High School Sweethearts Finally Wed After Spending 63 Years Apart

As 80-year-old Bob Harvey stood at the alter waiting for his bride, Annette Callahan, to walk down the aisle, he couldn’t stop smiling. She looked just as beautiful as the first day he laid his eyes on her during study hall in 1955. It had been a long time coming, 63 years to be exact, but Bob was finally marrying his high school sweetheart.

Annette and Bob at their high school prom. / Annette and Bob at the alter 63 years later
Source: Pinterest / YouTube

But what happened all those years ago? But most importantly, why did it take this couple 63 years to finally tie the knot? To answer those questions and many more you might have, we’ll have to take you back to the day when Annette and Bob first broke up all those years ago.

This is an incredible true story about long lost love…

The Hardest Goodbye

The year was 1956, and high school students Annette and Bob were smitten with each other. But just as their romance started to take off, Annette left Woodbridge, Virginia, to spend the summer with her relativities in Kentucky. As Annette drove away in a 1955 tan Pontiac, complete with a Marine Corps sticker, she waved goodbye to a teary-eyed Bob.

Annette Adkins and Bob Harvey dancing at prom
Source: Pinterest

The couple had just slow danced together at their junior high school prom, and Bob couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky he was to have such a beautiful girl like Annette in his arms. He was completely and utterly in love. But little did Bob know that he would have to wait another 63 years to call her his again.

I’ll Be Seeing You

For Bob, a summer apart seemed like an eternity. So, he did what any young man at the time would have done and sold his hunting rifle, so he’d have money to call Annette while she was away. But after a month and only a few conversations, Bob ran out of money, putting an end to their long-distance phone calls.

Bob’s yearbook photograph
Source: Pinterest

Devastated, Bob didn’t have any other choice but to wait until the love of his life came back from her family. He tried to keep himself busy, but nothing distracted him from thinking about Annette. He couldn’t wait to hold her in his arms again. But when Annette finally returned, it was not the happy reunion he was waiting for.

Love at First Sight

Bob met Annette at the start of their junior year in high school. Annette had just moved to Virginia from Kentucky to live with her cousins. There wasn’t much to do in Kentucky, especially for high school teenagers. Annette was excited to finally have a social life like any other American teenage girl her age. At school, everyone took notice of the new girl, especially Bob.

Annette’s yearbook photo
Source: Pinterest

They shared a study hall together, and from the minute she walked in on the first day of school, Bob couldn’t take his eyes off her. He thought that Annette had the most stunning face and beautiful red hair. From that moment on, Bob knew he wanted to be with her. He just didn’t know-how.

A Secret Admirer

During their first week of school, Annette noticed that Bob kept writing and passing notes to another girl in class, Shirley Pemberton. The two girls rode the bus together, so on the way home from school that day, Annette asked Shirley if she had a crush on Bob.

Annette Adkins and Bob Harvey
Source: Pinterest

Although Bob and Annette had yet to speak, she still had the feeling that he had eyes for her. She didn’t understand why he was sending notes to another girl. Maybe Bob and Shirley have a history together? Maybe he’s just a ladies’ man and has eyes for every other girl in school? But Shirley smiled at the question. She explained that Bob was writing her notes to know more about Annette.

It’s Only Make Believe

Annette was ecstatic. Bob was a handsome football player, and she definitely had a crush on him. But when Bob asked her out on a date to their high school’s dance, Annette said no. Annette grew up in a small southern town and had never gone to a school dance before. She was really shy about the fact that she didn’t know how to dance, and she didn’t want to embarrass herself in front of her new crush.

Photographs of Annette Adkins and Bob Harvey when they were younger witting on the couch ready for a dance
Source: Pinterest

So instead, Annette went to the dance with the town’s paperboy. He wasn’t as compelling or handsome as Bob, but Annette figured she could learn how to dance with him. Eventually, she thought, Annette would be able to show Bob her moves if he decided to ask her out again.

