When Hillary Harris was a teenager, she found out that she was adopted after her birth father left her at an orphanage when she was just a year old. As Harris grew older, the more she wanted to know about her biological parents. Harris started her own family but felt like something was missing in her life. This feeling of incompleteness led her to look at her adoption papers for the first time and started her journey in the state of Wisconsin to find her half-sister.
While Harris was looking through her adoption papers, she found the names of her family. She learned that her birth father’s name was Wayne Clouse and that she has a half-sister named Dawn Johnson. Harris knew that she had to find Johnson but didn’t know where to start. She first visited her old orphanage with the hope of finding out more about her biological family, but the orphanage had been abandoned. Her next step was to search the name “Dawn Johnson” on Facebook where she spent many nights scrolling through these profiles looking for a familiar face. After some time, Harris began to lose hope in the tedious search.
The Chance Encounter
While Harris was looking on Facebook for Dawn, a new couple moved in next door. When she found out that her new neighbor was named “Dawn,” Harris didn’t think about it. However, once Harris found out that her new neighbor was from Greenwood, the same town mentioned in her adoption papers, Hillary knew there was some connection. All of the pieces were falling into place, except Hillary didn’t know if her neighbor’s last name was “Johnson.” This piece of the puzzle felt like the one thing separating her from her blood relative.
Her husband, Lance, encouraged Harris to be honest with their neighbor, but she couldn’t gather the courage to ask for her last name. However, Hillary noticed a large package of shingles in her driveway. She glanced over the package, and the name Johnson was written in large print. Still, Harris was terrified to talk to Johnson. She was afraid that Johnson could reject her as a sister, a neighbor, or she could have been the wrong Dawn Johnson. Still, Hillary had invested years into her search for her half-sister and didn’t want all that hard work to be for nothing.
The Family Reunited
The Harris couple knocked on their neighbor’s door with the intention of asking the long-awaited question, but Hillary became speechless while stared at Johnson’s face and curly hair. Questions flooded her mind trying to find similarities between them. Even after the awkward small-talk, Hillary had not asked Johnson the question. Johnson went on a trip soon after this meeting, but Harris couldn’t wait for her neighbor to get back to ask.
So, she sent Johnson a pretty strange text: “Were you the Loyal Corn Fest Queen in 1983?” Harris had learned this fact from her adoption file, and she knew that she took the risk of seeming creepy asking this question. Johnson was puzzled by this text. Harris finally found the courage to ask Johnson who her father was. Johnson told her that her father was Wayne Clouse who had died in 2010. Excited, Hillary called Johnson who said, “You and I have the same dad, don’t we?!” The next day, Johnson went to Harris’ house with flowers, photos of their dad, and an excited “Hey, sis!” For Harris, Johnson is like the mother she lost all those years ago, and Johnson gained a niece in Harris’ daughter. Now her family has found the thing that it was missing: Dawn Johnson.
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