A Woman’s Search for Her Biological Family Turned Out to Be Closer to Home Than She Expected

Everyone knows that family is more than genetics. A family is having people who love you and care about you, whether or not you share the same DNA. Most of the time, adopted children view the people who raised them as their parents. They are also grateful that they had people to take care of them when their real parents couldn’t. But no matter how much love they receive, it’s natural to wonder where you came from.

Hillary and Dawn Johnson
Source: YouTube

That was the situation Hillary was in. When she was in high school, her parents told her that she was adopted. Her reaction was normal, and nothing changed. She loved her parents and knew they loved her. But as she got older, Hillary got curious about her biological family. She tried to track them down, but she didn’t have enough information. What she ultimately found was unexpected.

A Happy Child

When Hillary Harris was less than a year old, her dad left her at an orphanage. Thankfully, a loving family quickly adopted her and raised Hilary as their own in a warm, happy home. After her parents adopted her, Hillary had a family. She always had a smile on her face, and everyone was happy.

Hillary Harris is seen the day her parents, Lee Hardy and Rochelle Hardy, adopted her
Hillary Harris the day she was adopted with her parents, Lee and Rochelle Hardy. Source: Hillary Harris

Hillary’s childhood was pretty standard. She went to school, did her chores, and her adoptive parents loved her. Knowing she had two people who cared for her more than anything brought her joy. She was full of life and energy! She had a happy childhood, but sadly, everything changed when she discovered the truth.

Should We Tell Her?

As the years passed, Hillary grew up. She went from a toddler to a teenager in no time. There is no denying that Hillary’s parents gave their daughter a beautiful childhood, but there was one concern in the back of their minds. There was something they struggled with for years.

Dawn Johnson and Hillary Harris
Dawn Johnson and Hillary Harris. Source: SWNS

Hillary’s parents didn’t know if they should tell her that she was adopted or not. It was a big decision. One the one hand, they don’t want to keep anything from their child. But on the other hand, they didn’t know how to tell this beautiful little girl, who they raised and cared for her whole life, that she wasn’t their biological kid.

She Took it Quite Well

Hillary’s parents thought about it for days and finally came to a decision. They built up the courage to tell their daughter the truth. They told Hillary that she isn’t their biological daughter, and they adopted her when she was really young. They reassured her that it didn’t change anything. They loved and cared for her just the same.

Hillary as a child
Hillary as a child. Source: Imgur

At the time, Hillary was a teenager and old enough to understand the situation. She knew her parents did whatever they can to make her happy throughout her life, and she was appreciative of that. However, the older she got, the more curious she got.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Hillary started to wonder about her mysterious past, and that’s when things started to unfold. After Hillary found out she was adopted, she took it quite well and continued living her life like nothing changed. She ended up dating a guy named Lance Harris, and they eventually got married and moved to Wisconsin.

Dawn as a baby
Dawn as a baby. Source: SWNS

She quickly became a mother herself when she had a beautiful baby girl. Hillary wasn’t a teenager anymore. She grew up to be a lovely and curious woman. That’s when she decided it was time to get some answers. She wondered a lot about her biological family.

Let the Search Begin

Hillary had a great life. She grew up in a warm, loving home and is now married to the love of her life. She loved her daughter and was building a lovely family. This is exactly how she wanted her life to turn out. But there was still one thing lingering in her mind since she was a teenager.

Dawn as a baby with her mother and father, Wayne
Dawn as a baby with her mother and Wayne. Source: SWNS

Hillary was extremely happy with her life, but it’s only human nature to be curious about your past and where you came from. Hillary was no different, and since becoming a mother herself, her curiosity grew stronger. She found an old box from her parent’s house and began her search.

A Box of Memories

Hillary needed to start somewhere and was hoping she would find something helpful in that old box. As she opened it and looked through the things inside, she started to reminisce. Everything in there reminded her of her adoptive parents – the ones who took her in raised her and cared for her.

Hillary Harris on her first birthday with a cake
Hillary Harris on her first birthday. Source: Hillary Harris

She was looking through some old pictures, her childhood toys, and some of her old clothes. She was reminded of the beautiful life these two people gave her, and she will always be grateful. As she was looking back at some memories, she found exactly what she was looking for… a file.

The Adoption File

This file was the one her parents got when they adopted her. Naturally, Hillary hoped it had some information about her past, and more importantly, details on her biological parents. She figured her there must be something in there that would help her track them down.

