Brothers Randy Joubert and Gary Nisbet and sister Joanne Campbell, reunited after growing up in separate families (Photo by Randy Joubert)
Brothers Randy Joubert and Gary Nisbet and sister Joanne Campbell, reunited after growing up in separate families (Photo by Randy Joubert)
Eight years ago, Nobleboro resident Randy Joubert, who was raised by adoptive parents, was finally able to research his birth parents due to a new law that allowed adult adoptees to gain access to their original birth records. Prior to the 2007 law, many adult adoptees were only able to view their amended birth certificates, which list the adoptive parents as the birth parents. Up until the law changed, Joubert’s original birth records were sealed by the family court.

Through his research, Joubert, then 36, learned the names of his birth parents and that he had a younger brother born 11 months earlier. In July of 2009, Joubert began working at Dow Furniture in Waldoboro with another man named Gary Nisbet. For several weeks co-workers would comment on how similar they looked. Then one day, as Joubert and Nisbet were riding along in the delivery truck, Joubert began to ask a few probing questions to the man sitting next to him. 

“‘By the way,’ I said, ‘what’s your birth date, Gary?’ He said June 10, 1974. And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I know that birth date.’ And I said, ‘Are your parents Wilfred and Joan Pomroy by any chance?’ And he just stared at me and said, ‘How did you know my birth parents’ names?’ Like I’m some crazy stalker or something. And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, you have no idea what I’ve just uncovered.’ And the frustrating thing is that he didn’t believe me. He was just like, ‘OK, we’ve gotta get to our next stop.’”

But the next day, as they laid out their birth certificates side-by-side in the store, they confirmed that they were long-lost brothers. After the brothers’ story made headlines, Joanne Campbell from neighboring Warren showed up at the store to reunite with her younger siblings. Joubert learned that he was removed from his birth parents’ home as a baby due to abuse, but his other siblings spent their early years living with their parents. The other two were eventually taken in by other families, and Campbell grew up in Old Orchard Beach, while Nisbet lived in New Harbor. By sheer coincidence, they all ended up living in the Waldoboro/Warren area. 

Now, Joubert is hoping to allow adoptees of all ages to access their original birth records with the birth parents’ names. LD 505, sponsored by Joubert’s boss Sen. Dana Dow (R-Lincoln Cty.), would expand the law to allow not only adult adoptees to view their unamended birth certificates, but also adopted persons under 18. Joubert says he and a birth mother of a child who was adopted have been working together with an attorney to try to get the measure passed. He said the goal is to do away with the “fake birth certificate” and the sealing of birth records because they create a “false legitimacy” and violate adoptees’ constitutional rights to access their own information.

However, Joubert recognizes that some birth parents will oppose the measure because it would prevent them from remaining anonymous. But he noted that a 1959 state law already allows adoptive parents to either keep the original birth certificate or have it sealed. 

“And the commonsense argument is that it’s a public record, such as marriage, death, divorce, death and birth,” said Joubert. “It’s just something that gets attached to this topic, but it hasn’t been private for 58 years.” 

The bill will be heard by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 16, at 1 p.m. at the State House, Room 438.