Come Fly with Me

But when Annette and her date arrived at the school dance, Bob was standing at the entrance collecting tickets. Annette was embarrassed but smiled at Bob while she walked inside. Then out of nowhere, Annette saw Bob walking towards her. Even though she was there with a different boy, Bob asked her to dance anyways. She said yes with confidence, but on the inside, she was trembling.

Annette Adkins and Bob Harvey today
Source: FoxNews

Annette was so nervous that she’d embarrass herself in front of Bob. All she wanted was for him to like her, and she wasn’t confident in her dancing skills. But luckily for Annette, Bob put her worries at ease right away. The two danced together the entire night, and Bob knew that he was in love.

A Teenager in Love

But after that night, Annette and Bob were forced to spend the summer apart, putting a hold on their budding romance. After spending a few weeks with her family in Kentucky, Annette traveled down south to Miami Beach to be with her aunt and uncle. That’s where she met John Callahan. The two spent the remaining of the summer together and fell in love, changing the course of her and Bob’s life forever.

Annette Adkins and Bob Harvey today
Source: FoxNews

When Annette came back from her summer vacation in Kentucky and Miami, she was not as excited to see Bob as he was to see her. Bob walked up to Annette with outstretched arms, but Annette quickly shut him down. Not wanting to lead him on, Annette told Bob that she was dating someone else.

A Southern Gentleman

Bob was devastated. He had spent his whole summer thinking of Annette. Memories of their time together at the dance ran through his mind like a movie reel. He was so excited to make up for lost time, but the news that Annette was in a relationship with another man felt like a dagger through his heart. But even though Bob was still head over heels in love with Annette, he was still a southern gentleman.

Annette Adkins and Bob Harvey today
Source: Twitter

He respected her decision and kept his distance their entire senior year. But just as Bob was down on his luck, another new girl started at their high school. Her name was Diane Swift, and she had long red hair and tiny freckles all over her face. And just like before, Bob asked the new girl to prom.

A Life Well Lived

Bob and Annette parted ways after the school year ended, but their lives seemed to mirror one another. Annette went on to marry John five years after meeting him. Because of John’s career in computers, the couple moved around a lot. Annette became a nurse and worked at hospitals all around the country. The couple lived in Tennessee and Oregon before eventually settling in Ohio. Annette eventually gave birth to four children: two sons and two daughters.

Bob holding the little box filled with wedding rings for Annette
Source: Twitter

After Bob asked Diane to the prom, the two dated and got married two years later. The couple stayed in Virginia, and Diane gave birth to two children: a son and a daughter. Bob found work as a parks police officer before retiring to become a middle school teacher. It seemed that the former couple were happy living separate lives…

A Second Chance?

For the next six decades, both Annette and Bob seemed happy and lived decent, traditional married-couple lives. Although Annette had fun with Bob all those years ago, their short fling seemed to be in the past. But then everything started to unravel. John was diagnosed with vascular dementia and passed away in 2015. Then, two years later, Diane was diagnosed with cancer and sadly passed away.

Annette and Bob next to a photograph of Annette’s high school picture
Source: Twitter

Now, both Annette and Bob were widows. Although both Bob and Annette grieved their spouses separately, they both thought about one another. Bob was happily married for 60 years, but he secretly carried Annette’s high school picture in his wallet everywhere he went. He always had a soft spot in his heart for his first love.

A Picture is a Thousand Words

Then in 2018, Annette’s cousin’s son, Michael Candler, made a discovery that was sure to put a smile on Annette’s face. Michael had been going through his family’s old storage boxes and found forgotten camera film rolls. To his surprise, the rolls were filled with old shots of Annette and Bob before their junior prom night.

The table at Bob and Annette’s wedding with old photographs of them and a place for cards to go
Source: Pinterest

In the photograph, Annette was wearing a cream lace dress with a silver barrette in her red hair. Her hand was on Bob’s knee as she seemed to be laughing at something he said. Bob looked dapper with his tan suit, white shirt, and red plaid bowtie. Michael thought that Annette would appreciate looking at these old photographs, so he made plans to visit Annette in Ohio.