A newspaper clipping for Wayne F. Clouse
Source: Facebook

Unfortunately, she was wrong. The file didn’t contain any information that she was looking for. She assumed some of the papers went missing. Luckily, Hillary did manage to find something that might be useful to her on her search. There were a few names that might be helpful. She discovered her birth dad’s name is Wayne Clouse.

Finding Some Clues

That wasn’t the only interesting thing Hillary discovered. She even found out that she had a half-sister (from her father’s side). Plus, she found the name of the orphanage she was at. Still, it’s been years since she left the orphanage. What were the chances that they still have any information about her adoption?

Dawn and Wayne
Dawn and Wayne. Source: SWNS

Hillary decided to give it a shot. She went to visit the orphanage she lived in as a baby. She was so young when she was adopted, so it didn’t come as a shock that she didn’t remember that place. She thought they had to know something, but sadly, when she got there, her dreams were crushed.

The Abandoned Orphanage

Hillary hoped she would get some answers, but as soon as she got to the orphanage, she realized that the building was completely abandoned. To make matters more difficult, there were no records of any of the children who lived there. Hillary was disappointed, but it didn’t stop her from continuing her search.

Hillary and her brother with her adopted parents
Hillary and her adopted parents. Source: Facebook

Although she had reached a dead end, she wasn’t going to let that discourage her. She asked people who lived in the area if they had a way of contacting anyone who worked at the orphanage, but nobody was able to help her. But then, she had an idea.

A Facebook Search

Hillary realized there was a much easier way of doing this. She decided to look for the names she found on the internet, but she wasn’t ready for what she discovered. Hillary went on to Facebook and searched the name Dawn Johnson- her half-sister.

Hillary searching through documents
Source: Facebook

There were thousands of names that came up. Hillary had no idea which one she was related to. She didn’t know what Dawn looked like, so there was really no way for her to figure out which one her sister was. It seemed like another dead end. But then, something Hillary never expected happened.

There are a lot of Dawn Johnsons

Hillary really wanted to find her sister, so she looked through most of the Dawn Johnson profiles. Maybe one of them looked like her, but none of them stood out. She didn’t know if any of these women were her sister. She started to lose hope.

Hillary and her husband, Lance
Hillary and Lance Harris. Source: Facebook

I mean, the chances of Hillary finding her sister seemed slim at this point. She was disappointed, but she had to accept the fact that she may never find her biological parents. She moved on with her life and put the search on hold. She wasn’t really getting anywhere. But one day, everything changed.

Being Neighborly

Hillary had already come to the realization that she most likely would not find her biological family. One day, she was taking a stroll near her house and noticed some new neighbors just moved in. The couple didn’t seem like anything special or out of the ordinary, but Hillary wanted to be a good neighbor and be polite.

Lance shaking Dawns hand
Lance Harris and Dawn Johnson. Source: YouTube

As they were unloading a moving truck, Hilary approached them. I mean, the new neighbors shared their driveway. The least she can do is be friendly and say hi. She went over to the woman and simply said hello. But her reply was a complete shock to Hillary.

What Did you Say Your Name Was?

Hillary walked over to the woman and said, “Hello, I’m Hillary, I am your next-door neighbor. I guess you are new here.” It seems innocent enough. Although they were strangers, she knew they would be seeing a lot of each other now that they lived next door. But her response shocked her.

Hillary looking over at Dawn's house.
Source: Facebook

The woman wasn’t rude or anything, she simply said that she is new to the city; she and her husband moved in just two days prior. She then introduced herself as “Dawn.” Hillary couldn’t believe her ears. She didn’t know if she heard the woman correctly, but as we know from her Facebook search, there are a lot of Dawns out there.

Just a Coincidence…

But Hillary was still shocked at the situation. After looking for her sister for years and not getting anywhere, she gave up all hope of finding her. Then suddenly, a woman named Dawn moved in next door. What are the chances? This must be some kind of weird coincidence, but Hillary wasn’t convinced.

Hillary doing a news interview
Source: YouTube

She went inside and told her husband that she met the new neighbors, and the woman’s name is Dawn. She wasn’t sure if this new neighbor randomly moved in, or if it was fate. At this point, Hillary didn’t really know what was going on, but one thing was for sure. She wanted to know more.

Is It Possible…?

