A woman has shared the emotional first hug she shared with her biological sister – who had grown up on the other side of the world always wanting a sister of her own.
Kristin Franzoni, 38, from Apple Valley, Minnesota, traveled to Scotland, where she first met her sister, Amber Steele, 39, who she tracked down after nearly a decade of searching.
There was not a dry eye in the house when the pair finally met, with Kirstin flying in to attend Amber’s wedding during the summer of 2022, having first made contact during the pandemic.
The moment marked the end of more than three decades of wondering for Kristin, who grew up not knowing who her biological father was.
The 38-year-old was raised by her biological mother and said she spent around seven years of her adult life looking for missing pieces.
Thanks to advances in social media and DNA testing she was able to discover that she had a half-sister, Amber, who lived in Scotland, in December 2020.
The pair connected and confirmed their relationship, but due to travel restrictions, they were not able to meet in person for a further two years.
Amber told Kristin that she had always wanted an older sister – and through further discussions, Kristin, a veteran of the United States Air Force, was also able to discover more about her father’s life.
Her biological dad, Rodney Herston, from Alabama, was also a veteran with the United States Navy.
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When Rodney was on active duty with the Navy in the early 80s, his ship docked in Scotland, where he met Amber’s mom, who later became pregnant with his child.
The pair married and shared a life together, Kristin said, but when his service ended, Rodney moved back to Alabama, where he met Kristin’s mom.
Rodney was not in Kristin’s life, but when all of the pieces to her search started to come together, she was able to find some closure.
After meeting Amber and attending her wedding – where she sat in the front row – Kristin hopes to visit Scotland more times in the future, and has also discussed opening a BnB with her sister.
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Speaking of the reunion, she said: “Seeing my sister and her reaction for the first time will forever be imprinted into my memory.
“She was beyond thrilled and excited for our reunion, and she swelled up with tears of joy as she beamed from ear to ear with a glowing smile.
“After the initial wave of excitement calmed, we were flooded with the unknown.
“As our conversations lead to a quick discovery of just how eerily similar, we were in many ways, there was a serene sense of calmness that surrounded us.
“It is our hope to make up for the thirty-six years we lost.
“We still have our whole lives ahead of us and so much more living to do and share together.
“Even though oceans divide us, we talk almost every day.”