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10 Amazing Coincidences Involving Long-Lost Family Members

by Robert Grimminck
fact checked by Jamie Frater

For some people, the limbs of their family tree are shrouded in mystery. Adopted children may never know their biological parents. Children separated at birth may never even know they have a sibling. These 10 stories are about people who never knew they had a long-lost relative, only to find them again under extraordinary circumstances.

10Steve Flaig And Christine Tallady

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On October 5, 1985, Christine Tallady gave birth to a boy whom she planned to give up, since she wasn’t ready to be a single mother at that time in her life. Years later, she would get married and have two more children, but she never forgot about that first little baby boy.

When the boy was adopted, he was given the name Steve Flaig. When Flaig turned 18, he began looking for his birth mother, who had left the adoption records open in case the child ever wanted to contact her. However, he couldn’t find any record her, and his life, as lives tend to do, continued on. When he was 20, he started working at a Lowe’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a delivery truck driver.

In October 2007, Flaig made a crucial realization. While searching for his mother over the past four years, he had been spelling her name wrong. He had been writing “Talladay” instead of “Tallady.” When he searched her name with the correct spelling, he found out that Christine Tallady lived close to him and even closer to the Lowe’s where he worked. So he went into work and asked his boss if he knew a Christine Tallady. His boss responded that yes, he knew who that was. It was Chris, the head cashier who had been hired at the same store a few months earlier. Flaig had only known her in passing.

For the next two months, Flaig was unsure what to do. So in December, just before Christmas, he went to the adoption agency and asked for some help. A worker there placed a call to Christine saying that her adopted son wanted to get a hold of her, and would she mind? Christine agreed to the meeting and was told that her son was Steve Flaig, the delivery truck driver at the Lowe’s where she worked.

The story made national headlines, and Flaig and Tallady appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen sent them, along with Tallady’s husband and her two children, on a Caribbean cruise.

9Jordan Dickerson And Robin Jeter

Jordan Dickerson was adopted at three months and grew up in Washington, DC. In 2012, she was 17 and joined the track team for the first time. At a track meet in January 2013, Dickerson’s friends noticed that there was another young woman from a different school who looked just like her. One of Dickerson’s friends said that she knew who the girl was and that her name was Robin Jeter. Upon hearing the name, Dickerson burst into tears—the name of her biological family was Jeter.

Eventually, the girls talked at the meet and exchanged phone numbers. Later that night, they spoke on the phone and Dickerson told Jeter that she was her sister who had been adopted when she was three months old. Jeter, who is about nine months older than Dickerson, grew up in foster care in DC. Jeter wasn’t aware that she had a sister, only that she had a brother.

Since meeting, Dickerson and Jeter have grown closer and have spent a lot of time catching up. On Mother’s Day 2013, Dickerson met her biological mother for the first time.

8Duncan Cumming And Ron Cole

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In the early 1940s, a woman living in Ottawa, Canada, gave birth to two sons, both of whom were taken into the custody of the Children’s Aid Society. One of the boys was adopted and given the name Ron Cole. Cole grew up in Ottawa, but eventually moved west to be a farmer. In his forties, he started looking for his biological mother. He learned that his mother had died, but in the process he found out that he had a brother and a sister.

For over 25 years, Cole searched for his family. As part of his search, he contacted a volunteer organization called Parent Finders Ottawa, and they spent years piecing together information on Cole’s biological siblings. Then, in 2013, Cole received a call from Parent Finders. They said they had found out the identity of his brother, a man named Duncan Cumming. Surprisingly, Cole recognized Cumming’s name: They’d gone to grade school together in Ottawa and had lived five blocks away from each other. The two didn’t look similar, so no one ever thought they might be related. Cole found Cumming’s contact information and found that he was living in Guernsey, an island in the English Channel. Cole called up his old friend and dropped the news: They were long-lost brothers.

In 2014, Cumming, who was 72, and Cole, who was 71, met in Ottawa after not seeing each other for almost 60 years. They had lost touch around the ages of 12 or 13. However, both had kept a picture of themselves together on the beach from 60 years earlier. The brothers are currently looking for their sister, Diane Beattie, who was born in Ottawa in 1952.

