As New Brunswickers celebrate Easter weekend with family, Barbara Sampogna of Hillsborough will be spending it with the sister she never knew she had until a few weeks ago.
Sampogna and her sister Lori Gladue were adopted into different families as babies in the early 1960s.
“Not that I didn’t appreciate my family and my life, but I always felt there was something missing,” Gladue said on Friday.
Sampogna became curious about her biological family after her adoption records were unsealed in 2012.
Her husband Dominic Sampogna took to social media, looking for any information he could find using his wife’s birth name and her biological mother’s name.
Noticing indications on Gladue’s Facebook profile that there might be a connection, he attempted to contact Gladue without any success over the years. He finally received a response a few weeks ago.
He told Gladue about Barbara and he birthday. She replied, “My sister. Our father and I, we’re looking for her.”
He immediately told his wife, who initiated contact with Gladue. The latter, now 59, learned she had a sister when she met their biological father for the first time at age 25.
“Everyday I would wake up and wonder what my sister was doing,” said Gladue. But Barbara Sampogna had no idea. She was overjoyed when she met Gladue at the airport a week ago — on a visit from her home in Alberta.
“Yesterday we had a beautiful day. We went to see our mother’s gravesite, so that was really nice,” Sampogna said.
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They have been spending their time doing a lot of firsts together.
“Just doing mundane things like going to the grocery store … something we need to do we haven’t done yet, is sit on a swingset just do some little girl things as children that we never got a chance to do,” Sampogna said.
The resemblance between the sisters — in appearance and mannerisms — is striking.
“I’m looking at my wife twice,” Dominic Sampogna said. “Their traits, how they talk, what they like, how they giggle, their facial expressions…they’re twins. They’re only 14 months apart.”
When asked what they believe their mother would think of their reunion, Gladue became emotional.
“I think she would be at peace for the first time in her life. She carried this around by herself. Just a couple of people in the family knew about it.”
Sampogna added: “It’s such a comforting feeling to know that all this time (my biological family) never forgot about me, they loved me.”
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