Sisters Overcome Differences With Love

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Sisters Overcome Differences With Love

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Posted: 7/15/2011
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

/images/stories.asp?i=20110715092908.0.jpgGrowing up, I always knew I had a sister out there somewhere and I dreamed of meeting her. I had so many questions I wanted answered. I prayed and prayed over the years and was assured that in God's time it would all work out.

This is my story.

When I was 25 and preparing for my wedding, I asked my mom for information about my birth family for the first time. I knew she would be angry, but I was an adult and figured it was time to take matters into my own hands. I asked for the phone number of the department of vital records, and told her I planned to call and request my adoption file and look for clues to find my birth family.

She didn't breathe a word of it until the rehearsal dinner the night before my wedding. We were all sitting around the table, everyone happy and excited for the wedding, when she turned to me and said, "Here is your damn phone number and I hope you are better to her than you have ever been to me!" Then she stormed out and I was left to smile and laugh it off for the benefit of our guests. Inside, I was furious that she made a scene in front of all our family and friends, and then I felt crushed and conflicted. How could I search for the answers I needed without alienating her further? We never had a good relationship, and looking back I see that she probably reacted so strongly because she thought I was trying to replace her. She must have felt threatened and in some ways, betrayed.

After the wedding, I did call and request my adoption file, which I received in the mail. From the file I learned my birth mother's name and birth date, and I found out that I had an older sister. This information gave me more questions than answers. A few years ago I contacted an internet search company, paid a fortune, and was ultimately ripped off. They found nothing. After that, I was hesitant to hire any more 'professionals,' yet searching on my own got me nowhere.

Then one day, I was watching TV and I saw an episode of Troy the Locator on WE TV. I went to the website and submitted all of my information. Simultaneously, I was talking to a friend on Facebook and told him about my search. He asked if I was referring to Troy Dunn, and told me that he went to school with Troy's wife, Jennifer. He emailed her about my story, and I went to bed that night wondering if anything would come of it. Sure enough, the next day I got a call from Susan Friel-Williams. Jennifer had worked her magic and convinced Troy to help me. Then, he contacted his trusted third party search provider, Search Quest America. Susan is the CEO of SQA, and she promised that if I decided to pursue the search, she could find my birth family within a week. With that kind of guarantee, how could I refuse?

First, Susan found my sister. Those first phone calls were a whirlwind! My sister's name is Tammy and we hit it off right away. She came and stayed with me for a few days, and a few months later I went and stayed with her for four days. My sister and I have a relationship that's more than I could ask for. We even look alike! We talk every day and text back and forth, constantly in contact. We were sitting in church one Sunday when my mother-in-law noticed we have the same hands and feet. We are different in some ways, however.

I am married and have 2 children, an 11-year-old girl and a 23-year-old boy. I am a religious person and am very active in my church. Meanwhile, Tammy is single and lives with her best friend and her friend's children. She is also a lesbian. When she first told me, I could tell she expected me to be shocked and narrow-minded. Tammy is my sister, and I have searched for her all my life. I could never let this stand in the way of our relationship. I told her "I don't care if you are purple! It really wouldn't matter to me!"

It may have been difficult to handle our differences if Tammy had been brash and bold about her lifestyle, or if I had been overbearing in my religious beliefs. Luckily, both of us are loving and understanding. Plus, it's easy for me to understand why she has made certain choices in her life after finding out some of the things that happened to her as a child. It must have been so horrible what she went through. I haven't had the best life but Lord knows nothing like that has ever happened to me. In fact, Tammy did not grow up with our birth mother, but was raised by an aunt. She never had a relationship with our mother growing up, and they had lost contact with one another.

A few days after I first talked to Tammy, Susan called me and gave me the contact information for my birth mother. I decided to write her a letter. I sent pictures and told her I wanted to meet her and get info about my birth father, if she was willing. She called me a few weeks later, right around Mother's Day. She was really hard to understand because she recently had surgery for throat cancer, and her voice was very deep and gravelly. She did tell I that Tammy and I have the same father, but she said he is dead. She kept saying, "don't be mad at me, I'm a good person." One of the questions I asked her was why she lied on my birth certificate and put a false name. She said it was a stressful time; she was in a biker gang and had a wild life at the time. Something about her version of events left me wondering if she really remembers what the truth is anymore. Over all, it was a very one-sided, awkward conversation. We did not make any plans to meet, and I hung up the phone with a heavy, bitter heart.

I was glum for a few days, but then rallied myself with prayer and realized I have so much to be grateful for! I have gained a relationship with my sister, and that outweighs any disappointment I have encountered during my search. The last thing left to do was to tell my adoptive mom that I had found my birth family.

She is in a nursing home, and I visit her often. Considering how strongly she disapproved of my search throughout my life, I was hesitant to tell her I had found Tammy and my birth mother. At the same time, I wanted Tammy to meet my mom. One day, I took Tammy with me to the nursing home, but I introduced her as my "friend." A few hours after I left, a nurse called me and said that my mom had been going on and on about how Tammy and I look and act alike. Even though I didn't spell it out for her, I think she knew that Tammy was my sister. When I went back and revealed the truth, she was actually thrilled to death for me! I couldn't believe the transformation. I think it's because at this point in her life, she knows I'm her daughter and I love her. She doesn't feel threatened by my search anymore and she can be happy for me. This has brought us closer together. She tells me on a daily basis, "Tell Tammy hi, that I'm thinking about her!" That's more than I could ever have expected.

I know God's in control of the situation and He'll work it all out.

My story isn't exactly the perfect reunion you'd see on TV, but it is what it is and I can accept that. I've met my sister, her awesome friends, and my life is better to have known these people. Even more important, I came into Tammy's life at the perfect time - she needed me even more than I needed her. I feel so grateful for Jennifer, Troy, and especially Susan at SQA who kept her promise and made this miracle possible

God bless each of you!

Written by Mica Burton on Angela's behalf.

(Client ID# 288471)
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