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June 12, 2014

Two sisters meet face to face for first time in 20 years

OKLAHOMA CITY — As soon as they saw each other, the waterworks began.

Twenty years may have seemed like forever, but the minutes ticked by even slower as Amelia Ankney, of Norman, waited for her sister to walk into sight Wednesday at Will Rogers World Airport.

The nervous excitement built until Amelia’s mom, Julie Ankney, spotted Candida Ackerson and Amelia rushed into the open arms of her older sister.

Amelia and Candida have always known about each other, but it wasn’t until 2012 that they began talking, first by text messaging and then through phone calls. Amelia was born and adopted in Oklahoma City by Julie and Frank Ankney. She graduated from Norman High School and now works at Embassy Suites Norman.

“I watched her be born,” Julie said. “I’ve supported her since her first breath. I knew this day would come.”

Amelia’s adoption was open and her biological mother stayed in touch with the Ankney’s until her fourth birthday. While Amelia was in high school, Julie contacted her biological mom and sister, Candida. Julie said she wanted Amelia to have the opportunity to connect with her biological family whenever she felt ready. Candida told Julie that she wanted to get to know Amelia, and the sisters began texting.

“I finally said, ‘One of you is going to have to step up and call each other,’” Julie said.

The family set up a time that Amelia and Candida could talk on the phone while Julie could be there for emotional support, in case the situation became too overwhelming for Amelia.

“The phone rang and she said, ‘It’s Candida!’ and I said, ‘Well, answer it.’” Julie said. “They giggled and giggled and talked for about two hours.”

Amelia and Candida, now 20 and 24, respectively, have grown close since that first communication.

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