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After 25 years of searching, I found my sister on Facebook

We don’t often publish personal stories on Social Studies — normally we focus on marketing strategies, social media, and new marketing technologies. But this first-hand account from TINT’s Community Manager was too special not to share with you, our readers. We hope you’ll enjoy Jose’s story —a reminder of the power of social media to change lives.

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I feel like I want to throw up. I’m anxious as hell. I don’t know if I want to cry or be eternally grateful for what’s about to happen.

The intercom buzz sound rings. “Attention passengers, this is the pilot speaking. We are a few minutes away from landing. Please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position and your seatbelts are securely fastened.”

The plane lands and the moment of truth is here. I stand up from my seat and never felt more nervous in my life. I grab my luggage and start walking down the aisle. Each step I take, I feel my heart beating louder and louder. Remember that 8-mile song by Eminem? “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.” That’s pretty much how I felt.

I walk off the plane and walk over to the passenger pickup area. I’ve never met this person who is about to pick me up, but I had good faith. Things could definitely go wrong, but I knew it was worth the risk.

My family member messages me and says she’s inside the terminal looking for me. I start to walk over to the terminal. I then see a bright blue purse from a distance. The same bright blue bag on her profile picture I saw when I found her on facebook. I walked closer and made eye contact with her. We both start smiling and walk faster towards each other. We get closer and start hugging each other. I start crying and hug her tighter. I then back off and start laughing. I said, “I wasn’t supposed to cry.” “I wasn’t supposed to either,” she says.

“Nice to meet you bro,” she says.

I smile and say, “Nice to meet you too sis.”

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My mom met my father about 27 years ago. They split before I was born and I never met my dad. He lived in Mexico and had green eyes. That was pretty much all I knew.

When I was in high school, I began to wonder more about my dad’s side of the family. My mom mentioned to me that I had two other sisters. I wanted to meet them, but I had no idea where to begin or how to start the search. So I never acted on it. But as I kept getting older, this big question kept haunting me.

Fast forward to September 2015, I was at my mom’s house in the living room. I was watching tv and again this thought came to my head. It just occured to me that maybe I could search for her name on facebook. But I thought to myself, “It can’t be that easy to find her, but it doesn’t hurt to try.” I ran upstairs and start asking my mom questions. I asked her to give me any information she knew about my sisters. She only knew her name, Esmeralda Gallegos, and the city where she was born. I wrote it down and head back downstairs to grab my laptop. I logged into facebook and began the search.

I typed her name and the city where she was born in the search field. 2 results appeared! I thought to myself, “Oh crap, this might be possible.” I started investigating the first profile and looked at her profile picture. I didn’t see a resemblance. I continued to look anyways, searching for pictures of any of her family members that I might resemble. Nothing looked promising. After 10 minutes of stalking the hell out of that profile, I decided to look at the second search result: Esmeralda Gallegos.

I clicked on her profile picture to expand it and didn’t see a resemblance either. I continued to look through her all photos and see if I could resemble anybody in her pictures. I probably looked at over 200 photos, and then I saw a picture with her and a man with green eyes. This man looked like me! I knew I was onto something.

I ran back upstairs to my mom’s room and showed her the picture of this man with green eyes. “Does he look familiar?,” I asked her. She put on her glasses and looked at the picture. “Oh my god. That’s your father.”

I got goosebumps all over my body. I realized that my search was over and I found my sister. I immediately sent her a message on facebook.

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I was so happy and relieved that she was excited as me to meet me. A few days later we set up a time to talk over skype.

Our first skype call started with us just staring at each other. “You look exactly like my father,” she said. We started asking each other questions about our lives. We joked around and mentioned that it felt like a job interview. But after 10 minutes of talking, we felt comfortable with each other and our personalities meshed well together. A lot better than I thought! It also helped we were the same age. We are both 25 years old. It’s almost like my long lost twin!

At the end of the skype call, we agreed that I would fly out in few weeks to meet each other. I bought a ticket and began counting down the days for the big moment.

On the day of the departing flight, I wrapped up my day at work and called an uber to take me to the airport. I started leaving the office and said goodbye to my co-workers. They knew my story and wished me luck on my journey. “Come back alive,” my colleague Jessica jokingly says. I laughed and said, “I hope so too.”

I hopped into the Uber and began a new chapter. I think to myself. “Holy crap. This is actually happening.” I knew that this would be a moment I would never forget.

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The story doesn’t end there. I flew a month later to visit my sisters again and met my dad for the first time in my life. That story is a bit more complicated and unfolding as we speak. Maybe you will read it in a book if I decide to write one?

To be continued….