A Past Remembered

When Michael arrived with the old photographs, Annette was speechless. She had forgotten about those pictures and was very pleased that Michael had brought them over to her. Memories of Bob flooded her thoughts, and almost immediately, she couldn’t think of anything else but him. She thought about the fun times the two shared and wondered where Bob is now. Did he ever get married? Did he have any kids? Where was he living now? But most importantly, was he still alive?

Annette and Bob
Source: Flickr

Annette decided that she was going to look for Bob, but when a Facebook search came up empty, Annette didn’t know where else to look. She wasn’t in contact with anyone that would have known Bob. Soon, Annette began to lose hope.

Heavy on the Mind

A few months after Michael brought Annette her prom photographs, Bob was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. As he started his cancer treatments, it began to dawn on him that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his days here on earth alone. Bob started to think about who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but the only person he could think of was Annette.

Annette and Bob
Photo by Andrew Spear / New York Times

“The lady who had been gentle on my mind for six decades became heavy, heavy, heavy,” Bob told reporters from the New York Times. By 2019, Bob couldn’t take it anymore. He had to find Annette. So, he typed her name into Google, and to his surprise, John’s 2015 obituary popped up. This was a start.

The Waiting Game

But as soon as Bob saw John’s obituary, his heart sank. Yes, he felt sorry for her that her husband had passed away, but he was scared that she already remarried. After all, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid his eyes on, and he was worried that someone else swept her up again. Bob was more determined than ever. He was not going to let Annette slip away from him this time.

Annette and Bob
Source: Pinterest

Like a true gentleman, Bob sent a donation to the care center that had taken care of John during his last days. He then looked up John’s funeral information, which led him to the church that held John’s funeral, which finally led him to Annette’s address.

The Power of Love

Bob then found a condolences card and sent it to Annette with his name, phone number, and address and signed the card: “Thinking of you.” He then drove to the post office and put his letter in the mail. At this point, all Bob could do was wait. Maybe she was already remarried and didn’t want to hear from him. If that was the case, then Bob really did all he could do.

Bob and Annette’s hands with their wedding rings on them
Photo by Andrew Spear / New York Times

For eight whole days, Bob held his breath. But then on a warm summer evening on July 26, his phone rang. He picked up, and it was Annette. “I’ve been looking for you and had given up ever hearing from you,” Annette remembers saying. “Can you come to Ohio?”

A Long Time Coming

Bob told Annette that if he drove straight to Ohio, he could make it there by that Sunday. And that’s exactly what he did. Bob got up at five in the morning and drove 12 hours (and over 500 miles!) to Ohio, only stopping for gas. He was so excited that by the time he got to Annette’s house, he couldn’t contain himself.

Bob and Annette kissing at the Alter
Photo by Andrew Spear / New York Times

He walked up her driveway, with a bouquet of pink and white carnations, and knocked on the door. When she opened the door, she was just as beautiful as the first day Bob laid eyes on her all those years ago. He handed her the flowers, cupped her face in his hands, and kissed her for the first time in 63 years.

You Make Me Feel So Young

Bob and Annette spent a week together in Ohio. On their last day together, Bob asked Annette if she would dance with him in the kitchen. Bob commented that Annette and John probably danced together all of the time, but Annette shook her head. She told Bob that John didn’t dance and that the couple had never danced together. The last person she danced with was with Bob at their junior prom.

Bob and Annette dancing
Photo by Andrew Spear / New York Times

Bob then put on Johnny Mathis’s “Chances Are” and started slow dancing with Annette around the kitchen. After 63 years, Annette and Bob were finally together again. But at 80 years old and his bone marrow cancer worsening, Bob needed to make a decision. He knew he wanted to marry Annette, but first, he had to get her children’s approval.

Magic of Moonlight

Annette’s kids were a little hesitant at first. They had just lost their dad a few years back and weren’t sure how they felt about Bob. But after seeing how happy Bob made their mom, they gave their blessings and were excited to welcome him into the family. Now with her kids’ approval, Bob wasted no time and went to pick out a ring.

