AUSTIN - A 60-year-old woman met the family she’s never known face-to-face for the first time Thursday morning.
Wendy Vevante was adopted at birth and said she has known for a while about her younger siblings, but never had enough information to find them. Not until recently, when her daughter Erica Hartwiga began the hunt.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” Hartwiga said.
It all started two months ago when Hartwiga received her results from a DNA kit she got for her birthday from Ancestry.com.
First, she double checked the results with the help of friend looking through old census reports.
Then she did a Facebook search for the names of her aunts and uncle. Once she saw the resemblance in their profile pictures, she said she had to reach out
Hartwiga’s Facebook messages went unanswered by the three sisters, but the brother was her saving grace.
He said he didn’t know if his mother had put a daughter up for adoption, but he was able to move the journey along by giving Hartwiga his sister Robin Pardue’s phone number.
That phone call changed their lives.
“I went into shock [when Hartwiga told me she was my niece],” Pardue said. “I don’t really remember much of the conversation after that.”
Pardue said the three sisters knew their mother had another daughter, and they had been looking to put the family puzzle together.
“We’ve been trying to find her for 12 years,” Pardue said.
After Skyping, calling and texting, they decided it was time to meet face-to-face.
The perfect opportunity arose with a family wedding taking place in Austin Friday. Vevante’s portion of the family was added to the guest list.
“Being an only child for 60 years, it’s so exciting to finally have sisters,” Vevante said.
The family said they are excited to make up for lost time, starting this weekend.
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