It was a reunion 63 years in the making, said Linda Burch of Cleveland.
On Oct. 1, Burch, 49, and her parents, Ed and Karen Christy, finally met face to face with Ed’s oldest biological daughter, April Thompson, 63, of Jefferson City, Mo., after countless phone calls since Burch located her sister through Facebook in June.
“I’ve been planning a trip for weeks but work has come up, so we weren’t able to do it before now. Then my Mom called to say that she and dad were driving to Missouri over the weekend. He really wanted to see her before something happened to either of them,” Burch said.
Not wanting to be left out of the trip since she was the one who found her long-lost sibling, Burch set out on a whirlwind, three-day, 780-mile trip with her parents, stopping for a short visit with relatives along the way.
The sisters grew up separately. According to Burch, Thompson was unaware that she even had siblings on her father’s side. Burch and her two sisters in Texas were raised by both biological parents. Thompson, the product of Ed’s first marriage, was raised by her biological mother, who moved away with Thompson when she was an infant. Burch said her father tried to find Thompson, even hiring private investigators, but the searches were fruitless.
“He went looking for her in California and tried to get her uncle to tell him where they were living, but he wouldn’t. He only gave my father a photo of April from when she was in kindergarten,” Burch said.
According to Burch, when Thompson’s mother died, she returned to Indiana, where the family once had lived, to try to find him, but her search was unsuccessful.
“She had a clipping from the newspaper about him. That’s all she ever had,” Burch said.
In the months since the siblings found each other through Facebook, they have spoken by phone nearly every other day, Burch said, which is why their meeting in person was natural and without nervous jitters.
“I felt complete when I met her. It was everything I hoped for. It was like everything I worked on to find her was at a rest. It wasn’t closing the book, but the search was over,” she said.
The sisters discovered that even though circumstances separated them, they still had a lot in common.
“We actually have a lot of similarities,” Burch said. “I am glad we found her. She has health issues. She is doing good now but I am glad we found her when we did.”
After spending just one day together with Johnson, Burch and her parents returned to Texas. The sisters are now planning another reunion later this year in Texas with their other sisters.
“April is coming to Texas next and staying with us for a couple of weeks. She’s even contemplating the idea of moving here for a while,” Burch said.
By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org