WALDOBORO, Maine — Randy Joubert and Gary Nisbet made international headlines in September when the furniture moving co-workers discovered they were brothers — with a half sister who lived in neighboring Warren. Joubert, Nisbet and Joanne Campbell shared their remarkable story on the “Today” show, which led to the discovery of yet another half sister.
Shortly after returning home from New York, Joubert said that he was feeling “very overwhelmed” and excited.
“I’m very happy, and still very much processing it all,” Joubert said recently. “I’m just a small-town Waldoboro boy. To find family is cool enough, and amazing — but the way it happened added to the circus atmosphere.”
But the circus wasn’t only in New York. When Joubert and Nisbet came back to work at Dow Furniture in Waldoboro, customers started coming in just to see the newfound brothers and request their help moving furniture.
“The boss was thrilled with it,” Joubert said.
The boss, former state Sen. Dana Dow, wasn’t the only one.
“We’re just completely smiling,” Joubert said. “Co-workers say, ‘Can you go help your brother with that couch?’ It takes me a second.”
The siblings plan to get to know each other now that they know about each other — although it will be easiest for Joubert and Nisbet to bond.
“You need a hand, you call your brother up,” Joubert said. “It’s pretty neat to think about.”
The four siblings shared a mother, Joan Pomroy, who has since passed away. All of them ended up in foster care and eventually adoptive families after being taken by the state. Joubert was raised by “the best parents you could ever ask for,” Bob and Jackie Joubert. His father has died but his mother resides in Florida and started crying tears of joy when she heard about Nisbet.
“She’s so happy. She’s just through the roof,” Joubert said. “That meant so much to me.”
Although it was coincidental that the two brothers were working together, Joubert said that it wasn’t coincidence at all that led to their figuring out they were, in fact, related. For that, he credits the state law that took effect on Jan. 2 which allows children to gain access to their adoption records. Maine is one of just a handful of states that allows this, and Joubert thinks that all states should.
From finding his siblings to being able to tell the doctor whether or not heart disease runs in the family, Joubert’s life is better now that he knows more about his history, he argued eloquently.
“What bigger and better advocate for open adoption records is there than this story?” he asked. “If I can promote the cause of open adoption records in other states, that’s just great.”
He even thanked former state Sen. Paula Benoit, who was instrumental in getting the law passed.
“When you adopt a cat, you get the cat’s medical history. When you adopt a human being, you don’t know anything about it,” Joubert said. “It seems a little backwards.”
But not everyone is so sure that the open records are a good idea.
Judy Hakola of Orono, who adopted two children in the 1970s, thinks that medical histories could be shared — but with no names attached.
“I think it’s a real betrayal of the conditions under which they gave up the baby,” she said.
Jacci Williams, the biological mother of Hakola’s adopted daughter, said she has another concern about the law.
“I don’t know if it would deter people from adoption,” she said.