When my mom was a junior in college she found herself alone and pregnant. She made the decision she felt was best at the time in order to give her unborn baby the best life. She gave her newborn baby girl up for adoption. Mom went on to meet, fall in love and marry my dad. Together they had 5 children over the course of their childrearing years.
All 5 of us have a unique story about the time Mom told us about our half sister she gave up for adoption. It was never a secret. However, because of the closed adoption, we didn’t consider ever being able to meet her. It didn’t stop us from dreaming about her though. I can pinpoint times throughout my life, especially in large public crowds, when I’d wonder if my adopted sister was somewhere amidst the masses.
Fast forward to the summer of 2017. All 5 of us are married and have children of our own. We were together on vacation at our family cottage. As we were soaking up the sun on the front lawn, one of my sisters mentioned how her friend from high school, who was adopted, found his birth parents. All they did was post a photo on Facebook of themselves holding a poster board listing all the information they had about him. That got us thinking. Would that work for us? Could we find our half-sister with a poster board and social media?
That Christmas we were all together again. The topic of finding our adopted sister was brought up again. My sister, Rachel, said, “I bought poster board and markers, it’s happening today!” That particular Christmas was unusual in that my niece had gotten very sick over the holiday and was hospitalized. My sister, Amanda, had not left her daughter’s side since her baby was admitted. We took the poster board party to the hospital. In the darkened hospital room we haphazardly snapped a photo with my mom, the 5 of us and our posterboard of limited information in search of our sister. We posted it to Facebook.
What happened next we had not anticipated. That post went viral. It was shared tens of thousands of times. The local news channels picked the story up and it was shared that way too. We thought for sure it would be the ticket to finding her. However, days, weeks and months went by and we didn’t hear a thing. The Facebook community was extremely helpful in helping to give us additional ways to broaden our search.
We wound up hiring a intermediary through the adoption agency. With her help and some changes in the laws since 1969, we were hopeful it would uncover our sister. That’s exactly what happened. On April 17, 2018 my mom received a response to a letter she’d written to her first born child she’d given up for adoption.
We learned her name: Carrie. She has two sons. Via photos exchanged we learned she looks so much like us!
I waited for as long as I could to allow our mom and newly found sister to converse via email. Then I had to “friend” her on social media. Which she accepted immediately and we began messaging each other. We wound up setting a date to meet. On Carrie’s birthday, 49 years from the last time our mom had seen her and hugged her, they were reunited. Later that day all 5 of the siblings also got to meet her.
She’s a part of our family now. She joined us, along with her boys, multiple times this summer at the family cottage. We were all together over Christmas. We can’t wait to continue to make more memories. So many of my little nieces and nephews will never know life without Carrie and the boys in it. We love that. We love Carrie. We love her boys.