Family reunites after 50 years apart

Local News

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A woman born in Evansville who was adopted by a family in Mississippi returns to Evansville for the first time to meet her siblings.

She found out she’s the youngest of nine children.

Eyewitness News was there as she met some of her brothers and sisters for the first time.

“It just still to me, I think, is this real?”

“Wow, this is unreal.”

It was an emotional reunion – 50 years in the making.

“I’ve been waiting all these years to find you and I found you.”

A family finally reunited after years of searching. Lisa McWilliams was born in Evansville and the baby of nine children.

“The reason they gave me up for adoption, they just had a lot being older and so they just thought that was best.”

At six months old, Lisa began living with her adoptive family in a small town in Mississippi.

When she turned 29, she found out on her own she was adopted. She immediately began searching for her birth parents.

After clearing several hurdles in Indiana law, she found out her parents were dead — then the biggest shock of all.

“I was like, oh my god I’ve got 8 siblings and I said they probably don’t want to have anything to do with me you know. It’s been 50 years.”

Little did she know, while Lisa was searching for them, they were also searching for her.

There was just one problem, Lisa was born Betty Lee.

“We were always looking for Betty Lee. She was always looking for Lisa, so we couldn’t find each other because of that.”

It wasn’t until Lisa saw her birth name on some recent paperwork from the State of Indiana that she finally made a connection online.

“My mom had an obituary and it had my name listed and that was something.”

Also listed were all the names of her eight brothers and sisters. She was finally able to contact one of her brothers, who immediately contacted some of his sisters, who was on vacation at the time.

“So, I said, we’re going to Mississippi.”

“From then on we bonded. They came off vacation early to see me in Mississippi for three days and it’s just been wonderful.”

On Thursday, Lisa and her family came back to Evansville for the first time so all brothers and sisters could sit down together to eat as a family.

“I was so excited, like, what do you do with brothers and sisters?”

“Mom just wanted us to fit all the pieces together. Mom worked puzzles and so I think all the pieces are finally fitting together which is really kind of neat to see this happen even though it’s 50 years later.”

Lisa says she now wants to visit her parents’ graves in Evansville.

Her mom’s grave – she says – contains nine roses. One for each child, including her.

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(This story was originally published on August 30, 2019)

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