Lance was really surprised by what his wife just told him. He knew she was on a search to find her birth family, but he also knew she kept reaching dead ends and eventually gave up. But Dawn told her she was from Greenwood. That’s the name of the town Hillary was from and highlighted it on her adoption papers.

Hillary talking to Lance on their front lawn
Hillary and Lance. Source: Facebook

But if you think about it, it kind of seems like wishful thinking. She had looked at dozens of profiles, with the name Dawn. There are lots of them. So what are the chances that this woman is the long-lost sister she had been looking for? Hillary just wanted to find out the truth.

Probably Not

Hillary and Lance later started to evaluate the possibilities of their new neighbor being Hillary’s sister, and couldn’t help but laugh. They realized they got way ahead of themselves. Realistically speaking, a woman you have been looking for doesn’t suddenly move in next door. And as we mentioned, a lot of people are named Dawn.

Dawn working on her garden in the front lawn
Dawn Harris. Source: Facebook

Dawn was just a new neighbor, and the couple realized they were overthinking the situation. The possibility of this woman being Hillary’s sister seemed impossible at this point. Lance and Hillary found it hilarious that they even thought that. But then things got a little weirder…

If Only I Knew Her Last Name

Hillary and Lance came to the realization that this Dawn is probably not her sister and laughed it off. The likelihood was extremely slim. Although they thought it was impossible, they still wondered. The whole situation was still kind of strange.

Hillary with her parents in front of a Church sign
Hillary and her parents. Source: YouTube

Just to settle her mind, Hillary wanted to know her last name. It probably won’t be Johnson, right? She watched this woman everyday thinking, “Are you, my long-lost sister?” Hillary couldn’t take it anymore. She tried to work up the guts to go over to her neighbor, and ask her what her last name was. What’s the worst that can happen?

What Does That Say?

Hillary planned on asking her neighbor what her last name was, but she got nervous and chickened out. She didn’t feel comfortable asking her new neighbors’ personal questions. She wanted them to like her, not feel like she is nosey, and intruding on their privacy. Straight-up asking them wasn’t going to work.

Hillary walking up to her neighbors' steps
Source: YouTube

One Sunday morning, Hillary walked out to her driveway and noticed a stack of shingles packed on the driveway. It must be for the neighbors. Hilary looked at it and noticed the name that was written on it. Hillary was completely shocked and couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

Dawn’s Last-Name

At this point, it has been eight months since Dawn and her husband Kurt moved in. In preparation for the approaching winter, the couple decided to fix there roof. That’s why they ordered a stack of shingles. But Hillary couldn’t believe the name she saw on there.

‘Johnson’ written across a piece of plastic used for construction
Source: Facebook

You guessed it, the last name was “Johnson,” and Hillary didn’t know what to think. Does this change anything? I mean, last time she searched, over 1000 Dawn Johnson profiles came up. Statistically speaking, she is probably one of the other ones. Still, she couldn’t rule out her neighbor any longer.

You Will Never Know if You Don’t Ask

The thing is, if Hillary saw a different name of the package of shingles, she probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. The only reason she wanted to know Dawn’s last name in the first place was so that she could rule it out. But now that she confirmed her last name is Johnson, she couldn’t help but wonder.

Dawn watering the plants on her front lawn
Dawn Johnson. Source: Facebook

Even though it could be one of the thousands of Dawn Johnsons out there, it didn’t mean it wasn’t her. The possibilities were still slim, but maybe it was fate. Lance saw how important this was to his wife, so he told her to just go over there and talk to Dawn if she really wants to find out.

What if it’s Not My Sister?

Hillary obviously wanted to know if this woman was her sister or not, but she was also scared of the truth. She was searching for her biological family for so long, and now that she possibly found her sister, she was nervous. What if she is her sister? Or even worse, what if it’s not?

Dawn Johnson checking her mail
Source: YouTube

She didn’t want to get her hopes up, only to be disappointed when she ends up being one of the other Dawn Johnsons. Still, the curiosity wasn’t going away. If she wanted to know the truth, she had to work up the courage to ask her neighbor about it.

The Good Husband

Lance said he would go with his wife. He figured some emotional support couldn’t hurt. But as soon as the Harris’s got to their neighbor’s doorstep, Hillary got extremely anxious. What if Dawn doesn’t even know about her? Or what if it’s a completely different Dawn and the neighbors think she is crazy?!