Bob and Annette’s family toasting at their wedding
Photo by Andrew Spear / New York Times

He went to his former wife’s favorite jewelry store and picked out a vintage 1950s diamond ring. He returned to Ohio, and during a picnic at Alum Creek State Park Beach, Bob proposed. After decades, Bob could (almost) finally call Annette his. But first, there was a long-overdue wedding to plan…

A Long Time Coming

After six long decades, the couple finally got married on October 19, 2019. The ceremony was a little more down to earth than your traditional wedding. Instead of a white dress, Annette wore plum-colored slacks and a purple cardigan with a white flower boutonniere. Bob wore a cream sportscoat complete with pink carnations and penny loafers, a nod to their high school years.

The cake from Bob and Annette’s wedding which says ‘just married’ on it
Photo by Andrew Spear / New York Times

Overcome with emotion, Bob choked up twice during the ceremony, while Annette was more composed. After the ceremony, Bob and Annette met their guests at the Nutcracker, a 1950s-themed restaurant, which was a perfect place for the couple to celebrate. The couple also told their grandkids to bring CD players so Bob could dance with his wife to Johnny Mathis.

The Next Chapter

Because of his cancer treatments, Bob is forced to spend most of his time in Virginia, but since the proposal, he spends ten days a month in Ohio with Annette. But the couple plans on changing that soon. Bob is selling the house in Virginia and will be moving in with Annette in a few months. As for their recent nuptials, neither Bob nor Annette could be happier.

Bob and Annette dancing at their reception
Source: Flickr

Annette said that Bob makes her feel whole again. She felt very lonely after John passed away and feels like Bob gave her purpose again. Bob said that Annette and the wedding has made him feel like a teenager again. “I’m giddy as can be… My heart is bursting,” Bob told USA today. “We’re looking forward to a very long-lasting friendship.”

Annette and Bob weren’t the only high school sweethearts to reconnect years after breaking up. When Dennis Vinar and Keren Lehmann gave up their baby for adoption, they thought their relationship was over. But after spending years apart, the two found their way back home…

Do you remember the passion you had when you fell in love in high school? Teenagers feel love so strongly and deeply. Unfortunately, they usually break up. But many high school relationships beat the odds. Well, this high-school romance played out a little differently. When Karen got pregnant in high school, her boyfriend Dennis wanted to make their family work. Unfortunately, the circumstances forced them to give their baby up for adoption.

Dennis Vinar and Karen Lehmann
Source: Facebook

After the difficulty of giving up their daughter, Dennis and Karen separated. Despite their love for each other, life got in the way. The funny thing about life is that it can’t stop fate. Everything works out the way it’s supposed to in the end. Decades after giving up their child, and leading separate lives, Karen and Dennis found their way back to each other. It didn’t take them long to discover what happened to their daughter.

A Strange Love Story

Love can be found in all sorts of places all around the world, especially if you’re a teenager filled with raging hormones. When you are young and less guarded, it’s easier to fall in love fast and hard. Well, things weren’t much different back in 1958. In every generation, era, or decade, young teens enjoy falling head of over heels.

Dennis Vinar and Karen Lehmann
Source: Pinterest

Most of the time, high school relationships don’t last, but the memories last forever. It takes you back to a simpler time of innocent love. Dennis Vinar and Karen Lehmann were high school sweethearts from Browntown, Minnesota. Karen and Dennis were very different from one another but still fell in love with each other. You know what they say: opposites attract.

He Was a Football Star

Back in high school, Dennis was a classic American teenager with his life ahead of him. As the star of his football team, he had big dreams to follow. Although a childhood illness held him back a few years, Dennis was determined to work hard until he reaches his goals. His dad worked in St. Paul as a Buick salesman, and Dennis would often help him out.

Dennis Vinar
Source: Pinterest

Growing up, Dennis was usually preoccupied with sports. By the time he started high school, he had grown up into a handsome man. As an attractive young teen, many of the ladies in his class developed a little crush on Dennis. Plus, he was a football star, which only added to his appeal.