7Lizzie Valverde And Katy Olson

Sisters separated at birth meet in college writing class

Nearly 35 years ago, a troubled teenager living in Tampa, Florida, named Leslie Parker first gave birth to a girl. A year later, she gave birth to another girl, and both were given up for adoption. The elder daughter was named Lizzie Valverde and grew up in New Jersey. The second daughter was named Katy Olson and grew up in Florida and Iowa.

Around the age of 30, both of them moved to New York City and enrolled in Columbia University’s School of General Studies. Once enrolled, the two sisters signed up for the same literary reporting class. At the beginning of the class in January 2013, the instructor had the students introduce themselves, and Valverde explained that she was adopted, that she was from Florida, and began to share a few other pieces of personal information with the class. Almost immediately, Olson knew that the woman sitting across the room from her was her sister.

The two long-lost sisters met after class and immediately started sharing their lives with each other. They are close now and have even gotten in contact with their birth mother.

6Tommy Larkin And Stephen Goosney

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In 1969, an unidentified woman gave birth to a son in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. A year and a half later, she gave birth to another boy. Both of them were given up for adoption. Tommy Larkin, the elder boy, grew up in Crook’s Harbor, while his younger brother, Stephen Goosney, grew up in Woody Point. Both are small towns in Newfoundland. At some point, Larkin moved to Corner Brook, and while living there he began searching for his biological family.

Finally, in March 2010, Larkin got a breakthrough in the search for his family. He was talking to someone from the adoption agency, and she gave him the name of his brother, Stephen Goosney. She then kept asking if he recognized the name or knew him, but Larkin didn’t. The woman said that if he signed some papers, he could probably meet his brother by the end of the week.

On March 24, 2010, Larkin got a call from the adoption agency giving him the address of his brother’s house. The address of the house was almost directly across the street; Larkin could see Goosney’s house from his own home as he spoke on the phone with the agency. Goosney had moved almost directly across the street seven months prior, but the two brothers had actually lived on the same street for years. Even though they had been neighbors for several months, they never saw much of each other and had never spoken to one another.

Goosney was out of town the day Larkin got the call, but the next day, Larkin kept an eye on Goosney’s house and waited until he could see his car in the driveway. Larkin called him on the phone once he saw that he was home. They met and immediately hit it off. After the story became news, Goosney and Larkin’s two sisters also contacted them.

5Adriana And Leandro

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Unfortunately, not all family reunions have a particularly normal ending. One such example is Adriana and Leandro from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Adriana had been looking for her mother, Maria, after being abandoned by her 38 years earlier when she was just one year old. In August 2014, Adriana went on the radio program The Time Is Now, which is a show that specializes in reconnecting long-lost relatives. On the show, she talked to her estranged mother, Maria, and Maria mentioned that she’d also had a son, whom she had also abandoned. He was a year younger than Adriana, and his name was Leandro.

The amazing and unfortunate coincidence in this case was that Adriana’s husband of 10 years, with whom she had a daughter, was a man who was a year younger than her and who had a mother named Maria who’d abandoned him. And yes, his name was Leandro. The two siblings had married each other without either of them knowing that they were brother and sister.

After the revelation, the couple decided to stay together.

4Gary Nisbet And Randy Joubert

Co-workers Discover They’re Long-lost Brothers

In 2009, 35-year-old Gary Nisbet had been working as a delivery man for a retail bedding company in Waldoboro, Maine, for seven years. In June of that year, he got a new delivery partner named Randy Joubert. The pair had a striking resemblance to each other, and when the employees at the store took notice, the two movers just thought they were being teased. But then customers began asking if they were brothers. Over the next couple months, the two delivery partners got to know each other. They had gone to rival high schools and had lived in towns that neighbored one another in Maine.

Randy had been looking into his own adoption files for years. By the end of the summer, he learned that he did, in fact, have a brother, but the only information the agency could give him about his brother was his date of birth and his first name, which was Gary. After learning the information, Randy and Gary were making deliveries and Randy asked Gary if he was adopted. Gary said that he was. Then, Randy asked if he knew his parents’ names—they were the same as Randy’s. Finally, to confirm everything, Randy asked Gary when his birthday was. This answer sealed the deal, and Randy told Gary that he was his long-lost brother.

Gary was shocked because he didn’t even know he had a brother. The two brothers and their half-sister had been taken away from their parents 35 years earlier.

