Woman meets biological sister for first time after more than 50 years

A woman has reconnected to her biological family and relatives who had not seen her in decades over Easter weekend.
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 7:47 AM PDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV/Gray News) – Emotions ran high this weekend for two sisters who met for the first time at the baggage claim of the airport in Kansas City.

Melisa Hergert and her aunt, Deb Witig, were picking up a woman they had never met before, yet shared a deep connection with.

“As a small child, I heard that I had a sister that was given up for adoption,” Hergert said. “But I never expected that I’d ever meet her.”

Hergert was less than a year old when her mother put her older sister, Amy Leonard, up for adoption more than 50 years ago.

“It’s been very emotional and very exciting,” Hergert said.

Last fall, Witig decided to start searching for Leonard. She had always wondered what happened to Hergert’s older sister.

“It was just this missing piece to our family puzzle,” Witig said.

It turned out that Leonard, who lives in Dallas, had also been curious about her birth mother. She took a DNA test and managed to connect with her biological relatives, including her sister.

After talking on the phone, they arranged to meet for the first time in Kansas City during spring break.

“I’ve always been curious. I thought this was the time to do it if I’m going to do it, and so I started kind of piecing together some information and realized I had siblings. I couldn’t not do it. I had to reach out. Life is too short,” Leonard said.

Hergert, Leonard and Witig were in tears as they hugged for the first time. They planned to make lasagna together and visit local wineries as they got to know each other as a family.

“It’s very overwhelming, exciting. There are absolutely no words for it, just pure joy,” Leonard said.