Long Lost Sisters Meet for First Time Since Adoption
Posted September 20th, 2012
For more than five decades, Penny Emberton-Brooks and Gaynor Miller never knew they were sisters. They met recently for the first time since Penny’s adoption in 1957.
Adopted over five decades ago, Penny was unaware of her older sister’s existence. Gaynor learned she had a younger sister from a relative, and once the sisters’ mother died in 1991, Gaynor began an earnest search to track her down.
Gaynor inadvertently discovered the identity of her younger sister while briefly mentioning to her mother’s brother-in-law that she wished she had a sister. He proceeded to tell her of Penny’s existence and since that day Gaynor’s life was changed.
Gaynor began her three-year search on the internet with only her mother’s maiden name to assist her. She eventually discovered Penny’s birth certificate and requested assistance from a specialist agency.
Gaynor’s search revealed insights into her “muddy” past. She discovered that at four years old her mother left her and traveled to London to give birth to Penny. Gaynor was left to be adopted by another family and she never saw her mother again.
Penny regretted not knowing her parents.
“I wish I’d known them. There’s always questions about who you are and where you’re from and your family history,” she said, “Well I don’t know it, but am slowly finding out some more.”
Penny knew she was adopted at a young age but she thought she was an only child. Not only did she discover she had an older sibling, but she also was surprised to learn she lived only a few hours away.
Gaynor located Penny, and the agency that assisted her sent the long-lost sibling a letter at her place of work. The correspondence requested permission for Gaynor to contact her.
Penny was full of emotion when she received the letter.
“You name it I felt it when I read that first letter – shock, amazement, wonder, anxiety, pleasure but overwhelmingly joy, she said.” It’s difficult to put into words. I had hundreds of questions yet none, I was flummoxed.”
The relationship flourished with many letters, emails and texts. They finally met face to face at a pub in Staffordshore on a special day, Penny’s 55th birthday.
Gaynor said, “…we recognized each other from our photos straight away. It was very emotional. We hugged and there were a few tears.”
After the reunion, the sisters stayed in touch meeting bi-monthly and texting every waking moment. They exchange photos and discuss their children and grandchildren. Their families met as well.
For Gaynor and Penny, the last years of their lives will be so much more fulfilling now that they have each other.
Vietnam War Chaplain and his Assistant Reunite After 44 Years
Posted September 19th, 2012
Chaplain Jerry Martin and his assistant Charlie Miller were not your typical Vietnam War soldiers. They fought their battles not with guns and armory, but with prayer, faith and open communication centered on love and trust.
They traveled with the “Golden Dragons”, the Army’s 1st Battalion, 14th infantry. They risked their lives along with the soldiers they serviced, all to provide comfort, faith and peace to the men who were fighting for their country so far from home.
Jerry would routinely pray with the soldiers and hold memorial services right in the jungle where battles would commence. He imparted faith and hope to soldiers who were afraid they wouldn’t see tomorrow. Though he was Baptist, he put his religion aside and ministered to Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. His assistant, Charlie, was also a Methodist, but the soldiers only knew the duo for their love and support.
Charlie was assigned to protect Jerry and drive the jeep that carried him. He also relayed information about the soldiers to keep everyone informed. Jerry respected and loved Charlie for the support he gave him during the tough times of the war.
Jerry says referring to Charlie, “He didn’t work for me. He worked with me, and was equal to me. He wasn’t a minister, but he performed a vital ministry.”
It was a dangerous environment for Jerry and Charlie, none carrying weapons to defend themselves. Jerry’s helmet contained a cross created to protect him from enemy fire, a provision from the Geneva Convention. However, this did not protect the previous chaplain who was killed in the line of duty.
On May 4, 1968, Jerry and Charlie heard the sounds of battle rushing towards them in the middle of the night. Jerry suffered shrapnel wounds in his hip and arm. He was evacuated to a hospital in Pleiku where he met Charlie who had brought his belongings. After treatment, Jerry returned back to the States to rejoin his wife Adell and two young sons. The hospital meeting was the last time the friends saw each other for more than four decades.
