The Atlantic

I Met My Sister for the First Time When I Was 27

The story of an adopted daughter's reunion with her birth family
Source: Toby Melville / Reuters

Confined to our sheltered porch by a steady spring drizzle, I gazed out from under the eaves and watched a car go by—yet another car that wasn't theirs. Just go wait inside, I told myself. My feet refused to carry me there. Allowing them to arrive unseen, walk up to the door, and ring the bell like strangers would have suggested a level of calm unthinkable on this day.

When their rental car turned into the driveway, I bounded off the porch and ran to meet them. Several paces away I caught my first glimpse of her through the window, her features still blurry through the rain-streaked glass, and I could almost imagine that I was looking at my own reflection in a strange, enchanted mirror. Then her door swung open and we were saying all the things people say the first time they meet, and all I could think was that I was just weeks away from turning 28, and this was the first time I had ever hugged my sister.

We went inside. We introduced our husbands. The baby, usually so skittish with strangers, took to her aunt immediately. As I watched Cindy read a book to her, I thought: My sister has freckles.

The differences between us

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