They Were Introducing Themselves When One Noticed That Her Classmate’s Story Was Eerily Familiar

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When 35-year-old Lizzie Valverde graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Columbia University on May 18, 2015, she will have two individuals by her side that she never imagined would be present— her biological mother and sister.

As small children, Valverde and her sister, 34-year-old Katy Olson were both put up for adoption by their then teenage mother, Leslie Parker.

Living on different sides of the country — Valverde in New Jersey and Olson in Iowa and Florida — the two sisters had no relationship during their childhood and early adult years.

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But in 2013, the pair both enrolled in Columbia University’s School of General Studies program.

And while sitting in their literary reporting class on the first day of school, they quickly realized their connection.

As Valverde was introducing herself and explaining her background to the class, Olson was slowly putting the pieces together. Olson explained:

“It fit together with lot of stuff that I knew… I worried that she’d think I was stalking her, but I didn’t want to let her get away.”

So after class ended she approached Valverde and told her her creeping suspicion. The two immediately bonded over their similarities and have remained close throughout the ensuing years.

2Now, Valverde will have the chance to meet Parker for the first time at graduation, and three will finally be reunited.

Speaking about their upcoming meeting, Parker said:

“I’m glad I chose to have them and gave them the chance at life… [I]f you don’t believe in a higher power, you would when you heard their story,” she said.

For her, the experience has been truly spiritual.

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