Facebook helps siblings reunite for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, five siblings are reuniting in the Central Valley after being separated more than 40 years ago.
November 24, 2010 7:47:01 PM PST
When a single mother died of cancer in San Francisco more than 40 years ago, her seven children were separated and they've been apart ever since. But this Thanksgiving, five of them will be reunited for the first time.

A picture from April 1969 marks the last time seven siblings from San Francisco were together as a family. Days earlier, their 29-year-old mother Bettie Rae Wilson died of a brain tumor and days later, various social workers and relatives came to their Hunter's Point home and split the family apart.

Four-year-old Yvette Wilson was sent to live with her grandmother in Mississippi.

"The last communication I had with any of them was in 1969," she said.

Nine-year-old Beverly Littlefield and two brothers went to live with their dad and 10-year-old Van Foster was taken by his biological father. No one knows where 4-month-old Antoine ended up.

"He's somewhere. He could be close by," Littlefield said.

Though the oldest four managed to keep in touch over the years, Yvette only found her siblings four months ago through Facebook.

"When I was little, we had a porch and I would lay and look at the stars, and all of them were in the stars and I would say 'they're coming to get me,'" Wilson said.

Now after four decades, five of the seven will reunite for the first time at Beverly's Stockton home for Thanksgiving. It's bittersweet because two brothers won't be there. One, Antonio died from an illness many years ago and despite years of searching public records, the siblings still can't find Antoine, who would be 41 years old.

"We just want to close the story on Antoine Just make sure he's safe and sound and we're able to communicate with him. That's all we're asking for," Foster said.

Still, the family feels blessed that they found one another and can pass on to their children and grandchildren the sense of togetherness they missed out on for so many years.


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