Two sisters were put up for adoption at the end of World War II, but finally, after 75 long years, they have finally been reunited. Annie Jipelaar and Sheila Anne Fry who are both in their late 70s have Sheila’s daughter-in-law and Annie’s son to thank for their reunion, as they took it upon themselves to track down their long-lost relatives.
Sheila was adopted as an infant in 1946 in the United Kingdom, and she had zero knowledge of who her actual birth parents were. However, using a DNA test revealed that she had a half-sister who lived in the Netherlands that was born only a few months after she was to the same father. When Sheila’s daughter-in-law, Karen, got a message from Annie’s son, Marc, both sisters took a DNA test that confirmed they were biological sisters.
Just last year, the sisters finally met for the first time, which was an extremely emotional experience for the two of them. Sheila described it as, “It was like looking in the mirror and talking to myself. It was amazing. We have the same hobbies, and the same medical complaints—it is very strange.”
Sheila knew she was adopted because her parents had told her, “I was special because mummy and daddy picked me.”
Sheila explained that their father had been a Canadian soldier that fought against the Nazis in Europe, but thankfully he managed to make it home after the war. However, the family had attempted to search for him for eight years and they never managed to find him, assuming they had hit a dead end in their search.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, Annie was also trying to uncover her family history. She found out that her stepfather was not actually her biological father after overhearing a conversation between relatives and searching through family documents. She learned that her biological father was in fact a Canadian soldier that had fought in World War II and participated in the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.
Marc, Annie’s son, made a breakthrough when a joke between cousins led him to do a DNA test. He was astonished to discover through an email he received that there was a DNA match and that his mother had a half-sister. Marc told his mom he had found her sister and was able to arrange a video call in May 2022.
Marc shared, “They had an amazing conversation. They look the same, they have the same hobbies. It was amazing.”
Then just a couple of months later, a face-to-face meeting took place in the Netherlands.
Sheila shared, “We both love to crochet, and we both knit and do crafts. I must say, Annie is a lot better than me,” she joked.
Meanwhile, Annie also agreed that the meeting was “very special.”
She shared, “We immediately connected… and although the language was a problem it felt very natural to see and talk to my sister after all these years. It can be difficult to keep in touch as we are not very good with computers and phones. My English is not good, but I am trying to learn. I wish she lived closer.”
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