HARTFORD, Conn. - While coronavirus pandemic restrictions have kept untold families apart this year, Jane Anderson Holmes could not wait another day after 40 years of searching for her biological siblings.
Last week she returned to Connecticut, where she grew up with her adopted parents and attended Danbury High School, to meet for the first time two of her brothers and one of her sisters who, unbeknownst to her, had been just 90 minutes away in Massachusetts when they were children.
Decades later, after commercial DNA testing finally broke the logjam in the family's search for answers, they were together at last this Labor Day weekend in Holyoke, Mass.
Even in the midst of strenuous coronavirus precautions and testing, the newfound family knew the trip already was worth it when Holmes ran across the terminal at Bradley International Airport and into the arms of Kim Henn, her long-lost sister, for the very first time last Thursday.
"When you're adopted, you really don't have anybody you look like," Holmes said. "You just had this feeling you really don't know who you are. As soon as I talked to these three, my heart just filled up and I knew."
Holmes is the first-born child of Nancy Stephens, the late matriarch of an extended family split up by several adoptions over a decade in the late 1950s and mid-1960s. Stephens was just 17 years old when she traveled from Massachusetts to Florida to have Holmes and chose to place her first daughter for adoption.
Holmes then grew up in Florida and Danbury before attending college in West Virginia, where she has lived ever since. She knew she was adopted and was raised with an adopted brother, but she never pursued questions about her biological parents and never considered whether she had other siblings until college.
"The older I got, the more curious I got, and the more longing I had in my heart to know who I was and where I came from," she said. "Did I have siblings? Was my mother still alive?"
Those questions began a lifelong quest for Holmes, who had just a small amount of information from her adoption attorneys and medical paperwork to go on in a pre-internet era. Even a private investigator struck out in the search nearly 20 years ago.
But Holmes did, in fact, have several siblings and they were on the hunt for her all those years, too.