her Auntie. The breakthrough came when Thomas-Jones matched with one of Parenteau's cousins on Ancestry DNA. Parenteau and Thomas-Jones connected over Facebook and started planning her visit. 

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Last month, Christine Hemsworth took some of her children to a local Arby’s in Elk River, Minnesota for dinner. Upon arriving, the mother-of-five was greeted with a sign on the door that read ' Holding her was unbelievable ': Sask . family reunited with Aunt taken to Europe during Sixties Scoop .

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Parenteau helped raise money for Thomas-Jones to visit Canada. They didn't want to wait for the Sixties scoop settlement to come through.

"I keep saying to everybody I can't believe that everybody has gone to so much trouble," Parenteau said. "It's overwhelming. There's so much love."

Thomas-Jones decided to bring her two teenage boys along for the trip as well to meet their extended family.

"They're kind of getting to know their relatives here and they're now relaxing into it because obviously it's kind of a whole new experience," she said. "It's kind of a life changing trip for them as well."

a woman standing in a room: Kim Thomas-Jones arrived in Canada for the first time in decades on Nov. 9, 2019. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Kim Thomas-Jones arrived in Canada for the first time in decades on Nov. 9, 2019.

Thomas-Jones and Parenteau will both celebrate their birthdays during the visit, as the two were born only one day apart on the calendar: Thomas-Jones on Nov. 20, Parenteau on Nov. 19.

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They were separated half a century ago by the 60s Scoop , but a Saskatchewan family is working on a reunion with their long lost aunt .Kimberly Lee Ann Settee Jones was taken by social workers from her family near Prince Albert as a baby.

In fact, during a recent family outing, Miguel offered to let his son sit in the second row of their van, the place that Adelaide used to sit during family car trips. ' Holding her was unbelievable ': Sask . family reunited with Aunt taken to Europe during Sixties Scoop .

Thomas-Jones has met cousins, friends, family of friends, people inviting her to their homes, and the list continues to grow. She's keeping a journal of everyone she's met, she said. 

"It doesn't feel awkward. It doesn't feel uncomfortable. It just feels right," Thomas-Jones said. "Like I've known them forever."

a woman standing in front of a computer: Erin Parenteau said seeing her Auntie for the first time took her breath away. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Erin Parenteau said seeing her Auntie for the first time took her breath away.

Little moments have been important, Thomas-Jones said. She spoke about waking up to the smells of coffee and bacon, and the sound of her neice cooking.

"It's the most normal thing — It's just the simple things you take for granted," Thomas-Jones said. 

Parenteau said it reminds her of doing the same things with her mother.

"It really brings a lot of healing to my heart and it kind of gives me a little bit of that history that we've missed out on all these years."

Holding a piece of her mother's memory

The visit has also given Thomas-Jones the chance to learn about her own mother. A cousin kept Thomas-Jones's mother's broach, a pearl, curlers, teacups and more. 

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"It's overwhelming to know that I am holding something that my birth mother had been using," she said.

a group of people standing in a room: Traditional drummers and a singer welcomed Kim Thomas-Jones back to Saskatchewan on Nov. 9, 2019. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Traditional drummers and a singer welcomed Kim Thomas-Jones back to Saskatchewan on Nov. 9, 2019.

Parenteau said they'll be taking Thomas-Jones to her mother's original home, where Thomas-Jones was taken. Other plans include a sweat lodge ceremony, meet her cousins, hearing Cree in person and spending as much time as possible together as a family.

"She has my grandmother's eyes," Parenteau said. "When I look at her I see my grandmother who raised me."

a woman standing in a kitchen: Kim Thomas-Jones said the small things, like being given a broach that was her mothers and spending time cooking with her niece, were the most important to her. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Kim Thomas-Jones said the small things, like being given a broach that was her mothers and spending time cooking with her niece, were the most important to her.

Thomas-Jones's family back home in Wales is supportive of the trip and helped her prepare emotionally, she said. 

"I can't wait for us to return home to show them photographs and share stories," she said. "Who's lucky enough to actually have that kind of support from two families?"

Thomas-Jones said she hopes to be back next year to visit her uncle in Edmonton and see more of her original home. 

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