The siblings’ stunned mother, who gave them both up for adoption three decades ago, says their reunion is “basically a miracle”.
Two sisters on the first day of a creative writing class – more than 30 years after they were given up for adoption by their mother.
Lizzie Valverde, 35, and Katy Olson, 34, were strangers when they enrolled in the course at Columbia University, New York, in 2013.
As students introduced themselves on the opening day, Ms Valverde’s description of her background sounded uncannily familiar to Ms Olson’s.
Ms Olson told the New York Times she had made efforts to find out more about her mother.
She had also tried to trace her sister, but without luck.
Ms Olson decided to approach Ms Valverde after class and the two joined up the dots about their shared past.
“I worried that she’d think I was stalking her,” Ms Olson told the Times. “But I didn’t want to let her get away.”
The astounded siblings, who were raised in different parts of the country, realised they had been born to the same mother.
Ms Valverde, who is from New Jersey, said: “When she followed up with the rapid fire of more detailed personal questions like, ‘Were you given up for adoption in Tampa, Florida, to a woman named Leslie?’ I was, like, ‘Woah woah woah!’
“The room kind of froze. And I just said, ‘Is this real life?'”
Ms Valverde told Ms Olson, who grew up in Florida and Iowa, that she had managed to trace their biological mother, Leslie Parker, a few years earlier.
The two long-lost siblings went to a bar and began to get to know one another.
Ms Parker, 54, who now lives in Rhode Island said: “If you didn’t believe in a higher power before you hear this story, you absolutely have to believe in one now because it’s basically a miracle.”
She now plans to meet her other daughter, Ms Olson.
All three will be reunited on Monday as Ms Valverde graduates from Columbia with a degree in creative writing.
Ms Olson graduated last year.