SAN ANTONIO – They were looking for their father. She was looking for them. Now, they’ve found each other.
Earline Turner, 71, finally met her brother and sister Thursday after they traveled to San Antonio to conclude their decades of searching.
Earline began her quest in 1962 after the death of her father, John Calvin Wright.
When she was child, Wright told her that she had a half-brother and half-sister named John and Robin. After the funeral, Earline began to search for them, with only their names and an old photo of them that her father had given her.
After years of scouring phone books looking for any names that matched, writing hundreds of letters to strangers from coast to coast, and later, looking online, Earline decided to end her search.
Then, this year, she tested her DNA, using a kit from 23andMe.com that her daughter had bought her for Christmas.
Meanwhile, during Earline’s years of searching and unbeknownst to her, John and Robin, who grew up together, had been searching for their father, John Calvin Wright.
They didn’t learn about their biological father until they discovered their birth certificates when they were teenagers. Their last named had been changed from Wright to Hussey when they were children.
John and Robin only knew Wright’s name and that he had been in the military. They had no idea Earline existed.
During their 40 years of searching, John raised children in Ohio and retired in North Carolina. Robin, whose last name is now Cooke, raised children and currently lives in Tennessee.
John decided to try a DNA kit from Ancestry DNA. The results revealed he had a cousin living near Dallas — the same cousin revealed in Earline’s DNA results.
Earline knew about that cousin and had spoken with her in the past. That cousin knew John and Robin existed, but had no idea where they were. Then, John contacted that cousin.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “It was eye-opening and identified relatives I didn’t know existed and a path to find more. And that path led me to Earline.”
“He texted me the DNA results and then his next text was 'I think we have a sister! I think I found a sister,’” Robin said.
John found Earline using Ancestry.com and contacted her through the site. Not recognizing the name Hussey, Earline chose not to respond.
“Then I did what anybody does in 2018,” John said, laughing. “I started to cyberstalk her!"
John was eventually able to contact Earline’s daughter by phone.
Earline had been in the hospital, and John called her the day she got home.
“She comes running up the stairs the day I got home, crying, and said, ‘Mom!’ I thought somebody had died,” Earline said. “She goes, ‘I’ve got your brother on the line.’ I said, ‘Charles is on the phone?’ Because I have another brother. She said, ‘No, John Calvin Wright, who you've been looking for.’ I said, ‘You're kidding!’”
“Not knowing your biological father, there's a void that's created, and in that void are 1,000 questions,” John said. “You ask yourself, 'Do I look like them? Are they looking for me? Do I have siblings out there?' And you're constantly trying to answer those questions that have no answers.”
Over the last month, Earline, Robin and John have talked and texted, planning to meet in San Antonio this weekend.
“In that moment of finding Earline, all of a sudden, that void is filled,” John said. “You know who you are. You know there were people out there looking for you that cared about you.”
“Over the 40-some years we looked, we'd pick it up and put it down, pick it up and put it down,” Robin said. “I’m glad he didn’t give up. I had no idea he was doing the DNA testing.”
John and Robin met Earline at her Northeast Side home, walking through the front door as if they were greeting an old friend.
“It's amazing,” Earline said. “I felt like I’ve known them my whole life.”
Above that front door, a homemade sign read, “Dreams do come true, I’ve been waiting for you!”
“It feels like a hole has been filled,” Robin said.
“It felt natural,” John said. “It felt like coming home.”