Children who are adopted can sometimes feel like they are missing a part of their family. This was the case for 31-year-old Hilary Harris, who had been adopted as an infant and spent years searching for her birth parents.
Harris’s adoptive mother had died when she was 13, and she sadly found out that her birth father had passed away too. She did track down her birth mother, but the pair has only met once and never really reconnected.
However, records showed that Harris had an older biological half-sister named Dawn Johnson and she would spend hours at night googling her name, scrolling through photos for a resemblance, and searching for her long-lost family member, but her efforts always turned up nothing.
It was as if this sister had somehow vanished, but Harris never gave up hope of someday finding her. Then, last year an interesting event occurred. A new couple moved into the house next door to Harris and the wife’s name happened to be Dawn. She was also from the same town Harris’s sister was supposedly from.
Harris told her husband Lance, who had been helping her search for her sister, but he shrugged off the likelihood of this Dawn being Haris’s sister as impossible. After all, they had searched for years, so believing she had moved in right next door would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?
“I’m, like, Lance! Her name is Dawn! She’s from Greenwood!” Harris told The Washington Post as she recounted her story. “He was, like, ‘No.’ And I was, like, ‘No.’ And we both said that would be funny if she was my sister. Ha ha.”
Haris admits she didn’t hit it off with her new neighbors immediately, as both couples tended to keep to themselves, but she couldn’t shake the idea that Dawn could be her sister, especially when the two would cross paths in the single driveway they both shared.
It would be two months before a delivery would give Harris enough courage to ask her neighbor the question. Dawn and her husband, Kurt, were doing repairs to their new home and a delivery of shingles arrived in the driveway shared with Harris.
When Harris went to see if the package was for her or her neighbors, she noticed that the name on the delivery read “Johnson”, which, according to records, was the exact same name that Haris’s half-sister was supposed to have.
“I was floored. I was almost speechless. I called Lance right away and said: Her last name is Johnson. That’s Dawn Johnson. It’s got to be her. It’s got to be,” Harris said.
Her husband, Lance, then encouraged her to talk to Dawn. He convinced her that maybe it was time to ask her the question. Harris approached her neighbor in her yard one day and noted how they both had curly hair and large hands. Dawn was also older and approximately the same age her sister would be now.
Unfortunately, Haris chickened out, but with some encouragement from her husband later found Dawn’s cell phone number and texted her that night. Not wanting to drop the bombshell right away, Harris opened with a simpler question, “Were you the Loyal Corn Fest queen in 1983?”
Harris had learned this bit of information from researching her birth father. Dawn typed back, “LOL why are you asking me that?” Next, Harris upped the stakes, outright asking who her birth father was. Dawn answered and the search was finally over. The two were indeed sisters.
To discover more about this incredible story, check out the video below:
“I was screaming and freaking out,” Harris said. “Lance was screaming. It was insane.” Dawn also figured out what was going on and immediately called Harris. It turned out that Dawn was also raised by a step-father and only met her birth father at the age of 18. She had never considered that he may have fathered other children.
A day later, Dawn arrived at the Harris home with a bouquet of flowers and all of the photos she had of their birth father. The two shared information and rekindled the sisterly bond that they were never able to have before.
What’s interesting is that Harris’s five-year-old daughter, Stella, had become fast friends with her new neighbor, often feeling comfortable enough to play with her aunt long before anyone knew the truth. Now Harris considers her sister to be like a grandmother to her daughter and is happy for the family relationship that Stella otherwise would not have had.
“When I finally met Dawn, it was the missing piece to my puzzle. She fills so many voids in our lives – she’s like a big sister and mother to me, grandmother to Stella,” Harris said. “She is the most loving, perfectest human ever,” she added.
While the pair now talk to each other every day, they initially kept their incredible story to themselves, but after a local hairdresser asked if it would be okay to share it with a news anchor friend of hers, the sisters have gone viral.
It really is a heartwarming story that should be shared with the world, proving that it’s never too late to form family connections.
“I know a lot of people struggle with adoption things and finding their biological family. But I want to tell them to not give up. Keep looking. Look everywhere. Go look next door. You don’t know what you’ll find,” said Harris.
She’s right. Perhaps next time you see your neighbors, instead of ignoring them or simply waving, ask them in for a drink. You never really know who could be living next door. Once you get to know your neighbors, you might be surprised at just who they turn out to be!