At 17-years-old, Janice Hoy didn’t feel she had the maturity or means to raise a baby.
So, she decided to put her baby up for adoption after giving birth in December of 1987.
“He was perfect,” Hoy told CBC. “He was beautiful.”
Hoy held and fed her baby before she went home and cried.
She continued to visit the child until she and the baby’s father, Earl Strong, signed paperwork giving up their parental rights.
“I’d go several times a day. I’d sit with him and I talked to him. I told him that I was just a kid myself,” Hoy said.
“I told him that I was sorry and that I loved him. I told the baby that if he ever wanted to find me, I wasn’t going anywhere. I wouldn’t change my name. And I hoped that one day he would want to find me.”
Hoy and Strong stayed together and embarked on careers as a registered nurse and a firefighter.
They eventually married and had three boys, but never told anyone about the boy they gave up.
“This was my dirty secret. It was something that I was embarrassed or ashamed of,” Hoy said.
Still, Hoy secretly took time to grieve each year on her son’s birthday.
She and her husband formed a plan to look for their lost son.
However, they agreed to wait until their youngest was 16 and old enough to understand.
Hoy secretly registered her name with the government just in case her son was looking for her.
This way he’d be able to find her.
Unfortunately, Strong died in 2018 after his snowmobile fell through the ice on Sturgeon Lake in Ontario.
Hoy was attending therapy after being treated for depression and was told she needed to confront the loss of her husband, as well as the lost of her firstborn.
Hoy was able to track down her son with the help of an adoption consultant.
“Hello, I’m your birth mother. I’ve been waiting my — your — whole life to hear from you. I hope you’ll text me back,” she messaged him.
As it turns out, he was waiting his entire life to get the message.
“I had been waiting for this message my whole life,” said Kevin Ferguson. “So many questions go through my head. Who are you? Where are you from? What’s our background? Do I have siblings?”
Hoy and Ferguson lived only 15 minutes away from each other. The two wondered if they ever crossed paths. Hoy broke the news to her sons and eventually met up with Ferguson.
“The first time I saw him, I knew I loved him,” Hoy said.
Ferguson was overwhelmed by the resemblance between he and his biological brothers. He especially looked like Hoy’s second-oldest son Blake.
“It was like I was looking in a mirror. It was shocking. I was looking at my long-lost brother. He looked like my dad. He spoke like my dad. He acted like my dad. And I looked at Kevin and his horrible facial hair and how short he was, and I was like, this is my dad 2.0. It just gave me this warm, fuzzy feeling in my belly, like, he belongs. This is a last parting gift from my dad to me.”
Though 32 years have gone by, this family is enjoying growing together and catching up.