It was about 10:42 this morning when I dialed a new number into my phone that I was given through a Facebook Message….And on the other end of the line, I heard a friendly voice saying “Well, hello Aunt Sherri”!
It never gets old. That excitement of actually making person to person contact with another new family member!! This time a nephew. And while all of my nephews are special to me, this one is the youngest son of my half-sister, Karen, who we recently found with the help of Kim Haskitt, a Search Angel that CeCe Moore asked to help us out. She has been working with us since January 8, 2019…And she has been amazing and uncovered a lot of information, some that was quite shocking and a big surprised to all of us…I will share that later. Unfortunately, what we also learned about Karen was that she had been killed in a tragic car accident when she was only 22 years old. Those of us closely involved in the search have been kind of devastated by this news, as we were so looking forward to getting to meet and know Karen. And we were also anxious to confirm that she truly was our sibling…I had already purchased an Ancestry kit for her.
We had learned from our Search Angel, Kim, that Karen had grown up about 30 or so miles from where I had grown up. She was 2 years ahead of me in school. We did not attend the same school as she was one county over; however, I spent a lot of time in the larger town in her county…at the bowling alley, the skating rink, the movie theater, Pizza Hut and my friends and I often attended football and basketball games. It’s mind-boggling to think we could have bumped into one another in any one of those places and we would have never know we were connected?! I have gone to the little library in the town where Karen grew up with her adoptive family and was able to find her in school yearbooks from Elementary School through her Senior Year of High School! She was so pretty and seemed to be very involved in school activities. Karen was a cheerleader, she was in the band, and she was on the track team…This made me question our genetic ties…As everyone knows, I do NOT run! Unless something is chasing me?! However, it was good to see that it appeared she had a pretty typical small town Indiana life! These are pictures from her Senior Year and in Second Grade!
This started on Saturday night. I had a message in my email from 23 & Me alerting me that I had a new match and a message from a new relative. And to my surprise when I opened it up, it was a message from Brandon Dicus and it said “Hi Sherri! My name is Brandon. I believe you had a sister named Karen? I’m her son.” I, of course, replied that I did indeed have a sister named Karen… And just like that…Another family member was found! As per my customary habit after this happens, I looked for Brandon on Facebook and was able to find him and sent a Friend Request. He accepted it, so I sent him a private message that said “Hello! I think you are my nephew.” He replied “I believe I am”. By this time I was crying…We had a connection to our sister after all! And even more exciting, by his DNA being a match to mine, this confirmed that Karen truly was my half sister! So….I would like to introduce Brandon and welcome him to the family!
Brandon and I talked on the phone for over an hour and a half, I think, but I honestly lost track of time. He was sharing information we have been searching for and filling in some blanks and I was sharing information with him and helping to fill in some of the blanks he had. He doesn’t live that far away from me…Only about 3 1/2 hours! And do you want to know the really weird thing, we got our French Bulldog, Chloe, from the city he lives in! Seriously, what are the chances?! It really is a small world?! And this is Chloe Mae…I was glad to have a reason to share her photo!
Anyway, I think Brandon and I were both a bit overwhelmed with all of the information we shared with one another, but I messaged him later because I had forgotten to tell him about my blog. I told him I had slacked off and had not been keeping up, but felt inspired to write about connecting with him today and asked if I could share his name and a photo and he said he would like for me to, so it is my honor to do it. We are trying to make a plan to meet in person very soon!!! Oh…And he likes the beach and the ocean! He is definitely related 🙂
Later today, Brandon also posted on our Missing Sibling Search Facebook Page that we started with Kim’s advice and encouragement to help us try to find Karen and another brother we had learned of. The initial post/request to get our search story out there has been shared 7.4 thousand times…Still incredibly unbelievable, but so very appreciated. And now Brandon is another part of this story…Another missing piece that has been found!!
I hinted at some other information that our Search Angel uncovered, but I believe I will save that for another post to my blog. And while this story is bittersweet, I feel extremely fortunate that we have been able to make this connection to our sister through her son, Brandon…So, thank you, nephew, for reaching out!!