Siblings finally meet after a lifetime of separation

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Betty Graff was seven years old when her parents divorced.

Not long after she joined her mother and little sister in a new home, with their mom’s new boyfriend. They were happy, she said, for a short time.

But it was the mid 1950s, and much to her grandmother’s disapproval, mom’s boyfriend, Leon, was black.

In 1957 the girls moved in with their grandmother.

Betty’s mom would visit sporadically; in 1961 the visits with Betty and little Christine stopped.

Unbeknown to Betty, just 13 miles away, her mom had started another family: Three little boys -- half black, half white.

Carlton, the youngest of the three, knew of the two girls, but could not get an ounce of information about them.

It wasn’t until 1979 when Betty would see her mom again. She learned of her brothers, but little else -- and the topic was done.

In 2009, to Carlton’s surprise, the girls’ names finally came out – on the mother’s death bed.

Carlton began a mission, cleaning out his mother’s home. He stumbled across baptism documents and marriage licenses. A couple of years later, he tried an ancestry website, with no luck.

And then he hit social media.

“I went on Facebook posted some pictures and I said, ‘Hey I’ve got two sisters I’ve never met. I really want to meet them. This is what I have,’” he said.

Responses flooded in. Friends got him a lead in Texas: it turned out to be Christine’s husband -- and the response wasn’t good.

Months later Carlton’s youngest son got a series of calls from Betty, calling his old cell number.

They met face to face for the first time Tuesday in a suburban hotel.

Just this past Sunday, Betty also met another brother, John, the middle, near her Philadephia home.

Christine and Carlton have grown close through calls and texts. The families are now blending together, getting to know one another and sharing stories -- good and bad.

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1 Comment

  • Elena Adabella Renteria

    Beautiful story, very much like my own. My sister found me on Facebook on August of 2013, after 38 years. I had known of my siblings but had zero leads. My sister never gave up on finding me. I have since reunited with my family including mother, sister and 2 brothers!

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