My Biggest Blessing of 2019: How I Found My Sister I Didn’t Even Know Existed.

For as long as I could remember, I was the youngest of three children; I grew up with my older brother and sister, and we were all present for one another in each of our seasons of life.

In March of 2019, my dad hit me with the biggest news: I had another older sister.

I remember going back home to Pensacola for spring break. My sister and I arrived home from UF at different times, but my dad wanted to tell us the news together instead of telling us separately.

I remember my sister Isabella and I were about to go play a game of Scrabble I only walked a few steps before my dad said, “Girls, go sit down. I need to tell you something.”

My heart immediately sank. I started thinking about every possible worst-case scenario. I thought to myself, “Dad lost his job” or “Mom or dad has cancer.”

I had no idea what was going to come out of his mouth. Isabella, my dad and I sat down, and my dad began pulling up messages on his phone. After a long pause, he said “You two have an older sister.”   

I was completely thrown off my rhythm. None of this made sense to me.

I remember immediately asking if she was a child from his previous marriage, but she wasn’t.

My dad had her when he was 22, but he didn’t know it.

My new sister, Jamie, had messaged my dad about a month before he told me this news.

She found him on Facebook, and after years of knowing that this was her dad, she typed out her story and sent it to him.

She sent a long and detailed message stating who she was, who her biological mother was and other details about her life.

She made it very clear that she didn’t want anything from him -- she simply wanted him to know that he was her dad and that she turned out okay.

At first, my dad was very confused.

He questioned her message in certain areas, but after looking at her pictures and a lot of back and forth conversation, he realized this really was his daughter.

He told Isabella and I that he was torn when he found out.

He couldn’t imagine not being there for us, so finding out that he had another daughter when she was 34 years old broke his heart. “My heart is so heavy for you,” he said in a message to her.

As if this wasn’t big enough news for my family, we later found out that my dad was also a grandpa.

Now, not only did I have another sister, but I also had a brother-in-law and a baby nephew.

As shocking as this all was, I was beyond excited to get to know my new family members.

I had no idea what to expect, but I had a feeling that something good was going to come out of this.

It was such a coincidence that Jamie reached out to our dad at the time that she did.

Before I even knew she was my sister, I had already accepted an internship offer 40 minutes away from her home in Louisiana.

It couldn’t have been better timing on my end-- I knew I was in for a special summer with my new family.

I remember messaging Jamie during the first week of my internship, asking if she wanted to make plans to meet up for the first time.

We arranged to meet up that Sunday and get lunch together.

I was so excited to meet this long-lost sister of mine.

My dad called me the night before our meetup and told me that her and I would get along because our personalities were very similar.

I didn’t know what to expect; the only thing I knew was how pumped I was to meet her, my brother-in-law and little nephew.

We agreed to meet at P.F. Chang’s for lunch. I remember walking in and scoping the place when a waitress asked me who I was looking for.

She walked me to the table where they were sitting, and I couldn’t believe they were right in front of me.

We hit it off from the start, just talking about one another and learning more about our lives and our childhoods.

We ate lunch together, got dessert and walked around the mall.

I knew from this day forward that this was only the start of something incredible. 

I was in Louisiana for the entire summer, so I fortunately got to enjoy and appreciate my new family and grow closer to them.

I got to meet Jamie’s neighbors, best friends and other family members.

My heart continued to grow more and more for this family and the people they loved most.

Something that was incredibly special to me was being there for some of my nephew’s first moments.

I got to celebrate his first birthday with him, see him take his first steps, see him wave and see him play peek-a-boo for the first time.

Being present in this little boy’s life has impacted me and changed my heart for the better.

He has brought out my soft side more than I ever thought possible, and I cannot even begin to explain the love I have for him.

When Father's Day came around, I knew I wanted this year to be special for my dad.

It was also our dad's birthday, so we made plans for the whole family to come together.

My mom, dad and my other sister, Isabella, came to Louisiana to celebrate my dad.

It was the first time that my mom and Isabella had met Jamie, my brother-in-law and nephew, which made this visit even more special.

None of us knew what to expect when we walked into a situation like this, but it has truly been the greatest thing that happened to our family.