Man who grew up in a children’s home meets his sister for the first time at the age of 81 

At the age of 81, a man who grew up in a children’s home meets his sister for the first time. ‘Fate was there and gave me another chance—I’ll take it with both hands,’ the 81-year-old said.

An 81-year-old man traveled 18 hours to meet his recently discovered sister. John Ellis of North Walsham, Norfolk, England, traveled to Las Vegas this week to meet his 79-year-old sister, Shirley Jones. According to the BBC, Ellis grew up in a children’s home and only recently discovered that he had four younger siblings. He might not have known about them if his siblings hadn’t contacted a website for adopted people to trace their family trees. Jones described receiving a letter from the genealogy website informing him of his large family as a “shock.”

Despite the fact that Ellis had been placed in a children’s home with his oldest sister and was aware he had one younger sister, the elderly gentleman claimed he had no idea about any other brothers or sisters. Ellis traveled to Nuneaton in the Midlands this year after realizing he had a larger family than he had previously imagined. He had to wait a little longer to make travel arrangements to finally meet his sister, Jones, because she had moved to America after marrying a US serviceman seconded to the former USAF Sculthorpe base in Norfolk.

“My sister used to come over to England and go to the telephone boxes to see if there were any Ellisses in the phone book and she never did [find me]. Me and the wife were always ex-directory,” Ellis said. “Fate was there and gave me another chance—I’ll take it with both hands.”

Jones was at the airport in Las Vegas this week, waiting to meet her long-lost brother for the first time. Despite having spoken to each other every week since being contacted by the genealogy website, the siblings said it meant “everything” to finally meet and embrace.

“I’ve waited a lifetime for that,” Ellis said of getting the chance to hug her brother. She was accompanied to the emotional meeting by her daughter, who also embraced Ellis and greeted him as “Uncle John.” As the brother-sister pair walked out of the airport arm-in-arm, Ellis said: “When we found out… we were over the moon.” News of the siblings’ reunion warmed hearts on social media, with one Twitter user sharing: “Six years ago my brother Frankie found me after a 50-year search. Overnight my family grew substantially and the love, oh, the love. I’m so fortunate and thank the universe.”

This isn’t the first time a genealogy website has helped reunite families who had no idea their siblings or other blood relatives existed. Late last year, we told you about Linda Hoffman and Harriet Carter, who met by chance after signing up for accounts. Hoffman revealed that her parents never told her she had a sibling and that when they died decades ago, they took their secret to the grave with them. “I think we found each other when we were supposed to,” Hoffman said. Carter agreed, adding: “Everything happens when it’s supposed to anyway.”