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On the first day of any class, students can usually count on one thing: a round-table introduction. And this was certainly the case for Lizzie Valverde at Columbia University in January 2013. But while the autobiographical facts offered aren’t typically fascinating ones, what Valverde revealed proved to be an exception for one student. Indeed, one of her unsuspecting classmates was stunned by what she learned that day.
The introductory session for a creative writing class at the School of General Studies of Columbia University proved to be an extraordinary chapter in the lives of two participants. Valverde had only enrolled for the course at the last minute and didn’t have the first idea about what she was to set in motion as she cleared her throat and began to talk. Then the 33-year-old gave her classmates a few facts about herself – with details that would leave one particular female student in disbelief.
Valverde had noticed the woman’s extreme reaction and, after the class had finished, watched as she approached. The two students then spoke further, and a line of questioning aimed at Valverde seemed to make up her interviewer’s mind. The stranger subsequently told Valverde that she had helped solve a 30-year-old family secret; and when the woman explained how, the news stunned both classmates. Furthermore, when their story went viral, it was the internet’s turn to be astonished.
Columbia University’s School of General Studies is intended to provide an Ivy League education to students from non-traditional backgrounds. And before she walked into class on that fateful day, Valverde’s life could certainly have been said to have followed an unconventional path. She was born on December 8, 1979, in Tampa, Florida, but wouldn’t live there for long, having been adopted shortly after coming into this world.
And her adoptive parents – the Delgados – lived more than a thousand miles away from the Sunshine State, in New Jersey. This, moreover, is where their new little girl spent her formative years. But now, in her mid-30s and with a family of her own, Valverde had made an important life decision. She would go back to school and indulge her passion for creative writing by studying it formally.
So with the help of the School of General Studies, Valverde had enrolled at Columbia University. And while she had only signed up for the creative writing course minutes before class started, she nonetheless arrived in time for the customary introductions that day in January 2013. Furthermore, as a budding writer, Valverde was more than happy to share the story of her life so far.
But as the new student spoke to the group at Columbia’s Kent Hall about herself – including the fact she had been adopted – she couldn’t help noticing something. Specifically, it appeared as though something was seriously wrong with the woman sitting across from her. “It looked like she was having a panic attack,” Valverde would tell The New York Times in May 2015.
Little did Valverde know, however, that the student sat at the opposite side of the table had a very similar life story to her own. Her name was Katy Olson, and she was a year younger than Valverde. Born with a mild case of cerebral palsy, Olson had also been adopted at a young age. But, as it turned out, her family had lived in Florida for some time before moving to Iowa in the Midwest.
On top of that, Olson had previously spent time delving into her personal past to try and find out more about her biological family. And, through arduous online research, she had uncovered the identity of her birth mother. In the process, however, the inquisitive woman had also found out that she may have had an elder sister called Delgado.
From there, Olson did more online digging about the woman who could be her sister. And as a result, she discovered that her long-lost sibling had grown up in the New Jersey area. Olson also learned that her sister had got married and had ended up studying at Columbia University: the very same institution she herself was attending.
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Great story! You can sure see the family resemblance.
Glad things worked out. Occasionally one hears of situations when either the adopted child or birth parent do not want a connection with the one who has been searching.
After a whole bunch of beers... "Do you like chicken wings?" "I love chicken wings"... "Do you have a weird pinky toe?" "Yes, I have a weird pinky toe". "Are you chubby?" "Nope just you." ... Still a feel good story. I am happy for them.
Instead of narrating everything how about just playing the video and letting them talk and then adding a few things here and there. Probably be a lot more interesting that hear the narrator just prattle on and on.
Some mom though. She had these kids and gave them up. One with cerebral palsy! Nice job mom! And she went to their graduation. Well, the people who raised those young ladies, they are the parents.
By the way, was this simple story irritatingly drawn out? YES!
WHAT!!!???? non-traditional students!!!??? you've got to be kidding. most of them are upper middle class
rich kids - yeah, some are on scholarships; middle class kids without tuition usually need loans, which take
a lifetime to pay off!! There are a few 'different' types of students, but no more than any other college.
as a matter of fact, city and state schools are the non-traditional ones. most of the students at Columbia
are white (sprinkled with many Asians) who take vacations in the summer. They are not like the kids
who have to work at my grocery store, no matter how smart they are or kids who have to work in the
summer or have a job while studying (like i and five other kids did out of over 30 in my class).
non-traditional, my foot!!!!!!!!!! i went there and worked there, and live in the neighborhood!!! non-traditional, jeesh!!!
So their mother had one baby she abandoned and then had another baby with medical issues and gave her away too? That women should've been sterilized. No respect for a woman who couldn't handle birth control enough to stop having babies she didn't want.
If I were to find out I had a secret biological sibling, I'd be sort of mad if they confronted me. I'd have a feeling of like I have to be nice to them, while I could have completely different interests.
How many other viewers bumped ahead in this video? I DID! It took you nearly 8 minutes to tell us what we knew in the first 30 seconds! The story would have been just as good it shortened to three minutes.
Oh isn’t god great!?. Nah, she got abandoned and adopted to find her sister decades later. Honestly I don’t even know if to believe this story.
And if you know anything it is that most stories always have left out parts.
nice story, very nice story.
i have read the comments and it occurred to me that there areli re clearly some people who are faithless. let them believe what they want to believe.
me personally i believe in a higher power, but i do not believe in what the religious text have led everyone to think is true. because according to them "WOMEN CAUSED ALL THE SIN IN THE WORLD" and i find that hard to swallow..
Thanks for sharing. I thought my PC suddenly had a virus....not. Just kiddin'. actually it was my grandson who has down syndrome. Eli came running over to me to tell me ,''Nana, I broke the computer !''
OMG this is the craziest thing I've seen! I know Lizzie and her family! OMG I frequent the bar they own religiously lol wow I'm so glad she was blessed to be able to find and connect with her sister! I wish them many more years of catching up and fun stories to share together!
As long as the story is true & not an out right lie, I don't mind. There r so many of these types of channel's. I can't remember which of the many alike channels are the ones that lie about facts, say well known people are dead when they're not& the worse is when they dont do any research & no fact checks, it's very irritating. I don't like them, but never know which are which.
Look it's hard to blame em, they were lied to by people who were lied to by people who were lied to reaching back to a time where telling someone you didn't believe would get you skinned alive or burned alive or publicly drowned or any of the other wonderfully gruesome ways they devised to punish heathens. Imagine if right now outside your door there were people who would murder you if you didn't believe in the easter bunny and there was nothing you could ever do about it... You would make damn sure that your kids believed in the easter bunny or at least could fake belief.
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