Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

Family reunion with a twist

August 24, 2006

The feelings leading up to Aug. 3 were the same between all three siblings.

They felt apprehensive and nervous. But most of all, Don Dolina, Linda King and Sharon Busey were ready to see each other.

"It was really my first time, really meeting them," Dolina said.

He had met them before. The first time Dolina saw his half sisters he was 16 years old. It was a short half-day visit when King and Busey came to his home to spend time with their mother.

The Dolinas attend De Soto Baptist Church and have numerous relatives in De Soto.

After the half-day visit, the sisters went back home. Apart from a brief meeting at a reunion, the visit represented the last time the sisters would see their brother for 28 years.

"They've got a different dad, and they moved around. When we tried to find them, they couldn't find us," Dolina said. "We all tried to look for each other for a number of years."

The family remained apart, until Dolina's wife ---- Brenda ---- decided to turn on a computer.

"A couple of months ago, I was kind of messing around on the computer and I kind of googled (Linda's) name and I found out she's a minister and her and her husband are missionaries," Brenda said.

Brenda tried to send a message to King.

"I e-mailed her, but I didn't tell my husband about it because you don't know how people will react," Brenda said. "She e-mailed me back."

Brenda's message came from out of the blue, King said.

"It was kind of a mixed thing. It just kind of threw you for a little loop there, but what can you say? It's been 28, 30 years," King said. "It's a strange feeling, but I e-mailed her right away."

When Dolina found out what his wife had done he was extremely happy, he said.

"A part of my life was finally coming together," Dolina said.

Following the first message, the three siblings began talking.

Dolina learned about King's travels to Africa and the Philippines as a missionary with her husband. He learned Busey's children and life has a homemaker. He found out Busey lives only 30 minutes away from King's home in Maryland.

As they got to know each other again, the next step seemed logical. The time had come to reunite.

After months of planning, Dolina found himself in a limousine en route to Kansas City International Airport where his sisters were due to arrive.

"On the way up there when I was going to pick them up at the airport, I was so nervous," Dolina said.

His nervousness grew as he approached the gate.

"I was happy, but my stomach had knots in it," Dolina said.

Brenda noticed the sisters first, Dolina said.

"I knew who she was from her picture on the Internet," Brenda said.

From the airport, the group left for the Radisson Hotel in Lenexa, where Dolina works.

"They took care of the room, and we had dinner," Dolina said.

The family continued to catch up on each other's lives during dinner.

"We were just discussing our families. We were talking about husbands and that kind of thing," King said.

In all, Dolina's sisters stayed with him for five days. Their visit included time with their mother ---- whom they also hadn't seen in 28 years.

"It went very well," Busey said.

Like King, Busey shared apprehension about meeting so many new people at once but found things went easier with the support of her family back home, Busey said.

"I really appreciate their support in all this," Busey said.

With the weekend passed, the siblings agreed they will try to meet again sometime in the near future.

"I was really happy about it, I was excited and nervous, and I've been wanting to see my sisters for a long time," Dolina said.

Their next meeting could be facilitated by what originally brought them together again.

"With the Internet, you can find anybody nowadays," Brenda Dolina said.

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