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Man standing with his arm around his biological father and a black and white picture of a young man.

Man Meets Biological Father After a 57-Year Search

Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor and Michael Anderberg

Man Grew Up Never Knowing His Real Dad - Waits 6 Decades to Meet Him

A lifelong search finally pays off when a Swedish man finds his dad in Canada.

Most people go through life in search of identity and purpose, particularly as we get older. But for those who don’t have a complete picture of their family history, that search can produce more questions than answers.

One Swedish man experienced that growing up. Michael Anderberg began to wonder about his biological father's identity as a teen. He didn’t find any answers, though, until he was 57 years old.

A Life Spent Searching

A man finds his biological father after 57 yearsman holding baby's handPhoto by Ben White on Unsplash

Anderberg was born in Sweden in 1967. By the time he was 15 years old, he wondered about his biological father. He asked his mom, who didn’t give him much information, and tried to learn his dad’s identity elsewhere, but he came up short. By the time he was 30 years old, he’d kind of given up, he told CTV News.

“I accepted it. There are many boys and girls and children who don't have a I will live without my father,” he said. “But I was always jealous of my friends in school who had both their father and mother.”

Eventually, Anderberg had a family of his own and continued living his life. But his daughter knew about her father’s situation, and in 2019 she gifted him a DNA ancestry test for Christmas.

“She knew I had a dream. Maybe it was a long shot...but the DNA test would make it possible,” he said.

A Surprise Phone Call

Anderberg took the test and then waited. Finally, about 18 months later, he received a phone call from Los Angeles. It was a man who was also named Michael, and he believed Anderberg was his half-brother. Meanwhile, Michael had also called his father, Jim Oran, to share the news.

“He asked if I was sitting down because he had something to tell me,” Oran recalled. “He said, 'I'm not the oldest one anymore. I'm not the firstborn because you've got another son in Sweden.' Are you kidding me? I couldn't believe it.”

It turns out that Oran had traveled to Sweden when he was younger and met a woman with whom he began a relationship. They eventually parted ways, and Oran had no idea the woman was pregnant with his child.

Oran and Anderberg met virtually and started exchanging texts and phone calls. But because of the distance, the pandemic, and a brief illness, they couldn’t meet in person.

A Reunion Six Decades in the Making

That all changed earlier this year when Anderberg flew to Detroit and met his biological father for the first time. “I never thought this would be real,” he told the publication.

The reunited family spent two emotional weeks together, getting to know each other in person.

“I don't know how I'll react when he goes back. We were very emotional in the beginning and we still are now,” Oran revealed at the time, adding he plans on going to Sweden to meet his three grandchildren as well. “I also want to see my old town and where I grew up, but hope I'm healthy enough to do that.”

As for Anderberg, meeting his father for the first time helped heal some of his past trauma and anger and set him on a path of healing.

“As a young boy, I was angry. I always thought [about] the day I find him and I can ask him why he wasn't there for me. But with all the information, I know why now,” he added. “You can only look forward. We have decided to take this time we have together and let it be a chapter in our life. It's a treasure.”

Family Is a Choice

We all want to know our story, which is why the happy ending at the center of this family reunion is so inspiring. But it’s also not an ending that everyone experiences. Sometimes we’re dealt a hard hand in life, and it’s important to remember that we can’t choose our family. But we can choose our friends, community, and the people we surround ourselves with.

In that sense, family can become a choice for us all. These days families look a lot different than the former “norm,” and it’s essential to embrace that. Sometimes a search for a lost family member will pan out. But if it doesn’t, remember that you are in charge of crafting your own story.

The present shall soon become the past, so embrace it for all the joys and challenges it can bring.

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