Charlie, before Vietnam, attended Concord College and chaplaincy school. He was a chaplain at Arlington National Cemetery before he was drafted. After Vietnam, he enjoyed a successful career in sales and marketing. He married his wife, Yerda, and had two children and three grandchildren.
Jerry attended Murray State University and was drafted while in seminary, but he was delayed until graduation. He also went to chaplaincy school. After the war, Jerry continued his service as an Army chaplain for 20 years and became a pastor in 1986 after retirement. He led a church in the Washington D.C. area for the next 14 years. He and his wife Adell are still married after 52 years and had three children and five grandchildren.
Both men had thought about reuniting but it never materialized until Charlie decided to use technology to find his beloved friend. Charlie searched LinkedIn for retired Army chaplains. He found someone named Jerry and sent him the message, “I hope I have found you.”
Charlie had found his old Army chaplain and spent many days communicating via email. They organized a trip for both couples to meet at Jerry’s home for a four-day visit. The couples enjoyed local music and attended a service at the Community Baptist Church. Charlie pulled out a little black book that was more than 40 years old. In it were journal entries describing every service in Vietnam. Stuck between the pages was also a photograph of a young Jerry, in fatigues, standing in front of a chapel.
The men reminisced and shared stories with their wives. They enjoyed Adell’s sweet tea as they remembered the good times during the war. They recalled the music tape Charlie’s DJ brother made them and how they used to sing along to the song, “Everyone Knows It’s Wendy.”
Jerry and Charlie relived the joys, the hard times, and the wonderful memories they will never forget. Thought the world would call them friends, in their hearts they were brothers. As they said good-bye, they would never let that much time separate them again.
Charlie said, “We’ve got this good phase started, and we’ll figure it out.”
Veteran Friends Reunite Five Decades After the War
Posted September 18th, 2012
Three soldiers served in World War II more than five decades ago and quickly became friends. They were recently reunited amidst family and friends and instantly rekindled their friendship.
Corporal Bernhard Tedhams “Ted”, Ken Pavey, and Mick Chapman served in the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1956. The three fought together and remained close friends throughout their service and even beyond their discharge. In fact, Tedham was Chapman’s best man at his wedding. Though the bond was strong and all three men valued their friendship, after the wedding the trio never saw each other again—until five decades later.
Tedhams never stopped thinking about his war buddies. He searched for them for many years without success, until finally he received a big break. World War II veteran, Robin Brown, professional people finder, assisted Tedhams with his search. Brown served in 1943 in the Royal Engineers. His current mission and full-time business is to help people find long lost loved ones. Brown found Tedhams an address for both Chapman and Pavey, but no phone number for Chapman.
Tedhams said, “Robin Brown gave us Mick’s address but no phone number. So the next day off we went to Brighton and turned up on Mick’s doorstep!”
“I had to pluck up the courage to knock on door; Mick answered the door and it was him!” Tedhams said. “He did not immediately recognize me, but when he did he went mad. It was really good to see him again.”
Tedhams contacted Pavey and the two planned a reunion at the Redoubt.
“It was windy and it rained hard all day,” Tedhams said. “After having lunch the sun shone and the boys Ken and Mick said what a good day it had been.”
Chapman stated he was in the service from 1954-1956, at which time he met Tedhams and Pavey.
“Ted was my Best Man at my wedding in March 1959,” Chapman said. “It was sometime after that we lost touch with each other. You can imagine my surprise and delight when Ted and his lovely wife Jean knocked on my door. “
Chapman was shocked to find out Tedhams was looking for him for the last two decades.
Chapman added, “We had a good, long chat and took photos. I have also been to see Ted and Jean at their home in Kent and we keep in touch by phone.”
Florida Native Donates Kidney for Long, Lost Friend
Posted September 17th, 2012
When most long lost friends and family members reunite, they give gifts of memories and photographs that connect their hearts together. But for Hillary Glanzer, her reunion with her long lost friend led her to offer one of the greatest gifts anyone could give—her kidney.