She Was Sweet and Quiet

Karen, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. She was more introverted, shy, and quiet. She was living in a small town where nothing was ever really going on. Instead of trying to be popular, Karen directed all her focus on her education. The one thing these two did have in common was their incredible work ethic.

Karen Lehmann
Source: YouTube

Both Karen and Dennis were motivated to work hard for what they wanted, despite wanting different things. While Dennis put all his efforts in sports, Karen invested her time playing and practicing the clarinet. In fact, she got so good that she was a star player in a band before even starting college. Well, it didn’t take for these two talented stars to fall in love.

True Love

Okay, this is where things start to get interesting. The first time they met in 1958, Karen was 13. At the time, Dennis was 15, and he was really attracted to Karen. At first, he tried not to pay attention to it. When 1960 came along, the two of them have already reached their dreams. Karen was a wonderful musician, and Dennis was known as a star football player.

Young couple walking in love
Photo by Rock and Wasp / Shutterstock

When Dennis asked Karen if he could take her to prom, things started moving faster. She said yes, and the night was magical, and they seemed perfect together! During an interview about the story, Karen said, “all the girls were jealous.” Their love story seems like it came out of a high school rom-com.

Getting Serious

Even though the two couldn’t be more different, Dennis and Karen couldn’t get enough of each other. Sometimes, Dennis would get to football practice late because he would walk his girlfriend home from school. Karen was unique and really enjoyed the attention she was getting from the star of her school’s football team.

A couple mid proposal in front of a sunset
Source: Pinterest

They fell head-over-heels and fast. When you feel such a strong, passionate, and intimate connection with someone at such a young age, you think it will last forever. It was no different for these two. Dennis was so committed to Karen that he planned to start a life and build a home with her. Unfortunately, there was something that got in the way.

A Bump in the Road

Sadly, their lives didn’t go as planned. They came across a difficult obstacle that nobody saw coming. When she was just 15 years old, Karen found out she was pregnant, and obviously, the father was Dennis. Neither of them were prepared for this news and didn’t know what to do. They were way too young to become parents.

Karen’s parents
Source: Facebook

Not wanting his girlfriend to feel abandoned or alone, Dennis decided to propose. As you can imagine, Karen’s parents weren’t happy about their daughter getting married at such a young age. Since she wasn’t even 18, her parents had the final decision about this marriage. Since they were clearly against it, they sent Karen to live in a maternity home.

Hiding Away

Before the 1970s, Maternity homes were a thing, but now there are very few that are still around. These facilities were intended to help mothers with financial and medical care. Since Karen was pregnant at the time, the maternity home was focusing on adoption. This was back in the day when having an illegitimate child was considered taboo in that society.

Photograph of a young mother in her back yard holding a baby
Source: Pinterest

Because of the social norms, everyone involved felt like it was mandatory to keep this pregnancy a secret. The maternity homes of the created negative stereotypes which gives modern maternity homes a bad reputation. Thankfully, today’s maternity homes are completely different from the ones in the 1960s. Nowadays, they are geared towards the best interest of the woman and not what society thinks.

Baby Denise

Karen felt heartbroken but was forced to listen to her parents and accept their decision. Naturally, this messy situation meant that it was the end for the young couple. Karen ultimately gave birth at the maternity home. She had a girl that she named Denise after her father, Dennis. Soon after she was born, Denise was given up for adoption.

The baby
Source: Pinterest

Dennis and Karen were both devastated by their breakup and the whole outcome of the situation. Even though her parents were clearly against Karen’s relationship with Dennis, she still managed to get in touch with him. He ended up proposing again. This was an adorable gesture, but unfortunately, nothing changed. Her parents were still against the marriage and wouldn’t allow it.

Long Distance

Karen’s parents were clear about how they felt about their daughter’s relationship. However, this wasn’t the only thing standing in the way. Denis got recruited into the army (which Karen’s parents were probably happy about), and Karen started studying at The University of Minnesota. They knew that they would be separated for a long time and worried that distance would ruin their relationship.

