Mark Harnett has never been to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but recently found out he may have a lot of family in the area.
Harnett, who grew up in central Newfoundland, found out he was adopted when he was 13 years old. He was told he was born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
When he was 17, Harnett went looking for information on his birth parents and, with the help of a social worker, got in contact with his birth mother. She told him he was the result of a one night stand and she hadn’t been in contact with his father since.
“She wouldn’t tell me who he was and she had her reasons,” he said. “I felt it was my right to know who my father was and it came to a pinnacle when my youngest son was in the Janeway (Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre) and they couldn’t find out what was wrong with him.”
Harnett said he needed to find out his family medical history and asked his biological mother again who his father was. She still wouldn’t tell him and he tried other routes to no avail. Last week he decided to take to Facebook to try and find the answer.
“I found a group Newfoundland and Labrador Adoptees and posted a picture of myself and the circumstances of my conception,” he said. “Within a day it had gone viral and I was getting messages from everywhere, including my birth mother. She wasn’t very pleased with the post and we came to an agreement and she disclosed the name.”
He got in contact with the man believed to be his birth father and they chatted on the phone just before Harnett spoke with The Labradorian. They’re going to do a paternity test to be sure and once that’s completed, he hopes to be able to visit Happy Valley-Goose Bay and meet the rest of his birth family.
He’s made a few attempts to make it to Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the past for work but none ever panned out. Harnett is a stand-up comedian and there aren’t a lot of local venues for him to ply his trade. He was slated to play at the arts centre but weather got in the way.
“I’ve never been there but since I posted this online a lot of local people have contacted me and now I’m kind of anxious to get down there,” he said. “I’ve never been to the north before and I’d like to experience it.
“It’s in my blood, obviously, and I’d like to meet all the people I’ve missed in my life in the last 40 years.”