Hillary Glanzer, 28-year-old Newberry native, is a spontaneous, compassionate person, ready and willing to give when called upon. Her family knows her as a spunky, adventurous soul who makes important decisions on a whim.
Glanzer told her family about her decision to give her kidney to her long lost friend. Though her mother was not surprised at Glanzer’s spontaneous decision, she was scared at the prospect.
“She doesn’t live timidly,” said her mother, Joy Glanzer, “but we had to catch our breath.”
Hillary Glanzer first met Hannah Craig through Craig’s cousin, Sara Decubellis. After forming a close bond, they moved around and lost touch.
Glanzer discovered Craig needed a kidney on Facebook after reading Decubellis’ mother pleading for people to get blood tests to see if they would be a kidney match for Craig.
Craig suffered from the autoimmune disease lupus since she was six weeks old. At 21 years old, her body was weakening even though her mother, Doreen Bissonnette, had given one of her kidneys nineteen years ago.
Bissonnette was unsure that her daughter would get a kidney since she had a rare B-positive blood type. Craig started dialysis and was given one year before her kidneys would give up on her. And the Tampa General Hospital, known for kidney transplant operations, told the family Craig would need to wait at least three years for a kidney.
The prospects were grim—until Glanzer stepped up.
“I immediately thought I could at least get tested,” Glanzer said.
The blood work came back and Glanzer was a perfect kidney match for her long lost friend.
Glanzer’s mother came to visit her at her residence to talk to her about this important decision.
“Being told I’m the best match, that’s saying something,” she said.
When Craig’s mother, Bissonnette, was contacted about the kidney transplant for her daughter, emotions were high and tears were shed.
“I don’t remember much, but there were a lot of tears,” Bissonnette said.
Bissonnette had a meeting with Glanzer to inform her of the risks associated with the surgery. She wanted to let her know what to expect so she was prepared.
“If she could help, she wanted to do it,” Bissonnette said. “It’s a great thing to be able to give somebody a third chance.”
“You think of giving an organ, and it’s crazy, but if you do a little research, it opened my eyes to how much in need people are,” Glanzer said. “People don’t realize that.”
Joy Glanzer named the kidney Irene, after the Nat King Cole song “Goodnight Irene” to lighten the mood and make the atmosphere more joyous. The lighthearted nature of the song and naming the kidney helped Glanzer and Craig catch up after so many years apart.
“Both families spoke so often about the kidney, naming it made the process more personal and “easier to talk about,” Joy Glanzer said.
The surgery was successful and the families involved became closely bonded as a result.
“We talk almost every day now,” Glanzer said. “We’re a part of each other’s families.”
They consider themselves family, even though they are not blood related. A donated kidney symbolizes their compassion and precious union.
“We have a bond most blood families don’t,” Bissonnette said. “And we’ll be in each other’s lives forever.”
Silver Springs Woman Meets Brother She Never Knew Existed
Posted September 7th, 2012
Toni VanCleave, a 58 year old Silver Springs resident, received the surprise of her life when she found out she had a 73 year old brother, Alan Nimke.
The siblings met at the Carson City Rendezvous where VanCleave was participating in a Civil War re-enactment. VanCleave was surprised to find out Nimke also had an interest in the Civil War, a discovery made during their first conversation.
VanCleave recalls, “He goes, ‘We’re off to see a presentation on Ulysses S. Grant.’ I go, ‘No kidding, I’m off to see my friend Robert E. Lee.”
Nimke’s mother never told him his birth father left him. It wasn’t until he was seven that he discovered his birth certificate and his former last name—Westbrook. Nimke’s mother never told him the details of his parent’s divorce and he eventually forgot about it because he was very happy with his adoptive father, the man his mother re-married.
For the majority of Nimke’s life, he never questioned anyone about his birth father until a health problem aroused his curiosity. His wife, Ruby, prompted him to search for his father’s medical history and the two set off uncovering divorce records and an obituary hoping they would find more children.
“He was 19 years old when my birth father married my mother, so I knew he must have had more of a life after that,” Nimke said.
