SFO (KPIX 5) — A Virginia man flew into San Francisco International Airport Sunday to meet a long-lost half sister for the first time in six decades.
Most people arrive at the airport to change their location. Esther Souza came to SFO to change her life.
“I’m still pinching myself, because it feels so unreal,” said Souza.
It all started last month when Esther’s best friend Melissa gave her an Ancestry.com search as a gift. Born in Germany in 1956 and adopted by a California couple, Esther grew up as an only-child in the Central Valley.
She wasn’t prepared for the phone call she got from a man in Virginia.
“Uh…this is hard for me, but…he says, ‘You are one of 9 brothers and sisters.’ And honestly, I thought I was gonna pass out,” said Souza.
That man, Wayne Gross, was also an adoptee, also born in Germany to the same mother, a woman named Ursula Maria Katharina Horn.
Sunday morning, Esther was waiting for the plane to arrive carrying the brother she never knew she had who managed to find her.
“I finally had to ask her, ‘Do you have your mother’s name?’ And when she said her mother’s name, I said, ‘Well, your mother’s my mother,’” explained Gross.
In fact, six of the nine siblings, all from different fathers, had been adopted out without knowledge of each other. Postwar Germany was a difficult place for a young single girl and Ursula probably did what she had to to survive.
“I am not here to judge her in any way. I am just grateful that she gave me the opportunity to live,” said Souza.
And now these two siblings are on a new quest, traveling the world to meet each and every member of their new-found family.
“I’m 62 years old, you know? I want to make sure I meet ‘em all before anything happens,” said Souza.
“I’m in the 4th quarter of life, OK?I don’t know [why I’m doing it now], but I’m loving every minute of it, that’s for sure.”
Last week, Souza met one sister who has been living in Mill Valley. Later this week, she will travel to Connecticut to meet a brother living there.