Tri-Cities sisters find the brother they hadn't seen in 35 years

Tri-Cities sisters find the brother they hadn't seen in 35 years
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- A pair of Tri-City sisters were separated from their brother at age ten, and never thought they would see him again. But through the power of the internet, they've been reunited.

For 35 years, finding their brother seemed like an impossible dream for Jackie Lopez and her twin sister, Judy Whitsett. It was a maze of paperwork and dead-end phone calls.

Jackie explained, "We always had hope, me and my sister had a hope and desire to find him, when he left New York, I never thought we would see him again, but I didn't want to give up."

Born in the Bronx, the three kids were put in foster care as infants. Twin sisters Jackie and Judy were adopted together at age eight. Brother Alfredo Leon, stayed in foster care. He goes by Luis now. A year older than his sisters, at first Luis didn't even know they were all related. It wasn't until the girls had moved away with their new parents, that Luis learned the were his blood sisters.

"Obviously there is a little bit of hurt and anger because we missed out on a lot of things, also things happen for a reason, " says Luis.

Judy and Jackie eventually moved to the Tri-Cities but always continued their search for their brother. They looked on ancestry websites and sifted through adoption paperwork.

Luis stayed in New York's foster care system until he reached 18. He became a restaurant manager.

And even at 44, Luis never stopped wondering about the sisters he once had. And they never stopped wondering about him.

"We have worked so hard to not give up and find each other, " says Jackie.

Just last month, it was like a message from an angel. Judy had a note on Facebook from a man claiming to be her brother. They then got in touch with each other through a web site that calls itself "a personal relationship manager," MyLife.com.

"'Who is this?' I said, this is Judy, I am looking for Alfredo Luis and he goes 'this is.'"

To prove it was him, Luis sent a copy of the only picture he has of him and his sisters. They knew they'd found him, and immediately called Luis in New York.

Judy recalls, "Just talking to him, it was emotional, it felt like an emotional bond, finally it came true, our reality."

Luis jumped on a plane and arrived in the Tri-Cities. They're trying to make up for 35 years of lost time. The siblings spent a week together at Wallula Lake and did all the things brothers and sisters do together. All the things they should have done, so many years ago.

Luis didn't want to go another day without living near his sisters. So, he packed up his kids and moved to the Tri-Cities just this week. He's living with Judy. And he brought the twin sisters a necklace with an angel wing, each has one wing.

"Over the years, they have kept an open heart for me. The wings signify, for me, that they are my angels. You need both wings. They are my angels together," says Luis.

This story has a happy ending, but it's missing one angel. There is a fourth child in picture of the siblings. And Judy, Jackie and Luis would like to find their long-lost sister, Aida. They know then, their family will truly be complete.

"The love that was there was quiet, but it was there and it was just waiting for that person to come through our hearts and our lives."

As for Aida, Luis says they've found a possible address for her, and hope for the same success that brought him together with his twin sisters.