Nimke found VanCleave and asked his daughter to send her a friend request on Facebook. When VanCleave saw it, she ignored it, thinking it was from someone she didn’t know. She then discovered that Bill Westbrook, another brother, was a mutual Facebook friend, which led her to believe this person was more than a stranger. She asked him about the girl sending her the request.
“He said, ‘It’s someone you’re going to know. Sit down,” VanCleave recalled. “I had no clue at all (of another brother).”
The siblings talked by phone and were astounded how similar they sounded and shocked by their mutual interest in the Civil War. They decided to meet at a Civil War re-enactment where VanCleave was a participant.
VanCleave’s fellow participants mentioned how excited she was to meet her brother. She had been talking about their meeting for weeks.
“This is downright incredible, especially at our ages,” she said. “My cheeks are hurting from smiling so much
When the siblings met, they were equally surprised about their similarities, and they wasted no time sharing the details of their past.
VanCleave noticed how much he looked like their father. She referred to her father as “dad,” yet Nimke did not express the same sentiment.
Though the siblings’ father left Nimke at one years old, Ruby Nimke felt his leaving was for the best, especially since Nimke’s adoptive father was so great. VanCleave said their father divorced three times and had six children. Once she turned 14, she did not consider him as impressive.
“You didn’t really miss much,” she told Nimke, “except you didn’t get to form your own opinions.”
Though stories of their father turned the conversation to a negative tone, they still shared many topics of shared interest and enjoyed their time together. They talked about their brothers, their history and their striking resemblance.
Ruby Nimke said when seeing them together for the first time, “They’re just like family.”
Pen Pals Reunite After 33 Years of Correspondence
Posted September 6th, 2012
Don Rensberger and Walter Swensen never imagined their quick meeting would lead to years of communication. A brief chat at a Norwegian restaurant turned into a three decade-long pen pal relationship.
Rensberger’s job in aircraft maintenance resulted in occasional trips to Norway. During his stays, he would visit a restaurant regularly with his friends to enjoy the food, music and dancing. On one occasion, Rensberger sat next to Swensen and the two engaged in light conversation. They left that night and exchanged contact information.
The men communicated by postal mail and then by email, and over the years they wondered why they kept it up so long, especially since they did not have a lot in common. But, they enjoyed sending family holiday pictures and special moments. Rensberger was a married school teacher with three children and Swensen worked as a welder and had six children.
During their communications, the pen pals considered ceasing their writing, and when asked why they let the correspondence last for so long, Swensen said, “That’s what I have asked myself.”
“I wondered, too,” Rensberger said. “But we just did.”
The two men tried to meet once before, but it was too difficult and they put it off to a later date. They are now more than ready to meet in person.
Swensen, now 60, flew to meet Rensberger, now 79, and reunite with his 30-year pen pal. According to Swensen, the men “stepped softly” at first and were apprehensive about speaking in person since it had been so long since they saw each other. They did not know each other outside of a piece of paper or an email message. It was difficult for them to develop this new level of relationship.
The Rensbergers welcomed Swensen into their abode, making him feel comfortable as if he was at home.
“I think we hit it off very well,” Swensen said. “I enjoy his company. I hope he enjoys mine.”
“Absolutely,” Rensberger responded.
Family Reunited with Former Exchange Student After 37 Years
Posted September 5th, 2012
Luciana Tanajura Santamaria left her hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil at 14 years old to spend six months in America as a foreign exchange student. Luciana was sponsored by Youth for Understanding, a program that helped her fulfill her dream of visiting other countries as a student.
It was a cold December day in 1974 when Helen Ogle picked up Luciana from the bus stop to welcome her into the family for six months.
“I remember it snowed here the next day for the first time in 25 years,” Helen said. “And when she [Luciana] went back to Brazil, they had their first snow ever.”
Luciana always desired to become a foreign exchange student especially since her cousins had gone through the same program in Britain. Unfortunately, Britain refused to accept any more students due to her cousins causing mischief.
“They say ‘no more Brazilians,’ ” she said. “So I said I got to go somewhere — it will be the United States.”
