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‘I’m complete now:’ Sister reunion five decades in the making
Published Thursday, May 17, 2018 3:15PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 17, 2018 7:40PM MDT
It’s the middle of May, but for Phyllis Podsednik, it feels like Christmas.
“It’s like Christmas morning when you’re anticipating the day, and you just want time to slow down so you can savour the moment,” Podsednik said.
It’s a moment the Sherwood Park woman has been anticipating for five decades.
Growing up, she thought she was the only child. When she was 11 years old, she found out she had another sister.
But Phyllis has more than just one sister.
Throughout the years, Phyllis learned she is the youngest of 10 siblings, who are scattered throughout Canada and the United States.
On Thursday, she and the eldest of the siblings, Sheryl Emerson, waited anxiously at Edmonton International Airport to meet a sister whom they recently got in touch with.
“We’re just so excited. We can’t wait for her to come,” Phyllis said as she waited at the arrival gate with Sheryl.
Sheryl said their sister, Karen Emerson-Nadolski, was just 13 months old the last time she saw her.
“It was rough. Being the oldest and remembering them, knowing that there were pieces of the puzzle missing -- that I had siblings out there -- and I just didn’t know where they were,” Sheryl said tearfully.
Karen lives in Buffalo, New York. She took a DNA test from Ancestory.com, and through a cousin, she found out where some of her siblings are.
While she was on the plane, she said she went through a rollercoaster of emotions.
“On the way, I have done everything from laugh to cry. This has been 55 years in the making,” she said. “I’ve looked all my life for these guys.”
When Karen finally arrived through the sliding doors, the three embraced for a long hug.
“I’m complete now,” she said. “Everything I ever thought could ever happen, or would never happen, has now just happened.”
“I think you can tell we’re sisters.”
The eight siblings reunited in Kentucky in August 2017. Courtesy: Zdenek Podsednik
There was a large family reunion in Kentucky just two months before they started talking to Karen.
“Meeting someone who’s a part of you – that you’ve never met – that’s a big thing,” Phyllis said.
All ten siblings share the same mother, but how they were all separated remains a mystery.
Phyllis said this was a topic her mother did not like to discuss.
“It’s like one of those questions I should have asked her 20 years ago,” she said.
Their mother now has dementia and lives in a care facility.
One more sibling
There is still one more sibling out there that they have not found yet.
Sheryl Ann Emerson was born in 1962 either in Saskatchewan or Alberta.
The sisters know she was adopted but do not have any other details.
“If we can find our other Sheryl, then we’ll be jumping for joy because this is a miracle,” Sheryl said.
The three will be spending the weekend catching up and visiting their mother at the care facility.