Siblings lost and found: Ancestry.com unites sisters after 52 years

- A baby - given up for adoption 52 years ago - now she's back in metro Detroit to meet the siblings she never knew - how they finally connected after all these years.

"I called her and I said, hi I've been looking for you for 33 years -- I'm your sister," said Kim Powell.

This is a story of siblings separated, years spent searching, and the sweet sound of a sister's voice.

"Those were the first words out of her mouth - I've been looking for you for 33 years," said Kim Hunter-Sturgill. 

"That is something any adult adoptee would love to hear."

Kim Hunter-Sturgill was born Mary Margaret Therrien in August of 1966. Her mother, Patricia Therrien, already had six children when her husband died.

Months later she became pregnant with Mary Margaret and gave her up for adoption - Patricia never told the father and she never spoke of it again.

That was until 33 years ago when her daughter, Kim Powell, was pregnant and considering adoption. That's when Patricia revealed her own secret.

"That she gave up a daughter," Powell said. "Only told me the year though. I didn't push the issue with her."

Patricia had gone on to re-marry and have three more children. Meantime Mary Margaret had been adopted by a family in Monroe. They changed her name to Kim and moved to California. She always knew she was adopted and she knew she had siblings but could not legally get access to the records, because it was a closed adoption.

"It always listed boy or girl and their ages," said Sturgill. "So every year on my birthday I would add a year to keep track of how old they were - and I prayed for them all the time."

Sturgill went on to have children of her own - who wanted more information about their nationality - so she tried Ancestry.com - and what she found there, changed everything.

"That's when the Ancestry mailbox (rang)," she said.

Ancestry.com had identified possible relatives. Sturgill heard from two half-sisters from her biological dad's side of the family.

Then she sent four messages to possible relatives on her biological mom's side.

"It was a niece that answered my first message," Sturgill said.

That was in June - and within hours - she had a whole slew of siblings - including an older sister named Kim, who told her their mother, Patricia, had just died in February.

"I tried to stay strong you know," Powell said.

"I was a basket case," Sturgill said.

"She was," Powell quipped.

So many emotions after a lifetime of waiting, wishing, and wondering about her biological family. At the end of September, she flew in from California - to meet them.

"It was amazing - just absolutely amazing," said Powell.

"I literally ran to Kim," Sturgis said. "My little short stubby legs went right across there and into her arms."

"I encourage people - if somebody contacts them - open the door," said Powell. 

Open doors, open arms, open hearts and finally - a wish come true... 

"This past birthday in August was the best birthday I ever had," said Sturgis. "Because every sibling called me to wish me a happy birthday. Usually birthdays for adoptees are every sad - but not this year.

"Best birthday ever - thanks, sis."
 

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