Luciana’s mother was worried about sending her to the United States. Luciana wanted to stay longer than six months but her mother did not approve of the freedom Americans had and was worried her daughter would get entangled in it.
Luciana was excited, but nervous about the trip. She was fearful her first night, but as she felt more and more welcome by the hospitable Ogle family, her fears subsided.
“It was scary at first when I got here. That first night I thought ‘What am I doing to myself?’ ” she said. “At the end of the six months, I didn’t want to go back.”
For Helen, hosting a foreign exchange student was something she always wanted yet continued to put off. She had six children of her own so one more would just add more happiness to the bunch.
Gene Ogle saw how passionate his wife Helen was about hosting a student.
“It was whatever she wanted,” he said. “It really didn’t matter since we always had a house full of children anyway.”
Pamela Walker, one of the six children, was close in age to Luciana. At first, the inconvenience of sharing a bedroom bothered Pamela. But, once the two girls bonded and discovered their similarities, it led to a lasting connection.
“I learned about her culture and her family, but more than that I learned about her. I realized we were the same at heart,” Pamela said. “We both liked to sit and giggle about cute guys.”
Luciana and Pamela laughed at the times they had together, gossiping about boys and giggling like young girls do. Pamela attempted to learn Luciana’s native language but Luciana decided to teach her bad words instead. The girls laughed about their special times as if they had just occurred.
The new friends became even closer as time passed. They participated in every activity and never separated whether it was swimming in the family pool, biking, skiing, or attending sports games. They also loved spending time in the family recreation room and playing pool, air hockey and table tennis.
Luciana mentioned acclimating to the food differences.
“We used to eat a lot of rice and beans and here in America you don’t,” she said. “I learned to like Mexican food which Helen liked and still does. I was really thin when I came here but really fat when I left.”
“No you were not,” Pamela added. “You did gain a little, but you were never fat.”
“She wasn’t here long enough. Now the other girl who came and stayed for a year gained something like 25 pounds,” Helen said “We lost contact with her so that may be my next project — to try to find her.”
As quickly as they came, the six months flew by and it was time for Luciana to return home to Brazil. The Ogle family would never be the same.
Eight years after she left, Luciana contacted Helen at the school where she worked, but they were never able to meet.
“She remembered the name of the school and contacted them and said ‘I’m looking for my mom and dad Ogle — my Texas parents.” Helen said.
Luciana became a medical doctor and used her conferences as opportunities to visit the Ogle family. But her attempts were never successful—until now.
Fifty-one year old Luciana arrived in Boston for a conference and scheduled to reunite with the Ogle family more than three decades after she left. Helen picked her up at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the family reunited amidst high emotions and happiness. They reminisced and picked up right where they left off.
Pamela’s sister, Kimberly, was 10 years old when Luciana came to visit. Though she was too young to appreciate the experience, she recalls enjoying learning about Luciana’s culture.
Luciana recalls memories of living in the Ogle’s house. Everything looked similar except for the removal of one living room wall. Luciana did not recognize the town, though.
“Main Street is extremely different,” she said. “The only thing I remember is the Dairy Queen, the bank, the post office and the small grocery store.”
Luciana enjoyed her time with the family she loved. The Ogles plan to visit Luciana in Brazil and spend the 2013 holiday season with her. The families vowed to never let that much time pass between seeing each other again.
“It sure doesn’t feel like it’s been 37 years,” Gene Ogle said. “I can’t believe she has kids that are 28 and 22.”
Sisters Reunite After 64 Years of Separation
Posted September 4th, 2012
Six decades had passed since half sisters Carol Greene and Betty Coll last saw each other. The sisters were ripped apart as children and never met again until recently. After 64 years the sisters wondered why they hadn’t tried to reunite earlier.
Greene’s father became ill with tuberculosis in 1951. His terminal illness was taxing on her mother and she could not care for her four children and give them the attention and provision they required.
“My mother always told us that she had four children, but she had to give them up for adoption,” said Coll. “Her husband … had TB and she could not take care of them.”
