Sisters who were adopted into different families in different parts of the country suddenly found each other during introductions in a New York City writing class, giving the two a story seemingly straight out of a work of fiction.
Lizzie Valverde and Katy Olson were sisters, but complete strangers, when they walked into their first day of a writing class at Columbia University in January, 2013. No one could have predicted the seemingly mundane task of introducing oneself to the class could change so many lives forever. For the first time, the sisters are opening up about what happened on that day.
According to The New York Times, Lizzie had just barely made the class; she had signed up for it just minutes before it began. It was Lizzie who introduced herself first, and Katy could scarcely believe what she was hearing. Everything Lizzie was saying about herself — the fact that she was adopted and many other things just fell into place about what Katy already knew about her long-lost sister.
“It fit together with lot of stuff that I knew,” Katy Olson said. She once voraciously searched for information about her birth mother, finding clues which led her to believe she had a sister who had been adopted by a different family in New Jersey and was a student at Columbia. “All the pieces just came together for me,” Olson remembered of that day.
Olson decided to wait until after class to approach Valverde and ask her if she was her sister.
“I worried that she’d think I was stalking her. 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 Olson did work up enough nerve to talk to Lizzie Valverde and told her everything she knew about her, and Valverde was stunned. Katy knew personal details about Lizzie, including the fact that she was adopted in Florida and raised in New Jersey, and Lizzie had never even known she had a biological sister. The two realized they were sisters, and they went out to eat after the stunning revelation.
Over a meal, the two talked about their biological mother, who had given birth to them when she was a teenager. Valverde had actually met their biological mother, and she encouraged Olson to talk to her as well. Olson has not met her mother in person, but she will do so on Monday when Valverde graduates from Columbia, according to the Associated Press.
The sisters’ biological mother, Leslie Parker, is glad her daughters were adopted by their families.
“I’m glad I chose to have them and gave them the chance at life. I’m not religious, I’m spiritual, but if you don’t believe in a higher power, you would, when you heard their story.”