It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: to have your child stolen. That’s what happened to Betty Jones sixty years ago.
While Jones was giving birth to his younger sibling, 2-year-old Lewis Thompson was stolen by his babysitter and given to an older couple. Thompson grew up as an only child knowing that he was adopted.
Thompson’s adopted father died when he was 14, and his adopted mother went psychotic a few months later and was committed to an asylum. Thompson spent the next four years in foster care until he became a shoe salesman at 18. Thompson met his wife while attending a shoe conference in Las Vegas. They married in 2009 and moved to her home in Australia.
Thompson’s wife, Christine, prompted him to take a DNA test and he agreed. That’s when he was matched with his brother Lammie and the whole story unfolded. In a dramatic twist, the brothers discovered they had lived a block apart their whole childhood.
“I lived on 138th [in Harlem], and my family lived on 139th,” said Thompson. “When I was 8 or 9 years old, a friend asked me if I had a sister. He said he’d seen a girl ‘round the corner at Miss Susie’s candy store, who looked just like me. I saw her one time, too, and agreed. But it didn’t occur to me that we might be related.”
They were in fact related; that girl was his older sister, Wanda.
Even with their close proximity, the siblings had never met as kids because Thompson went to public school and his siblings went to Catholic school. Thompson’s mother was careful to keep her children off the Harlem streets, and Thompson was required to be inside when the street lights came on.
But now, the siblings have reunited and their family is complete.
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