Twins use Facebook to connect with biological family

Twins use Facebook to connect with biological family
Jane and Lisa with their mother, Anita. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Jane and Lisa with their mother, Anita. (Photo source: WLOX News)

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Born on January 29, 1960 in Palermo, Italy, twins Jana Bennett and Lisa Keeler never had a chance to meet their family.

"Our mother died during childbirth. She was having complications and didn't know she was having twins. So from that point on, we were transferred into an orphanage," Jana Bennett said.

Meanwhile in America, Anita Sipler and her husband, who were told they were unable to have children, were desperately awaiting news from their adoption agency.

"I got the call in the morning from Catholic Charities and they said 'Would you like twin girls?' and I said I've got to talk to my husband," said Sipler. "On the way home he said, 'Get em, get em!"

Lisa and Jana's birth family was reluctant about placing the girls in a new home, but agreed to do so under what they say was a confusing contract. Additionally, Jana and Lisa's father had eight other mouths to feed.

"My father was very confused by the language barrier and didn't understand about the adoption. And after 18 months, he decided to sign the papers but they promised him something completely different," Jana explained. "They told him that he'd be able to see us at 18 years old, to be able to get in touch with our family, which was not true."

Sipler, however, did not want to hide the girls heritage and was extremely open about their adoption.

"We had been wanting children for so long, and it was just like a dream, and they were so cute!"

"My mom told us our story, she had all our information. My birth name was Maria Concetta Valenziano, and Lisa's name was Anna Maria Valenziano. So since we knew our names we started thinking about, well maybe we should be looking for our family over in Italy," said Jana.

Jana wrote many times to newspapers in Italy without a response, but when the times finally caught up, she thought a simple Facebook search might do the trick.

"I got on Facebook and saw that there was a person with our same last name and I said 'Wow, Lisa, I'm going to write to these people'," said Jana.

After explaining their story, Jana and Lisa waited and waited until finally a year later they got a response.

According to Jana's translation, the message they received read, "Oh my God, God is grand, God is great, you are my sisters."

Once they exchanged photos and stories, there was no question that the siblings had found each other.

Thanks to the generosity of Lisa and Jana's half siblings (the siblings doctor's told Anita she could never have), the pair will reunite with their family in Italy in the spring.

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