After the initial attention, a woman named Joanne Campbell from nearby Warren, Maine, showed up at the store where the brothers worked with a birth certificate. It turned out that she was their missing half-sister.

3Rick Hill And Joe Parker

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In April 2011, Rick Hill, his partner Maureen, and his three children, who lived in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, were on vacation in Hawaii. They weren’t planning on visiting Waikiki Beach, but on April 25, that’s where they found themselves. Also on the beach that day was Joe Parker, who also wasn’t supposed to be there. He was an event planner and had only gone to the beach to book a last-minute surfing lesson for a client.

On the beach, Parker saw Maureen trying to take a picture of the family and offered to take the picture for them so Maureen could be in it. Parker also noticed Hill’s accent and instead of telling the Hills to say “cheese,” he told them to say “Leominster,” which is the town next to Lunenberg where Parker grew up. After taking the picture, Parker explained that he was from Leominster, but had moved to Hawaii. After discovering that they were from the same area, Parker and Hill began dropping names, seeing if they knew anyone in common. Then Parker said “Dickie Halligan,” and Rick Hill knew who that was—his father. Amazingly, it was also Parker’s father. Parker and Hill were half-brothers.

Parker had grown up in foster care, believing Halligan to be his uncle. When he was 21, Parker saw an ad that Halligan put in the paper that said he was looking for him. Parker contacted him and Halligan told him that he was actually his father, not his uncle, and that he had a half-brother. Hill, on the other hand, was raised by his mother and stepfather and knew his father when he was young.

After meeting on the beach, Hill spent some time with his half-brother, and they celebrated Parker’s 38th birthday, which was just days after they met on the beach. They said that if they hadn’t met there on that day, there’s a good chance they would have never met at all.

2Anais Bordier And Samantha Futerman

Long-Lost Twins Reunited | This Morning

Anais Bordier was born in South Korea and was adopted as an infant. She grew up in Paris before moving to London to study fashion. She turned 25 years old in December 2012. One day, her friend posted a screenshot from a YouTube video on Bordier’s Facebook wall, saying that the woman in the image looked just like her. She watched the video, but there were no credits, so she didn’t follow up any further. Months later, Bordier again saw the woman from the video. This time she was in the trailer for the film 21 and Over, and she checked the credits for the film. Her doppelganger was named Samantha Futerman.

So Bordier did some searching and found out that Futerman had been raised in Verona, New Jersey. She also discovered that Futerman had been born in the same town in South Korea and on the exact same day as her. There were enough coincidences that Bordier felt compelled to send Futerman a Facebook friend request.

The two talked and eventually got a DNA test, which confirmed that the girls were actually twin sisters. Neither of them knew the other one existed until Bordier’s friend posted the YouTube screenshot on her wall. They met in London a short time later and discovered that they had the same laugh. They are close, and both girls have met each other’s adopted families. They wrote a book about their experience, with each twin taking turns writing alternating chapters. It’s called Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited. They also produced a documentary about their journey called Twinsters.

1Zephany Nurse And The Nurse Family

Parents reunite with their daughter, 17 years later

On April 28, 1997, in Cape Town, South Africa, Celeste Nurse gave birth to a baby girl which she and her husband, Morne, named Zephany. Just a few days later, on April 30, an unidentified woman kidnapped the infant while Celeste was asleep. The Nurse family was devastated at losing their newborn, and it wasn’t until 2010 that they began coming to terms with the fact that Zephany was gone and probably never coming back. There was a good chance that she was dead.

But Zephany was alive and well, and closer than they could have imagined. In January 2015, Zephany was a senior in high school when she and her friends noticed that there was a striking similarity between her and a girl who had just started eighth grade. That girl was Cassidy Nurse, Celeste and Morne’s daughter, whom they’d had after Zephany.

Cassidy went home and told her father about the 17-year-old girl who looked just like her. Morne became excited, thinking that this could be his long-lost daughter, so he went and met Zephany at McDonald’s while Zephany and Cassidy were hanging out. After talking to her a few times, he was convinced. He called the police and a DNA test was performed. The results of the DNA test showed that Zephany was indeed the long-lost daughter of the Nurses.

Zephany was taken into a safe house, and the woman who kidnapped her was arrested for the kidnapping. Her identity hasn’t been revealed.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or visit his website.

fact checked by Jamie Frater