“She said she wished she could keep them, but she couldn’t afford to,” added Greene’s aunt, Verna Gabriel.
Their mother made a measly wage working at a local silk mill. She decided it was best to give up her children for adoption to care for her terminally ill husband and give her children a better life.
“I was adopted at the age of six,” said Greene.
Greene never saw her mother and siblings again. She grew up, attended college, married and life went on, but somewhere in the back of her mind she longed to see her siblings again.
“There was always a lot of questions and not very many answers,” said Greene.
Greene’s son helped his mother with her plea and spent one full year researching public records. His determination paid off and Greene was elated to meet her long lost family.
He located Greene’s sister, Betty Coll, and arranged for the two to meet in Northampton Borough. The sisters recognized their mother’s cheekbones and connected as if they had never been separated.
“I can say now I’ve met my older sister,” said Coll. “I know who she is. I know her name, I know where she lives.”
The sisters are excited about the reunion but still longing to reunite with the rest of their siblings, two brothers and another sister, who were given up for adoption at the same time. They know their names, Richard, Robert and Dora Jane Malone, and that the brothers attended Muhlenberg College. They are said to have moved to Baltimore.
“Hopefully we can find the other two boys and the other girl and maybe we can get together as a family again,” said Coll.
Greene hoped she would reunite with her mother but sadly she passed away in 2009. Though she is happy to have found her sister, she regrets not looking for her mother years ago.
“I would have liked to have gone up to her and said, ‘I’m Carol Louise. I’m home. And you’re my mother.’”
Siblings Reunite Amidst Questions About Their Adoptions
Posted August 31st, 2012
Three siblings met for the first time in more than five decades. Their reunion was bittersweet, filled with hugs and kisses, along with unanswered questions and regrets.
Mike Jacoby, Larry Eyler, and Betsy Kissinger reunited at Kissinger’s home in Spring Branch. They enjoyed their time comparing similar facial features and joked about their younger sister Betsy who now had two brothers to keep her safe. They happily shared their life experiences and memories of their childhood. But, the excitement quickly turned to pain when unanswered questions kept creeping up attempting to dominate the conversation.
The siblings did not understand why their parents gave up Mike and Betsy for adoption and why they kept their now deceased older brother Bobby. Their birth parents also tried to give Larry up for adoption but later changed their mind and decided to keep him.
More frustrations plagued the siblings as they realized their 73-year-old mother who lives in Maryland as well as their adoptive parents and additional relatives could give them the answers they longed for. But, no one wanted to divulge the family “secrets.”
“My adopted father is 92,” says Mike, “but he’s still kind of under the impression that if he releases the secret of what happened, the ‘adoption police’ are going to come and get him.”
Betsy started searching for her birth family at 18 years old. She found her baptismal certificate at a Lutheran Church in Washington D.C. and discovered the names of her birth parents. She didn’t know what to do with the information until 18 months ago when she took to the internet to finish her search.
Betsy posted her profile information and received a message from a woman named Tracey.
“From all the information in your profile,” it read, “I think you’re my husband Larry’s sister.”
“This was the first time I had any inkling I had a brother,” Betsy said.
Larry and Betsy discovered they were siblings and contacted each other. Larry told Betsy she had two more brothers—Michael and Bobby.
The siblings found Michael on Facebook and sent him a message through his wife Theresia.
Mike sent back a message asking, “Who are you?”
“I knew I had siblings,” Mike says. “But I didn’t know how many or whether it was brothers or sisters.”
The three siblings remained in contact and spoke in length about the mystery of their adoption. Larry couldn’t understand why his adoption process never materialized.
“No one has ever told me why, other than that some kind of incident happened and my grandmother Hilda put a stop to it,” he says.
According to the three siblings, Hilda, their paternal grandmother, may have been behind the adoptions.
“My impression,” Betsy says, “is that Hilda was also in contact with our parents after we were adopted.”
Betsy and Mike also recall stories that would prove there was ongoing communication even after the adoptions.
