APTN National News
Daniel Frost would flip through family photo albums growing up and see people who didn’t look like him.
He knew them as grandpa or grandma, but they weren’t his grandparents.
Born Metis, he was adopted as an infant from northern Saskatchewan by British parents who moved him across the Atlantic ocean to the United Kingdom.
He’s built a life there.
Then last year he decided to make a real effort to find his birth family.
Frost figured he’d have a couple siblings.
What he found was a family tree that extended far beyond that.
Thirteen brothers and sisters (two deceased).
He first found his birth sister Edna Smith who sent him photos of his siblings.
“Suddenly, I saw people looking back at me that looked like me,” said Frost, 46, from London where he is training to be a nursing assistant. “I’ve even got a brother that looks like me. It’s something that is quite extraordinary.”
Frost was born Darin Maurice to Metis parents from Buffalo Narrows in Saskatchewan in 1968. He was quickly taken by the province’s child welfare system and put in foster care.
This was the era of the 60s Scoop.
It’s now well-known that thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families and adopted into non-Indigenous homes.
Edna Smith was also adopted by a British family, but they stayed in Saskatchewan.
She said a death in the immediate family ripped the home apart, which led to many of the children being put in foster care and later adopted.
“I have a sister in B.C., I have a sister in Washington (State), I have a sister in Red Deer, one in North Battleford, a brother in Saskatoon, two brothers in Calgary, a brother in Regina, a brother in Dillon and Dan,” said Smith.
Frost is raising money for travel costs to visit his family through a crowdfunding site.
“I think it’s awesome and we can’t wait for him to get over here,” said Smith. “I look at him and I know he’s my brother.”
It’s that connection that Frost has always been looking for.
Growing up in the United Kingdom, Frost was confused as Spanish or Italian, even Jewish, because of this skin colour. He was known as the “little brown boy.” His parents never hid where they got him and he knew he was Indigenous.
“Most people in Europe kind of think that First Nation or Native people are no longer around. They’re found in history books,” said Frost.
Then he came to Toronto in the 1990s to visit friends.
“It was the first time I experienced any kind of recognition of who I was. It was both in a good way and a bad way,” he said.
Some would come up to him and ask if he was Cree and he felt welcomed.
“I also had other people who were like ‘We know about your people. You’re all alcoholics,’” said Frost, adding despite the racism, “In a way, it was quite life-fulfilling, even the bad stuff, because you’re understanding who I am.”
Both of his birth parents have passed away, his father in 2013 and his mother in 2010.
But in the 90s he made his first attempt to find his birth family and received a package from the province of Saskatchewan.
It included a hand written note from his mother scribbled on a scrap piece of paper.
She addressed it “my darling son.”
“I was quite overwhelmed by it,” said Frost. “Someone else was calling me her son.”
He lost that note in a fire and never pursued his search.
“I’m not sure I was mature enough to handle it at the time,” he said.
But the “little brown boy” from England is now determined to end his search.