Last June, FOF gave away a California Spa trip and Soft Surroundings wardrobe
. We asked our members why they deserved the package and were blown away by this message from FOF Leah Houseman
It turns out, Leah's sister Beverly was given up for adoption when their parents fell on hard economic times. "It had to be excruciatingly painful to give up a child because of poverty and I try to put myself in my Mom's shoes," says Leah. "They wanted someone to give Beverly a good life."
Leah and Beverly were raised as only children in different households--in the very same town! Leah went to private school and Beverly went to public school (but had they both gone to public school - it would have been the same one). It wasn't until Beverly's adoptive parents passed away that she discovered the name of her birth-mother and clues that led her to believe she had a sibling. Beverly, then living in California, scoured the Internet for information to no avail. Then, two years ago, she got a lead. Her birth mother's very unique name was published on a website. Excited, she emailed to the site's webmaster but received no response. She had reached another dead end. Or so she thought....
Leah, a writer, living in Florida, had published a story about her family on a website and forgot about it. The webmaster of the site forwarded her an e-mail from a woman inquiring about the family story. Leah brushed off the e-mail at first. "You hear these horror stories about stalkers on the Internet and I had no idea who she was. But, finally I responded...It was just a courtesy thing."
"Just a courtesy thing," became a life changer. A few e-mail exchanges and a phone call later, Beverly and Leah discovered they were, in fact, sisters. "When she said my father's name it sent a shock through me," says Leah. "It was just too weird."
Touched by the opportunity to reunite two long-lost FOF sisters, we quickly booked a spa trip for Leah where she and Beverly would reunite (after all they had waited 60 years for this moment!)
The sisters spent three days catching up on each others lives. They were delighted to discover even after years separated they still had common tastes in clothing, books and music.
"The three days settled some identity questions and created a sense of togetherness between the two of us," says Leah. "It added a dimension to both our lives that is very special."
Since the trip, Leah and Beverly have e-mailed and talked on the phone weekly. "I just got an email from her," says Leah. "She said she'll remember our vacation together for the rest of her life."