When Lizzie Valverde decided to sign up for her creative writing class at Columbia University, she had no idea what she was in for.
Someone in this class would change her life forever.
On the first day of class, the professor asked the students to share something interesting about themselves. That way, the students and teachers would get to know each other a little bit better.
But Lizzie was hesitant to reveal the truth about herself. And she had a good reason for that.
Lizzie’s biological mother had put her up for adoption when she was just a few days old. She decided she couldn’t take care of her child as she was still very young.
Lizzie was then adopted by a family in New Jersey. However, after Lizzy shared her story with the class, she noticed that one of her classmates began acting strange around her.
Her name was Katy Olson. She knew she couldn’t just stay quiet and move on. A little voice in her head was telling her to speak up and reveal the truth.
So, she made a difficult decision. She decided to have a chat with Lizzy.
“I worried that she’d think I was stalking her,” Katy recalls.
“But I didn’t want to let her get away. I couldn’t go home and sit for a week without getting an answer to this question.”
Katy was also adopted as a baby by a couple from Iowa. And her birth mother’s name was Leslie, too.
Lizzy was in complete shock after hearing her classmate’s story. ”The room kind of froze — and I just said, ‘Is this real life?'” she said.
“She followed up with the rapid fore of more detailed personal questions like ‘Were you given up for adoption in Tampa by a woman named Leslie?”Lizzy continued.
Lizzie didn’t feel comfortable sharing details about her life with a girl she had just met an hour ago, but Katy wouldn’t give up.
“I think we’re sisters,” Katy insisted. It turned out that both Katy and Lizzie were placed for adoption by the same young woman from Florida.
Lizzie, who was a year older than Katy, was adopted by a couple in New Jersey, while Katy grew up in Florida and Iowa. So could they really be sisters?
Both women then moved to New York City to go to college and then, eventually, ended up in the same class at Columbia University’s School of General Studies.
Lizzie knew that she had a sister, but she was told that she had passed away.
“My adoptive mother was contacted in 1980 about adopting another girl from my biological mother, but she was told the baby may not survive because of complications with her birth and delivery,” Lizzie said.
“After that, my mother never heard anything further. We thought she never made it alive.”
Lizzie and Katy had been inseparable since that first day of class at Columbia University. They would meet up almost every day to learn more about each other and their lives.
The two sisters even went on a vacation together!
A year after they met each other in college, Lizzie attended Katy’s graduation.
Their biological mother, Leslie, also attended the graduation ceremony. But how did the girls react when they saw her?
It was an emotional moment for Leslie and her two daughters. Katy and Lizzy ran over and gave their biological mother a hug!
“I feel like the world has come full circle,” Leslie said.
“I thought it went really well,” Lizzy said. “She was very open, and it was nice to get to speak with her.”
“We were all talking and laughing. 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.”
Leslie is very proud of her two daughters. They grew up kind and intelligent!
“I’m so proud of them,” she said. “They’re both amazing, beautiful women.”