WHEATLAND, Pa. (WKBN) — Two sisters who spent 73 years apart were reunited for the first time Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
Shirley Campbell and Mary Jo Goetz spent most of their lives less than two hours apart but never knew until last November.
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“I found out through a lady that connection came through with the message from ’23andMe’ that was matched up as a first cousin,” said Goetz, referring to a DNA testing kit.
That cousin connected Goetz to her half-sister Campbell. Goetz was given up for adoption by their mother at only 2 years old — 71 years ago — in Pittsburgh.
“I never knew where, who, you know, who they were, how many there were,” said Goetz.
She also has two half-brothers who she hasn’t met yet, but she has spoken to other cousins. Campbell said the day Goetz called her was a shock. Campbell knew she had a sister but was only 5 years old when she was given up for adoption.
“I didn’t have no name or anything. I just knew I had a baby sister. So she called me up, and I was just so overwhelmed,” said Campbell.
Goetz grew up in Saint Mary’s in Elk County, only two hours away from New Castle, where Campbell lived for years with her adopted brother. She said she always knew she was adopted but had a wonderful life with her husband, kids and grandkids — and now, for the first time in both their lives, a sister.
“You always have that fear of, ‘Okay, here I am and somebody’s going to click.’ I took a couple of deep breaths and well, it is what it is. You know, either she will respond or hang up,” said Goetz.
Though their mother has since passed on, she’s looking forward to spending life with her sister.
“Maybe someday I can take her home, take her back and let her spend a day or two in the country with me,” said Goetz.
“I want to be with her forever. I don’t even want to let go of her today,” said Campbell.
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The sisters are looking forward to meeting each other’s kids and grandkids, but for now, Goetz will drive to Wheatland for that long-lost bond of sisterhood.