In 2013, two sisters who didn’t know each other enrolled in Columbia University in New York. Lizzie Valverde and Katy Olson were adopted at birth and Katy grew up in Florida while Lizzie lived the majority of her life in New Jersey. They met each other for the first time while studying one of their greatest passions— writing.
During their class together, the professor had each student share a few details about their life and Katy quickly realized that Lizzie could be her sister. She wanted to talk to her privately about it but was worried that Lizzie would think she was a stalker. She explained, “All the pieces just came together for me. I worried that she’d think I was stalking her. But I didn’t want to let her get away. I couldn’t go home and sit for a week without getting an answer to this question.”
On May 18, Lizzie graduated from Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and Katy graduated last year with the same degree and is currently pursing a masters at the university. Prior to the reunion, Lizzie looked into finding her sister online but was unsuccessful.
Another amazing thing about their story is that their biological mother, Leslie Parker, had been praying that her girls would meet.
According to the New York Times, in an interview Parker said, “I felt like the world was coming full-circle.” Although she too had a love for writing, she had a troubled life filled with drug abuse, poverty and emotional problems. This is ultimately why she placed her daughters for adoption. She explained, “I was not in a position to raise them. If I had raised them, they wouldn’t have had the privileges they had. They’re brilliant, beautiful young women. In them, I see what I had the potential to be. They’re both living what I always wanted to be.”
Additionally, Parker shared that she’s glad she refused abortion and chose to give her daughters life. She said, “I’m glad I chose to have them and gave them the chance at life. I’m not religious, I’m spiritual, but if you don’t believe in a higher power, you would, when you heard their story.”