The foster system can be harsh. Some kids end up bouncing from home to home, sometimes taken in by people who don’t look after them properly, or worse: only take them in for the checks. Of course, there are also many happy stories about foster families — stories of positivity and love.

Many parents who look to adopt try fostering a child first, opening their arms and home to a child who needs both. Still, it’s always a gamble. When a woman in her early 30s looked into fostering, she knew it wouldn’t be easy. But she had no idea just what she was up against…

When Katie Page was in her 20s, she dreamed of the perfect life: a husband, some kids, a white-picket fence, and a dog named Spot. Everything seemed to be precisely on track, but life doesn’t always turn out the way we hope.

In her early 30s, Katie’s marriage became rocky and that eventually led to a divorce, leaving Katie devastated and in need of a new start. All she had ever wanted was to have a family, but it felt like her dream was quickly slipping away.

Not only was she now without a husband and potential father, but she had already been struggling with infertility issues. The thought that she may never be a mother broke her heart all over again.

Katie Page/Facebook

Despite all of her pain, she remained strong — after all, she had to go on and make herself happy. She got a new job and used the money to buy a new house, but it didn’t fix all her problems.

Katie Page/Facebook

No matter how hard she tried to stay positive, Katie was still feeling down and had the sense that there was something missing. She loved her job, but she didn’t love coming home to an empty house after work.

Overcome by sadness, Katie eventually turned to the church, seeking answers. She ended up finding them with a local pastor who gave her the advice that changed her life.

“Why don’t you try fostering a child?” he asked. He had heard many stories of the foster care system and the nearby agencies that helped parents find a child, and vice versa. Katie loved this idea.

Katie Page/Facebook

She immediately headed to the nearest adoption agency, where she attended meetings. “What I heard about foster care gave me chills, but it also pulled at my heart in a way that I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Katie wrote in a blog post.

Pretty soon she was ready to foster a child, and then another one, and then two more. Fostering did fill the void in her life somewhat, but Katie wanted more: a child to call her own. That’s when she decided to take the next step and adopt one of the children.

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

In 2016, Katie received a phone call about a four-day-old baby boy who was dropped off at a local hospital. The caseworker said the child was likely a foster-to-adopt situation, so Katie was completely over the moon.

Katie Page/Facebook

Not much later, she was driving to the hospital, ready to pick up the child and bring him home with her. Over the next couple months, she would try to find his birth parents in order to make this baby officially hers.

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

Months went by and Katie and her son, Grayson, grew closer than she could have ever imagined. He became officially hers a year later, although it saddened Katie that his birth parents remained silent.

Katie Page/Facebook

Less than two weeks later, Katie received another call from a caseworker about a baby girl who was dropped off at the same hospital as Grayson. “I was overwhelmed at the thought. Yet the feeling also told me to keep listening and to consider this placement.”

Katie Page/The Daily Mail
Suddenly, Katie wasn’t just a single mother of one, but of two! In a nostalgic moment, she dug up Grayson’s hospital bracelet and noticed something peculiar written on it, something she couldn’t shake.

She compared the bracelet to the girl’s and realized their mothers had the same first name… and the same date of birth. There was no way that this could be a coincidence — were her children biological siblings?

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

“To give some context, Grayson is half African American with beautiful darker skin and dark curly hair,” Katie wrote on her blog. “Hannah has a pale white skin tone with straight red-blonde hair.”

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

Unable to let it go, Katie insisted on finding the birth mother this time around. When she finally did, the woman admitted to having a biracial boy first, and a girl from a different father — meaning Grayson and Hannah were definitely half-siblings!

“What if Hannah had gone to another family?” Katie wrote. “We would have never found her or Grayson’s mother. The connection would have never been made! I could not believe the miracle that had just happened.”

Katie Page/Facebook

In December of 2018, Hannah officially joined Katie and Grayson’s family, and they couldn’t be happier. In fact, it seemed like their family wasn’t finished growing just quite yet…

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

Hannah and Grayson’s birth mother was pregnant with another child when Katie met her, and she gave birth to him not long after Hannah’s official adoption.

