College Classmates Discover They're Sisters Who Were Separated as Kids

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These two sisters got way more than they bargained for when they enrolled in writing programs at Columbia University.

Lizzie Valverde and Katie Olson had never met before they took a writing course at the univeristy in 2013, according to The New York Times, but, as it turned out, the strangers were biological sisters.

Ironically, both of them had enrolled in Columbia to learn the "finer points of storytelling," the Times reported, and they ended up having quite the story to tell. Lizzie and Katie were adopted by different families, after their troubled teen mom gave birth to both of them in Tampa, Fla.

As for how they found out they were sisters, it all started with a hunch. On the first day of class, 35-year-old Lizzie introduced herself to the students and said she had been adopted as a child and was raising a young daughter of her own. As 34-year-old Katie listened to her story, she was "stupefied." The story Lizzie told closely matched what she had recently learned about her own adoption and biological family.
Thinking there was a possibility they could be sisters, Katie approached Lizzie after class, telling Lizzie her maiden name, asking if she had been adopted in Florida and more. Although Lizzie didn't know she had a biological sister, Katie said, "I think we're sisters," after she responded. "Is this real life?," Lizzie said.

They headed straight to a nearby bar to get to know each other, with Lizzie telling Katie she had met their mom, Leslie Parker, in the past. Leslie went on to tell the Times in an interview that she gave the girls up for adoption, because, "I was not in a position to raise them. If I had raised them, they wouldn't have had the privileges they had."

"They're brilliant, beautiful young women," she continued. "In them, I see what I had the potential to be. They're both living what I always wanted to be."

Leslie planned to meet up with her daughters in New York Monday for Lizzie's graduation ceremony. "I'm glad I chose to have them and gave them the chance at life," she said. "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual, but if you don't believe in a higher power, you would, when you heard their story."

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