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After 65 years, long lost sisters reunite in Sterling

Janet Caul and sister Irene Amos share memories after 65 years apart. Times-Mirror/Chantalle Edmunds
Two sisters who hadn't seen each other in more than half a century reunited in Loudoun County last week. They say it's like a space in their hearts has been filled.

Irene Amos from Sterling always knew she was one of six children. After her family fell on hard times, four out of the six kids were adopted. Irene and her brother George, the eldest children, stayed with their mother in Virginia.

Last September, Irene got a call from a distant relative researching their family tree. The relative had been in touch with a woman named Janet Caul in Nebraska. Amos almost immediately knew what the call was all about: Janet must be a sister, and she kept her original first name.

The distant relative told Irene Amos that Janet Caul had been researching her ancestry and was interested in getting in touch, but she was also a little “scared.” The two settled on speaking to each other over the phone.

“As soon as Irene picked up, I knew, the familiarity of it all. I told her you feel like an old pair of jeans, you just feel good,” Amos said.

Caul didn't know she was adopted along with one of her sisters until someone told her at school in 7th grade. Her parents confirmed, but the documents detailing Caul's former life burned and disappeared in a fire.

“I carried a lot of anger, a lot of resentment that they couldn't or wouldn't tell me many details,” she said.

Caul joined a lot of ancestry groups online but waited to search for her biological family until after the death of her adopted parents. Amos met another sister in the 1960s, but they didn't maintain a relationship.

“I was born in D.C., and I always had this feeling of familiarity when I visited Virginia in the past, before I met Irene. I would say, 'Look there's Alexandria, that's where I was adopted,'” Caul said.

Since last fall, the two sisters kept touch daily via Skype or text messages.

On April 14, they met for the first time.

“Meeting Irene, I feel joyful. I feel complete,” Caul said. “We are so similar in character, we are not opposites.”

Both also have strong Christian beliefs.

Even their husbands have found they have plenty in common.

“I'm excited for my wife,” said Janet's husband, Chuck. “They are like school kids when they talk, chatting back and forth.”

Irene's husband James chimed in, “My wife has always wondered all these years if she would be like her sisters, it's always been in her heart to know these things.”


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