Sisters reunite with long-lost mother after 43 years apart

May 22, 2018
10:05 A.M.

It was indeed a special moment for the sisters when they finally met their mother after four decades.


ABC News reported that the family was ecstatic when they met each other at the Kansas City International Airport on Jan 2, 2017.

Starla Medlock was two years old and Jeannie Toomey was a year old when they were separated from their mother, Lani Szarmach.

Tears rolled down their cheeks when they embraced Lani for the first time in 42 years. “Time stood still” for the two sisters and they realized that “there was no longer a void” in their hearts.

The women’s father, John Thompson, was in the Air Force when he met their mother in Thailand. The two got married and went to Columbus, Ohio, in 1973.

It was here that Starla was born. Their parents got divorced shortly after Jeannie was born in England, where their father was stationed.


Their father got full custody of the daughters and he moved them to the United States. It was then that Lani saw her daughters for the last time.

The sisters always wanted to find their mother and said that they asked for a lot of questions to their father, who died six years before their reunion.

The two knew that their mother was from Thailand and that she couldn’t speak English well. She thought that since their father was in the military and they were Americans, they could have a better life in the U.S.

Starla, 43, and Jeannie, 42, searched databases and tried to locate birth records. However, they decided to give up as they had too little information about their mother.


On December 30, 2016, the elder sister received a message on Facebook, which had a photo of a family. She was startled to see herself and her sister as children.

The message was from Mark Szarmach, Lani’s current husband. The two lived in Pueblo, Colorado.

He revealed that his wife was looking for her children too. She would often cry herself to sleep and talked about finding her daughters one day.

That night, she had asked him to help her out. He took down all the information she had, including the last name, Thompson, and the fact that he was in the Air Force. She also knew where the girls were born.

He eventually found the John Thompson's obituary. It took only three hours for him to locate Jeannie on Facebook. He saw something extraordinary on her profile and instantly knew that he had found the girls.


It was a photo of young Starla and Jeannie, the same photo that his wife had carried in her wallet for the last 42 years.

The family video chatted on New Year’s Eve. Mark and Lani flew to Kansas City to meet their long-lost daughters in person.

Lani said she was “really happy” to finally reconnect with her daughters and decided to cook enough food for them in order to make up for all the meals they lost.

The family now believes in miracles and their advice to anyone in a similar situation is not to give up hope.

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