ANIMALS
FUNNY
INSPIRING
LIFESTYLE
NEWS
PARENTING
RELATIONSHIPS
SCIENCE AND NATURE
WHOLESOME
WORK
Contact Us Privacy Policy Cookie Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Woman overcomes abuse and finds 9 long-lost sisters to have an emotional reunion after 43 years

After spending 43 years apart, a woman finally had a heartwarming reunion with her sisters and it felt mesmerizing.

Woman overcomes abuse and finds 9 long-lost sisters to have an emotional reunion after 43 years
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Josh Willink

Trigger Warning: This article contains themes of abuse that some readers may find distressing.

Barbara Lane was separated from her five sisters at the very young age of three when her mother abandoned all of them in their apartment. They had to be taken to St. Dominic's Orphanage in St. Louis. During this time, her two eldest sisters, Ruth and Ellen, had been married off and lived elsewhere, while another sister, Bernie, was not present when social workers showed up, according to PEOPLE. Lane later found out that her mother gave birth to another child named Cindy after all of her other six daughters were put in the orphanage. From there began her journey of separation and ultimate reunion with her sisters.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Barbara Lane (@barbaralaneauthor)


 

Fortunately, Lane had a relatively problem-free stay at the orphanage because she had her sisters with her. Sadly, her sisters had a completely different experience there, as they were the victims of abuse. The sisters spent very little time at the orphanage as they were all taken away to live with separate foster families. Lane has covered these experiences in her book, "Broken Water," which chronicles the entire saga of how the sisters were separated and reunited 43 years later. She spoke about how her sisters left and proved to be very traumatic for her.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Binyamin Mellish
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Binyamin Mellish

Lane and her sister Kay went to a foster home with a man who, apparently, had ties to organized crime. Their stay at the foster home also proved to be traumatic as she and Kay ended up being sexually abused by their foster father. The sisters were also restricted to the house and were only allowed to go out for school and to get groceries. The situation worsened to the point where she dared her foster father to shoot her with a gun that he carried with him. Her sudden action scared him completely, so he backed off.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jeremy Wong
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Jeremy Wong

When she was 19, Lane married her childhood love, Jim and became the mother of three children. They moved to Maryland, where she graduated from college. Because of her traumatic childhood, she had to consult a therapist to recover. She went on to become an advocate for children, an educator and a ministerial counselor. She spoke about the experience of all of her sisters, saying, "Sadly, the 11 of us—each one of us—were sexually abused in our childhood. Our hope is that we raise awareness about this and also show those who walked this path that you can heal from this."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Alexander Suhorucov
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Alexander Suhorucov

Once her foster mom passed away in 1992, Lane decided to search for her nine long-lost sisters. At the time, there were no DNA websites, so she resorted to going through adoption registries and also went to the extent of hiring a detective. But all of these efforts proved to be useless. In a not-so-surprising twist of fate, her other sisters were looking for her and Kay. Thankfully, one of her oldest sisters, Ellen, had a picture of Lane and Kay, which she published in the local newspaper.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Barbara Lane (@barbaralaneauthor)


 

Seeing it in the newspaper, a friend of Ellen's son did some digging and she finally got Kay's number. Lane said that she had a feeling that she would soon meet her sisters three days before she received the fateful call, reuniting all of them. She was reading a book on the beach when her husband called her to tell her that he had gotten the numbers of two of her sisters: Erin and Bernie. After speaking on the phone, Lane flew to St. Louis to have a wholesome and much-needed reunion with her other sisters.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Barbara Lane (@barbaralaneauthor)


 

The sisters, who had been apart for four decades, were finally reunited and slowly began to share how each of them had a different path over the years. Lane began to put all of their experiences together in her book in 2005. Five of her sisters have sadly passed away since their reunion, but Lane manages to regularly keep in touch with her remaining siblings. They also meet up with each other occasionally.

More Stories on Upworthy