Two friends who first met at a party four years ago received the shock of a lifetime after a random Facebook status update posted by one of them led to the realization that they're closely related.
29-year-old Abbey Donohoe of Iowa was given up for adoption at birth, but unlike many others like her, she never bothered to search for her birth family because she "was loved so much" by her adoptive family.
But Donohoe found her birth family just the same after Paula O'Brien, her friend of four years, posted a short status update on Facebook last week with a link to an article about a Davenport woman who had given her child up for adoption.
"On Sept. 19, 1982, my very first niece was born and given up for adoption," O'Brien wrote. "I know it wasn't an easy decision for my brother to make, but it was the right one for that baby girl."
She went on to encourage her friends to read the enclosed article and "be thankful for the selfless sacrifice of adoption."
Donohoe didn't read the article as O'Brien suggested — she was too busy focusing on the birth date O'Brien used in her caption.
"You sure it wasn't 1983? Because that's my birthday & I was adopted ... crazy!" Donohoe wrote in response.
O'Brien went back to check and, sure enough, she had gotten the year wrong. After some additional back and forth, the two women were able to definitively confirm that they were in fact aunt and niece.
"When I was a little girl, one of my older brothers and his girlfriend gave a baby up for adoption," O'Brien told Davenport's KWQC. "It really had an impact on me and for years, I had hoped to find her."
Despite not knowing where Donohoe was or how to find her, O'Brien's family held out for the possibility that they would be reunited, and made sure to celebrate Donohoe's birthday every year.
"My family had prayed for this for years," O'Brien said. "For 29 years we dreamed of this day and it's here."