A woman who spent seven years hunting for her long-lost sister has finally made the unlikely discovery that she was in fact, her next-door neighbour.
Hillary Harris, 31, knew her sibling was called Dawn Johnson and so when she spotted that name on a delivery package in her building she quickly made the connection.
After a stunned Hilary plucked up the courage to ask Dawn, 50, the pair found out they had the same father, Wayne Clouse.
Hillary and her biological brother Tyler Hardy, 33, were adopted in 1987 by Lee Hardy, 65, and his late wife Rochelle.
The childcare worker began the search for her biological family when she became pregnant with her daughter Stella, now seven, in 2011.
Her adoption agency revealed the names of her birth parents but she was heartbroken to discover her father Wayne Clouse had died in 2002. However, looking at her father’s obituary, she discovered he had two other daughters, Dawn Johnson and Renee Diericks, 49.
Hillary, of Wisconsin, had searched for Wayne’s daughters on Facebook but had been unsuccessful in tracking them down.
Then in June 2017, a woman named Dawn and her partner Kurt Casperson, 53, moved in next door. Hillary thought nothing of it at first, but in August she saw Dawn’s last name on a package being delivered and to her shock, it was Johnson.
When Hilary found the courage to text Dawn asking who her father was, Dawn confirmed her suspicions.
“For me, this is 100 per cent fate. I was so sad when I discovered my biological father had passed away, but by meeting Dawn, I feel like I have all the answers I will ever need,” Hillary said.
“She’s the missing puzzle piece I have been looking for for so many years.”
“For me, something first clicked in June when I first found out her name was Dawn and she was from Greenwood. My husband and I joked for a few weeks that she was my sister but we didn’t know her last name,” Hillary explained.
“One day she got a delivery of shingles for her roof and it was addressed to Dawn Johnson, the same name in Wayne’s obituary.
“I began to shake. It was such an intense moment. It was late at night, but I finally got the courage to text her and ask her who her dad was. She confirmed it was Wayne.”
“I told her we had a lot to talk about and she said, ‘We have the same dad don’t we?’
“Ever since then we’ve grown so close. When I met my birth mum I thought I would have this tingly feeling and an immediate bond and I didn’t. With Dawn, I felt an immediate connection.”
Dawn, who did not grow up with her father but formed a relationship with him later in life, added: “It’s such a weird coincidence. Of all the hundreds of thousands of homes, we bought a house that shares a driveway with my sister.
“I was ecstatic and so was my sister Renee. She couldn’t believe it.”
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After meeting her biological mother, Hillary discovered she and her brother Tyler, were born as a result of an affair with Wayne.
Although Hillary says Tyler was reluctant to meet Dawn at first, he finally agreed to meet his half-sibling. However the pair plan to undergo DNA tests to officially confirm that Dawn and Renee are their siblings.
“We would hope to do DNA tests soon but we’re in no rush. My brother has met Dawn and said he would have no problem providing his DNA,” Hilary said
Dawn, who is mum to Todd, 29, and Tyler Johnson, 27, has enjoyed getting to know her new niece Stella, seven, and her brother-in-law Lance Harris, 44.
“I have become so close to Stella. I had only ever had boys so it is so fun to have a little girl playing in the front yard. Hopefully, my boys will be able to meet the whole family soon,” Dawn said.
“Stella just loves Dawn. She thinks she so fun and has loved getting to know her and Kurt,” Hillary added.
“I think all our bad luck with weird neighbours finally turned around because I feel so lucky to have found Dawn.”