Paula O’Brien and Abbey Donohoe discovered they are aunt and niece via Facebook
When Paula O’Brien and Abbey Donohoe met at a party four years ago, people instantly began to comment on how similar they looked. However, last week, a Facebook post from O’Brien would lead to the revelation that the two were in fact related.
WQAD in Iowa reports on the chance encounter between the two Irish Americans.
On March 6th, 2013, O’Brien posted as her status: “On Sept. 19, 1982, my very first niece was born and given up for adoption. I know it wasn’t an easy decision for my brother to make, but it was the right one for that baby girl. Hope you can take a moment to read this & be thankful for the selfless sacrifice of adoption. I know many families whose hearts are full because of it.”
Donohoe, who had met O’Brien a few years prior, saw the post and quickly messaged O’Brien saying, “You sure it wasn’t 1983? Because that’s my birthday & I was adopted…. crazy!”
O’Brien privately messaged Donohoe with the parents’ names, to which Donohoe responded, “Oh my goodness, it sounds like you’re my Aunt!”
Donohoe had never searched for her birth parents, citing that she always felt that she was so loved and never felt the need to.
However, O’Brien, who was just 10 years old when her niece was adopted, and her family never forgot about Abbey. She says she and her family observed Abbey’s birthday every year even after she was adopted.
“We experienced that loss and we never forgot about that baby,” said O’Brien of the adoption almost 30 years ago. “We never gave up on her. We observed her birthday every year. It never left our minds.”
Donohoe, who said the entire situation is “surreal,” said “It’s been nice reading emails and starting to get in contact with people and ‘friend’-ing new aunts that are in the area.”
“This is truly a miracle,” says O’Brien. “We just feel like our prayers have been answered.”
Paula’s mom is planning to come to visit from Arizona next week to see her granddaughter Abbey for the first time since she was born.