A college creative writing course can be an enlightening experience—I remember coming into a class with just the bare bones of a plot and leaving with a brilliant story. But I don’t think any of the students in Columbia University’s WRIT W3680 Literary Reporting class anticipated that the climax to a real-life drama would be written right before their eyes.
According to Saturday’s New York Times, the first class of the semester began with the students introducing themselves to their classmates. Lizzie Valverde, a student from New Jersey, told everyone that she’d been adopted as a child, and that she had a strange obsession with the Olsen twins. As Lizzie filled in more details about her life, another student, Katy Olson, from Iowa, began to take notice:
“Ms. Valverde’s personal information matched closely what Ms. Olson had recently learned about her own adoption and biological family. She realized that the classmate across the table could be her biological sister.
‘It fit together with lot of stuff that I knew,’ Ms. Olson said, including information gleaned through online searches about her birth mother’s identity as well as hints that the woman had had an older daughter who seemed to be a student at Columbia.
Ms. Olson’s attempts to contact that older daughter online had been unsuccessful, but now she appeared to be here in the same classroom. ‘All the pieces just came together for me,” recalled Ms. Olson.’
Katy approached Lizzie after class, and confronted her with her suspicions. More and more details matched up. Without a doubt, they both shared the same mother, Leslie Parker, who had put them up for adoption more than 30 years ago:
“For her part, Ms. Parker said that being reunited with her daughters had been inspirational, moving her to start healing rifts with her mother and siblings.
‘I’m glad I chose to have them and gave them the chance at life,’ she said. ‘I’m not religious, I’m spiritual, but if you don’t believe in a higher power, you would, when you heard their story.’”
The sisters had come from different places to the same college, with the same major, and even then, their incredible meeting nearly didn’t happen. Lizzie almost took another course instead… she didn’t sign up for WRIT W3680 until a few minutes before class began.
“Is this real life?” Lizzie wondered aloud to the Times. At Mysterious Ways, we know these seemingly unbelievable encounters are as real as it gets—and they happen more often than logic or reason says they should.
Have you been part of an incredibly unlikely reunion? How did it come about? Is there somebody that you’re hoping to find? Send your story to us at Mysterious Ways!