Reunions
2 women meet in college class only to discover they’re long-lost sisters
It was a chance encounter that changed both of their lives forever.
Elijah Chan
11.12.21

In a writing class at Columbia University, an incredible story was waiting to be told.

Pexels - Pixabay
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Pexels - Pixabay

Two women sat across from each other in a Columbia classroom thinking that the other was just another classmate. They never would’ve guessed that the two of them had something so much more in common.

Flickr - ajay_suresh
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Flickr - ajay_suresh

Amid the details of their life, a mystery began to take shape.

As they shared stories in class, Lizzie Valverde and Katy Olson (both in their early 30’s), found out that some of the details strangely matched parts of their own narratives.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
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YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

Yes, both women were returning to college in their 30’s and both of them were pursuing their passion for writing. But that’s not the only thing they had in common.

Turns out, the two women shared a mother as well.

Olson explained that she asked Valverde so many questions after class. The other woman just assumed that Olson knew her younger sister.

It was at that moment that Olson broke the news to Valverde.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

“And, I’m like yeah, I don’t know your sister, I think I am your sister,” Olson told ABC News.

They were sisters separated as babies.

When they were younger, the two of them were adopted by two different families. Valverde moved to New Jersey with her family while Olson moved south to Florida then Iowa.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

They grew up in two different places and with two different last names. It was in the Ivy League school, however, that their story would come together.

“We went straight to the bar,” Olson told the news outlet, “And we just ordered pitchers of beer and just started going back and forth with our lives and biographical details… Like, do you like chicken wings? I like chicken wings. Do you have a weird pinkie toe? I have a weird pinkie toe.”

Valverde, who met their biological mother before, knew a reunion needed to happen.

She introduced Olson to their mother, Leslie Parker. Parker gave up her daughters because she was battling addiction. She explained to CBS that she was “practically homeless” when she was pregnant. And as much as she wanted to keep the girls, she knew it would be a selfish thing to do.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

Even if she loved her girls so much, she knew it won’t be enough to raise them.

Parker made a difficult choice back then, and fate brought them all back together.

“We were all talking and laughing,” Olson said to ABC. “We talked about a wide variety of subjects … my birth and why she wasn’t able to keep me … all the way to who’s your favorite male celebrity.”

The reunion came at a perfect time, as well.

As Valverde celebrated the culmination of her scholastic life, she had two more special supporters watching her graduate.

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

Sitting amongst the guests was her mother and her long-lost sister. And as their paths diverge once more between comedy and poetry, the sisters emerge from this stranger-than-fiction story with more people to love and cherish.

“To see both my moms together — that’s a pretty intense moment,” Valverde said to ABC. “With my family watching … all the people in my life who’ve gotten me to that point — especially my daughter — was really humbling.”

YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - CBS Evening News

They both entered college to write stories. And now, they found themselves in one of the greatest ever told.

Watch how these two women walk out of Columbia not as strangers but as sisters in the video below!

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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