Sisters Separated as Kids Find Each Other in Columbia University Class

Lizzie Valverde and Katy Olson had a lot in common before they met together in a Columbia classroom four years ago: both returned to college in their 30’s and wanted to pursue a career in writing. But on the first day of class, the women discovered another thing in common—they are sisters.

After class, Olson had asked Valverde so many questions Valverde assumed Olson might know her younger sister.

“And, I’m like yeah, I don’t know your sister, I think I am your sister,” Olson said.

“When she said, ‘I am your sister,’ I just froze,” Valverde said.

When they were children their birth mother, Leslie Parker, was a teenager in Florida when different families adopted them. Valverde grew up in New Jersey while Olson was raised in Florida and Iowa.

“We went straight to the bar,” Olson said. “And we just ordered pitchers of beer and just started going back and forth with our lives and biographical details… Like, do you like chicken wings? I like chicken wings? I like chicken wings.”

The budding writers have found a story stranger than fiction, where Olson and Parker will meet for the first time at Valverde’s graduation.

“I’m looking forward to seeing both of them,” Parker said. “I’ve never seen Katy in person.”

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