Huge shock and surprised greeted tow best friends Ashley Thomas and Latoya Wimberly, who had lived and shared a lot in common for 17 years upon discovery that they were sisters.
Both ladies has shared physical features and emotional attributes together right from their childhood ranging from having identical gaps in their front teeth, high cheek bones and the same complexion, and also wore the same size in shoes. Moreso, they share same interest in music fashion and even dated same brothers as their bond seemed irresistible and unbreakable.
Reporting to news source CNN, Wimberly said they encountered each other at a birthday party in 2004, when they were young teens in Philadelphia, and they automatically gelled as friends.
Seventeen years later, they’re still close and a day never goes by without them communicating on phone.
We’re “stuck to each other like glue,” Thomas said. For many years, they even referred to themselves as sisters
In February, they learned they are exactly that – biological sisters.
“It was a puzzle, and it’s like all the pieces came together so fast,” Thomas said.
The shocking revelation began in January, when Wimberly, 29, had a party to celebrate her engagement. while
Thomas, 31, shared photos from the party on Facebook. Some of the photos included Wimberly’s father, Kenneth Wimberly. the mother of Thomas saw Kenneth pictures online and recognised him.
“Ashley’s mom’s best friend told her she had no idea my dad was Kenny,” Wimberly said. “She said she and Ashley’s mom used to hang around him back when they were young. When Ashley told me, I knew something didn’t click. So I asked her to send me a picture of her mom’s best friend and showed it to my dad and asked him if he recognized her.”
Kenneth immediately recognized the woman and later, when shown a photo of Thomas’ mother, he recognized her, too. In fact, he said the two had had a brief romantic relationship.
In that moment, he also learned that Thomas did not know who her biological father was, and questioned whether it might be him. An inquest was made to determine the paternity through a DNA test . The results returned positive that Kenneth was Thomas’s father On February 21.
“It was a Friday, and I was at work when I got the call,” Thomas said. “When Kenny told me he was my dad, chills went through my body. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t process it. I couldn’t even talk to them.”
Lots of unanswered questions began to unravel as Thomas, recalled she was age 15 when she knew that the man who had raised her was not her biological father.
she never got to know the identification of her father, from her mother, who died 11 years ago. Also, Thomas’ family never met Wimberly’s family, as such had no idea of Kenneth’s existence.
“Ashley was the only one of my friends who didn’t miss a single family event,” Wimberly said.
“She was extremely close to my entire family on both sides. If my father is taking me out, Ashley’s coming with me. If someone asks who are those girls, he says ‘Those are my girls.’ If she has a car problem or any kind of issue, she always goes to my dad. But somehow our families never met.”
Recounting the whole episode, Thomas described the discovery as “beautiful,” but also “extremely emotional.”
“I have so many questions for my mom and I will never have any of those answers,” Thomas said. “Did she know he was my father?”
“Big Kenny was like my dad,” she added. “He was there for me the whole time and I had no idea.”
Focused on the journey
The three have always been close, and even regarded each other as family. But their new reality is still going to take some getting used to.
“It’s just a weird feeling,” said Thomas, who has two children. “It’s definitely going to take some time. I’m still in disbelief. But I want him to be a part of his grandchildren’s lives.”
Wimberly said she’s happy for their sisterhood to be official, but also feels guilty that Kenneth was more involved in her life than Thomas’.
“I watched Ashley go through so many things growing up and now all I can think about is that her father was here and he could have been there for her just like he was for me,” said Wimberly. “So that’s very emotional.”
Kenneth however insisted he that he’s looking forward to building a stronger relationship with Thomas and “loving her as his daughter.” He also wants to spend more time with his newfound grandchildren.
“I’ve always seen the little ones around and this entire time they were my grandchildren and I didn’t even know,” he said.
Presently the whole family are trying to come to terms with their new family union and reality while relieving the journey made so far.
Gift Joseph Okpakorese.