Adoption expert Adam Pertman mentions the nature of closed adoptions during the 1950s. According to Pertman, most occurred due to unplanned pregnancies, which is why this particular case is daunting since the parents were married. Pertman feels financial strain may have been the driving force behind the adoptions.
“If the father was unemployed or lost his job, the couple could have decided they couldn’t raise a family of four children,” he speculated.
The siblings know their birth mother had answers to their secretive past but none have spoken to her. They talked to their aunt Liz, their mother’s sister, who told them their mother was amazed that they reunited and her comment was, “Well, that was all in the past.”
Though their mother’s comment was not the answer the siblings were hoping for, Liz said she was planning to write her children a letter soon. Hopefully the siblings will get some answers.
“We’ve all thought about (just knocking on her door), but we have to respect her privacy,” Betsy says. “We’re just happy to have found each other.”
Betsy’s adoptive parents are also not entirely supportive of her searching for her long lost siblings.
“Actually, I don’t know what my mother thinks, because she wouldn’t talk to me on the phone about it,” Betsy said. “My dad is upset, but he’s a little bit more open and answered questions.”
The siblings tried a different route and contacted the Reverend presiding over the Lutheran church where their adoptive and birth families attended. The Reverend questioned his elder parishioners about adoptions from the 1950s, but discovered the church never facilitated adoptions.
“I’m adopted myself, so that would have been OK with me,” he said. “But as far as I can tell that never happened.
Focusing on the Reunion
Amidst unanswered questions and concerns, the siblings are trying to focus on spending time developing their relationships. They enjoyed their contact even though it entailed solving mysteries.
“We could not stop talking; it was like we’d just seen each other the week before,” Betsy says, “We’ve already decided the next time we meet, it’ll be in Maryland, and we hope it’ll happen soon.”
Betsy sent a photo of the three reunited siblings to their Aunt Liz.
“Whether she passes it on to (our mother) is up to her,” she says. “Hopefully she will.”
Brother and Sister Reunite Just In Time for Wedding
Posted August 30th, 2012
Eddie Poole, 60 year-old war veteran and former councilor, experienced the fulfillment of his lifelong dream. He reunited with his estranged sister, Susan, after 50 years of separation. Eddie found Susan just in time for his wedding, an occasion he will treasure with his long lost sister and her family by his side.
Eddie and his sister Susan were separated as children and wondered if they would ever see each other again.
The siblings were taken into foster care at a young age. According to Eddie, the process was quite disconcerting as potential parents would walk around the children and choose which ones they wanted. Susan found a home quickly, leaving Eddie behind.
After ten years of switching families and suffering through an emotional roller coaster, Eddie joined the Army at age 15 and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps for 25 years.
“Going into the army was great for me,” Eddie said. “The army became my family because I never had anyone else. It was my life.”
After retirement, Eddie landed a job in computers and also worked as a taxi driver. He didn’t start seriously searching for his sister until 2009, when he ended a committed relationship.
Eddie contacted the adoption agency NORCAP, an organization dedicated to re-connecting lost loved ones split apart by adoption.
It took a full year for NORCAP to locate Eddie’s long lost sister.
“But it still took such a long time because Susan had changed her surname three times through adoption and marriage, which is of course what women do,” he said.
Eddie was shocked and elated at the news and didn’t know how to explain his feelings.
“The whole thing is difficult to put into words,” he said. “The feeling is not a usual one which you can pigeon-hole.”
Eddie’s and his fiancée, Judy Morris, and his long lost sister, along with six members of her family gathered together for the reunion.
“It was just a marvelous experience. I sat there all afternoon in some sort of surreal fog, talking to her and not quite believing it was real,” Eddie said.
Eddie is not only happy to have his sister back, but he is also overjoyed that he has his extended family with him for his wedding.
“I can’t believe I am going to have them all there at the wedding. It is not just seeing Susan again, but I’ve also suddenly got uncles, nieces, nephews and all sorts,” Eddie said. “I’ve gone from having nothing to suddenly having everything. It is a wonderful new beginning for both me and Judy.”