“We are fostering the young boy with great hopes to adopt in 2019,” Katie wrote. We can’t tell who is luckier: the three adopted children or the mother who gets to love them. But adoption isn’t the same experience for everyone…

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

Lizzie Valverde always knew that she was adopted. Shortly after her birth in Tampa, Florida, she was sent to live with her new family in New Jersey—and she always had a feeling that she came from a unique backstory.

So, it only made sense that, at age 33, Lizzie chose to attend the School of General Studies at Columbia University – a school famous for hosting students from atypical backgrounds – to study creative writing.

What was surprising, however, was what happened when Lizzie was asked to make an introduction during her first day of class. She used the opportunity to tell her classmates something deeply personal…

For whatever reason, Lizzie felt compelled to explain that she’d been adopted and she was originally born in Florida. Most of the people in her class didn’t think much of it. One classmate, however, had a different reaction entirely.

The reaction of the young woman sitting across the table from Lizzie caught her off guard. From her perspective, it looked like the woman had suffered a panic attack right there in class!

After class ended, Lizzie was suddenly approached by the classmate who’d had such a strong reaction to her backstory. The woman’s name was Katy Olson and she had some strange questions for Lizzie…

Katy revealed that she had an eerily similar background. Born with a mild form of cerebral palsy, Katy was given up for adoption when she was young. Though her family now lived in Iowa, she explained that they’d previously hailed from Florida—just like Lizzie.

From there, Katy explained that she’d always been curious about her adoption, and she’d spent countless hours conducting research about her family. It was through this searching that she had eventually discovered the identity of her biological mother, Leslie Parker.

Not only that, but ever since she was adopted, Katy had been told something else: she might have an older sister named Lizzie! Still, all of this could have been just a coincidence… right?

Katy then revealed that, in an effort to learn more about her sister, she found Lizzie on Facebook. When she saw that her potential sibling attended Columbia University, where she herself was already a student, she couldn’t believe it.

Lizzie was dumbstruck as Katy went on. After discovering her on Facebook, Katy tried to track her down, going so far as to email her with the chances of connecting. Yet, she never received any sort of response. It all seemed like a lost cause…

Then, just as Katy had given up hope of connecting with her long-lost sister, Lizzie walked into that classroom and gave her introduction. It seemed as if fate itself had intervened.

Of course, when Lizzie spoke in class, Katy knew right away that she was sitting across from her sister. “All of the pieces just came together for me,” she later explained. Yet, she knew she had to tread lightly. “I worried that she’d think I was stalking her.”

By the time class ended, Katy knew she had to say something. “I didn’t want to let her get away,” she later admitted in an interview. “I couldn’t go home and sit for a week without getting an answer to this question.”

While Katy wanted to approach Lizzie calmly, her nerves got the best of her. She simply couldn’t help herself and, before she knew it, she immediately began hurling questions at a confused Lizzie, one after another.

Lizzie was stunned! “My adoptive mother was contacted in 1980 about adopting another girl from my biological mother,” she said. “But she was told [the baby] may not survive because of complications with her birth and delivery.”

“After that, [my adoptive mother] never heard anything further, and I thought [my sister had] died,” Lizzie explained. Yet there was her biological sister, sitting right across from her in her creative writing class. 

At that point, Katy and Lizzie headed to a bar, where they continued to ask each other every question they could think of. “We just ordered pitchers of beer and started going back and forth with our lives and biographical details,” Katy recalled. 

While those questions were important, the women really bonded over their mutual love of creative writing. Since that fateful day, they’ve spent their time catching up, getting close, and even planning vacations. Most importantly, they introduced each other to their respective adoptive families.

After graduating a year ahead, Lizzie attended Katy’s graduation with a special guest: Leslie, their biological mother! “They’re both amazing, beautiful women,” Leslie exclaimed. “I felt like the world was coming full circle.”