Coworkers uncover that two men they work with switched at birth

February 5th, 2020

On December 8, 1962, two baby boys were born at Walwyn Hospital, a small cottage hospital in the town of Come By Chance, Newfoundland in Canada.

The irony of the name Come By Chance is not to be missed, as those two boys were sent home with the wrong parents. They were switched at birth. Craig Harvey Avery and Clarence Peter Hynes.

Craig Avery went home to Hillview with Clarence Hynes’ birth parents. Clarence when home to St. Bernard with Craig Avery’s birth parents.

According to Avery,

“It’s unbelievable that something like that could happen. These people are supposed to be professionals and do what they are supposed to do, and it was just, to me, utter neglect.” He continues, “The hardest part is not knowing. How did this happen? Why did this happen?”

Similar Upbringings

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Craig Avery and Clarence Hynes via CBC Source: Craig Avery and Clarence Hynes via CBC

Both men have very similar pasts, their upbringing matching in several ways. In large part, this is due to the fact they were both raised in rural Newfoundland. Life in this place is much the same for everyone, and even more so back then.

Avery grew up with seven siblings. Six boys and one girl. He is the third youngest. As for Hynes, he is one of three boys and four girls. Both grew up in what they call “good, happy families.”

Early Hints

For Avery, there were questions about his being tall, fair-skinned, and blond, while his family was all dark-haired.

He says,

“They were all dark, and I was so light. And I was bigger than all of them.”

As for Hynes, during a stint on a big oil project in the 1990s, he often heard he looked like one of the Avery brothers. At times, he was even mistaken for one of them.

Someone Finally Puts it all Together

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Tracey Avery via CBC Source: Tracey Avery via CBC

There were some events and circumstances that help Avery’s wife Tracey to add it all up.

For the most part, both the Avery and Hynes families stayed in Newfoundland, when thousands were leaving. Both Avery and Hynes worked in the oil industry and both of them ended up working the same project in 2014.

When Tracey Avery was also hired soon after she couldn’t help but notice how much Hynes looked like one of her brothers-in-law.

“She came to me and she said, ‘Craig, do you know there is a fellow who works here who looks just like one of your brothers?'” said Craig Avery.

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Clifford Avery and his biological bother Hynes via CBC Source: Clifford Avery and his biological bother Hynes via CBC

When she approached Hynes, he asked her for her husband’s last name. Upon hearing it was Avery, he replied that he’d heard he looked like the Avery’s since the early 90s.

The Final Clue

While still working at the project, there was a birthday celebration for Avery. While there Hynes told Tracey it was his birthday too.

“So right away, I’m like, ‘Where were you born?’ and he said, ‘Come By Chance.”

The time had come to realize there were too many coincidences. The Avery’s came to the decision that they had to dig deeper.

Avery had a DNA test done and it revealed that a man he’d called brother his whole life couldn’t be his brother. His parents were dead, so he couldn’t ask them questions.

Eventually, Avery went to Hynes, but Hynes was too overwhelmed by the information, and it took him a few years to get tested as well. He had his DNA to the same man that Avery had.

“It came back that my DNA was a 100 percent match with his brother,” said Hynes.

Both Men are Still Struggling

Hynes fell into a deep depression.

As for Avery, he says,

“It was definitely life-changing. You grow up with a family for 56 years and then all of the sudden you learn that that’s not your family. Your parents are gone. They’ve passed on and they didn’t know nothing about it. It’s a lot of sleepless nights.”

“You always think about, ‘Where would I be today? How would I have grown up?’ There’s always what-ifs.… How would your life have been different if you’d grown up with the family that you should have grown up with? What were your real parents like?”

“It’s been a hard road. A very, hard road.”

Moving Forward

Both Avery and Hynes admit it’s complicated but they are trying to move forward and just focus on what they’ve gained instead of what they’ve lost.

As for Eastern Health, the provincial health authority, they say,

“Eastern Health empathizes with the individuals and families involved. We are currently reviewing the statement of claim which is before the courts.”

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Source: CBC News