Five siblings were united for the first time in 29 years Thursday in Dobbins Heights, after a year-long search and nearly a lifetime of unanswered questions.
Former school teacher, Elizabeth Johnson of Melbourne, Fla., decided to begin a search to find out about her birth mother about a year ago. She always knew she was adopted.
Sometime in the mid-1980s, Elizabeth was left along with two other siblings, Constance and John, at a police station in Brooklyn, N.Y., by their mother, Debra Dial. Struggling to survive, Debra decided to give three of her children a better opportunity at life when she gave them up, said Elizabeth. The three children were placed in foster care then later adopted in New York. Keeping the youngest two of her children, Debra later gave birth to another child before relocating to Dobbins Heights.
“There were always questions in my mind about where I came from,” said Elizabeth.
Elizabeth started her search by going to the Social Security office and inquiring about her birth mother with no luck. From that point she went online to an adoption registry. Elizabeth was contacted by a post adoption specialist who was able to provide her with some information. She found out where her mother last lived. Elizabeth also discovered her biological mother passed away in 1993. Once she learned that her mother died in Hamlet, N.C., Elizabeth made phone calls to funeral homes in and around Hamlet. She was thrilled when she received a return call from Antonio Blue, of Nelson Funeral Home.
“Once I tracked down and seen the death certificate, I knew,” Blue said. “When I called her and said ‘you got two brothers and a sister,’ I could hear her crying.”
Blue attends the same church as Luella Jones of Dobbins Heights, who was a close friend of Debra Dial. Jones adopted two of the remaining children, Prince Jones and Joy Ratliff. Mrs. Jones’ late daughter, Shari Melton, adopted the third, Walter Melton. Mrs. Jones explained how Debra tried to locate her children before she died, but those attempts were unsuccessful.
“She (Debra) lived with me before she passed,” said Mrs. Jones. “The younger three knew their biological mother, as well as loved her as a mother.”
The first embrace of the united siblings was filled with excitement and tears Thursday afternoon. Friends and family stood at a distance to witness in silence the emotional gathering. Everything seemed to make sense to the young adults, and the reality of their connection was obvious. Each one of them gazed at all of their similarities.
“It took me this long. I’m excited to just know that I have people that look like me and share the same genes,” said Elizabeth.
All were in agreement as one brother, John, announced, “We are together now, the foolishness stops here. Our children won’t have to go through this.”
— Staff Writer Cassidy Odom can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 16, or by email at email@example.com.