Lance and Dawn walking down their porch steps
Source: YouTube

Lance told her not to worry. Even if Dawn is her sister and didn’t know, it would be okay. Lance reassured her that he is right by her side, and she doesn’t have to go through any of this alone. Finally, the couple worked up the courage to knock on Dawn’s door.

An Awkward Meeting

After Hillary knocked on the door, she took a deep breath, and Dawn opened it. Lance made small talk, and they all chatted for a bit. Hillary was patiently waiting to find out some answers. Meanwhile, she couldn’t stop staring at Dawn’s curly hair and her hands.

Hillary looking out her window
Source: YouTube

Hillary couldn’t do it, though. She was so nervous at Dawn’s house that she could barely speak, let alone ask her if they are sisters. After the casual conversations, the two couples said goodbye to each other. Dawn felt suspicious about Hillary. She didn’t like how she was just staring at her the whole time.

The Text Message

Later that day, Dawn took a family trip when she got an interesting message. Hillary was a mess. So many things were running through her mind, and she couldn’t help but think about how awkward that meeting was. Hillary spent the day looking in the mirror and noticed how much she looks like her neighbor.

Hillary and Dawn about to hug
Source: YouTube

They had very similar hands, and hair and Hillary couldn’t think of anything else. That’s when she decided to just send Dawn a text message. It said, “Were you the Loyal Corn Fest queen in 1983?” Hillary found that little piece of information in her adoption file.

Dawn Thinks Hillary is a Stalker

Dawn was confused. She couldn’t believe what Hillary just asked her. Dawn already thought she was weird from their strange encounter earlier, and now she knows details about her personal life? Dawn was, in fact, the Fest Queen that year, but that was none of Hillary’s business.

Dawn and Hillary sitting on the couch looking through photographs
Source: Facebook

There is no reason why her random neighbor would know this information for 1983. They just met a few months ago. She knew Hillary was weird, but is she a stalker too? Instead of saying yes or no, Dawn wanted some answers of her own. Her response was, “Hey, wait, why are you asking that?”

Who’s Your Daddy?

When Hillary saw her response, she immediately responded, asking, “Dawn, who is your birth, father?” If I were Dawn, I’d be freaked out at this point, but Dawn answered. She told Hillary that her dad’s name was Wayne Clouse, but he passed away in 2010.

Hillary and Dawn laughing while sitting on lawn chairs in the driveway
Source: Facebook

When Lance and Hillary read the text saying Wayne Clouse is Dawn’s dad, they couldn’t deny it anymore. Hillary couldn’t contain her excitement anymore. She just called up Dawn and said, “You and I have the same dad, don’t we?” After realizing they were sisters, the neighbors stayed up all night talking on the phone. They had a lot of catching up to do.

Family Reunion

At first, they both laughed. It’s not every day that you find your long lost sibling. But they also got emotional and cried. It was just strange that they were so close to each other physically, but had no idea they were sisters. Hillary had her suspicions, but she convinced herself that this Dawn couldn’t be her sister.

Hillary and Dawn with their extended family
Source: Facebook

The next morning, after she got back from her family trip, Dawn went over to Hillary’s house. She brought her flowers and some pictures of her dad. The two neighbors greeted each other with “Hey Sister,” and laughed at the entire situation. It was a happy reunion. As soon as the two women found out they were sisters, they became inseparable.

New Family

The sisters were shocked for a while. It seemed unbelievable that after spending years living so far away from each other, fate brought them together in a strange turn of events. Dawn was excited because, in addition to a sister, she also got a niece!

Hillary, Lance, Stella (their daughter, Dawn, and her partner Kurt are posing at a restaurant
Source: Facebook

Dawn fell in love with Hillary’s five-year-old daughter right away. Hillary was also a new aunt and loved Dawn’s children as well. The family reunion was wonderful, and the families got along great. Still, it was really hard to believe that her long-lost sister just moved in next door. Do you think it was fate? Or a random coincidence?

Happily Ever After

After spending years searching and wondering about her biological family, Hillary found her sister. She was finally getting all the answers she’s been looking for. Hillary admitted that Dawn completes her. Not only is she her big sister, but she’s like a mother to her.

Hillary and Dawn with their partners and Stella Harris sitting in the driveway in between their houses
Source: Twitter

Many people were inspired by Hillary and Dawn’s beautiful story. They are still neighbors and have a great relationship. The two families love each other and spend a lot of time together. They even take some vacations together. Now they jokingly tell people that if they are ever looking for their biological families, to check the neighbor’s house.