(NEW YORK) — Celebrating a birthday or an anniversary with brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers is something many families share together every year.
But it’s something Janet Barnicoat, her half-sister Julie and their half-brother Dean Hundorf, had never done together until now.
All three siblings have the same mother, who abandoned each of them shortly after they were born. They were able to connect the dots to each other before they found their birth parents.
With the help of genetic genealogist CeCe Moore and ABC News’ “20/20,” the siblings were able to meet their mother Joann Hauser for the first time recently. Then their mother was able to share the names of the men who she said fathered them.
“I’ve got to give her some kudos,” Moore told “20/20.” “She gave us the right names for two of the fathers. Even if she made a lot of bad choices, she’s making good ones now.”
Barnicoat, 34, and the oldest of the three, was the first one to connect with her birth father. After Hauser gave them the name Kent Warner, Moore was able to track down a phone number for him and helped Barnicoat through the difficult and emotional phone call when they first spoke.
“My wife told me that you had called and that there’s a possibility I’m your father,” Warner told Barnicoat.
“Yes, you may be my father,” Barnicoat told him.
When Barnicoat asked Warner if he had been with a woman named Joann in the early ’80s, Warner said “yes.” When Barnicoat revealed Joann was her mother, Warner was shocked.
“I’m just trying to take this all in … I’m dumbfounded. I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I always wanted a little girl my whole life.”
A few days after that phone call, father and daughter met for the first time. Warner even got to meet Barnicoat’s children, the grandchildren he never knew he had.
“I love you like my little girl. You are a big girl now,” he told her.
Barnicoat’s half-sister Julie Hutchison, now 31, also was able to connect to her biological father, Bobby.
When they met, Bobby pulled out a photo of his mother and the resemblance between her and Hutchison was striking.
“It’s scary how much I look like her,” Hutchison said.
As for Dean, Joann gave him what she said was his father’s name — but so far, he can’t locate him, but the three siblings are set on moving forward and building new memories together.
“It has been a crazy journey that we started on and I am so glad that we are finally here … and the huge family that we have acquired, ’cause I love it,” Barnicoat said.
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