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When Karen was little, she moved with her family from Texas to California. Along the drive, she recalls stopping at a place called Emmaus somewhere in Missouri. She remembers seeing a toddler in a crib trying to learn how to walk. In those days, families were often advised to completely entrust the care of children with disabilities to facilities with specialized skills, which, sadly, could weaken family bonds. Karen recalls her parents never really speaking about who that 5-year old was, until recently. The girl’s name was Susie – and she was Karen’s little sister.

Emmaus reached out to Karen to talk about guardianship over Susie. It fell heavily on Karen’s heart and had been for some time, like a piece of a puzzle was missing. After a few phone calls Susie’s Direct Support Professional, Donna arranged for Karen to fly out and attend Susie’s annual support meeting. Donna picked Karen up from the airport, calmed her nerves and took her to see her little sister Susie, for the first time in 60 years.

At long last, family reunited. Upon meeting, Karen was able to share a lot of family history with her sister and with the people supporting her. Susie discovered that she has more family including another sister who lives in Colorado. Karen shared with Susie that she was married and had a daughter. Susie’s new niece makes jewelry and sent her a beautiful hand-made bracelet as a gift for her newly minted “Aunt Susie.” Karen arranged with Donna how to start sending family photos and some heirlooms from her grandparents for Susie. The sisters are excited to stay in touch moving forward, and have more visits already planned!

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