Denis, a military soldier
Source: Facebook

Dennis remained just as committed as he always was during challenging times. He even made sure to send his girlfriend letters so that she would know he’s thinking about her. Sadly, Karen’s parents hid the letters from her, so she never got the opportunity to write back. Eventually, Karen thought that Dennis moved on, and their relationship slowly fizzled.

Moving On

After everything they have been through together, Dennis and Karen were both heartbroken. However, it was time for them to move on with their lives. Dennis explained, “I went through hell to be with her, but I couldn’t. We couldn’t be together.” As time went by, they went on their separate ways and lived their separate lives.

Karen at graduation
Source: Facebook

Karen earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design when she graduated from college and even got married. She had children and started her own family. Dennis finished his military service and also started his life. He married a different woman, and they have two children together. 50 years went by, and the high school lovers didn’t communicate ever again. They were both focused on their own lives and families.

Years Later

As decades went by, the relationship these two had as teenagers became nothing but a memory. They say that time heals all wounds, and they both moved on. However, fate stepped in from the past and made its way to the present. Somehow, Karen and Dennis were once again in the same place at the same time.

Closeup black and white photo of hands clinking glasses at the restaurant
Photo by kryzhov / Shutterstock

In October 2014, Dennis went to a dinner party where he was playing parlor games with a few friends. One of his friends then asked him, “If your doctor gave you 60 days to live, who would you want to take out to dinner and talk to?” Dennis didn’t hesitate, and his immediate response was Karen Lehmann. He got in touch with her just a few days later.

Modern Technology

At this point, Dennis and his wife were separated. Nothing was stopping him from contacting the girl who stayed in his memory for all these years. Finally, one of his friends convinced him to open a LinkedIn account with the hopes of finding Karen. With technology and social media on the rise, Dennis was certain that he would find her.

The Linkedin logo
Source: Linkedin

After opening the account, Dennis started exploring the website and learning all the features. At first, he looked for some of his past co-workers to freshen up his memory. He started searching people he knew, and after finding them, he decided to make a bold move. His curiosity made him type Karen Lehman in the search bar.

Finding Her!

Dennis wasn’t even sure if she had a LinkedIn account, but he was hoping she would. After searching her name, her picture popped up as the third profile. As he was looking through her page and seeing what she’s been up to, he noticed that she was working in home design and living in Monroe, Washington. He was extremely happy to see that Karen was fulfilling her dreams.

Karen Lehmanns profile on Linkedin
Source: Linkedin

Dennis admitted that even while he was married, Karen never truly left his mind or his heart. He decided to call the girl he fell in love with as a teenager. The receptionist answered the phone and Dennis said, “Tell her an old friend from 50 years ago called. My name is Denny.” As soon as Karen got his message, she called back right away.

Talking Again

At first, Karen could barely believe she was actually talking to Dennis after all this time. However, there was a time in her life where he was the most important thing to her, so she was more than happy to speak with him and see how he is doing. She knew he was the love of her life back then, but she thought she had lost him forever.

An old house phone
Source: Twitter

They found their way back to each other, and this time nothing could stop them. Coincidentally, Karen was single too, and the high school sweethearts started talking through email and on the phone once in a while. After spending two months talking, they decided it would be amazing to see each other in person. Maybe see if that young love and passion was still there.

Then Meeting Again

Dennis did not hesitate and decided to book a flight to Washington. He was in disbelief. It still didn’t hit him that he was on the way to meet his first love once again. Karen was just as excited to see Denis. It has been over 50 years since they were together last. They were just kids back then. She wondered if feelings would come back if they were to see each other again.

Denis and Karen
Source: Facebook

For Dennis, the flight seemed like it lasted forever. Finally, on January 19th, 2015, Dennis landed in Washington. He was excited, nervous, and ready to see Karen after all these years. He also wondered if this reunion could lead to something more. Their love was so real back then, and if it were up to them, they would have probably gotten married.

Still In Love

Finally, this highly anticipated reunion happened. Dennis and Karen saw each other once again. They both suspected that their old love was still there, but once they looked at each other, they immediately felt it. They were still connected by the happy memories they shared. Could this be a sign that they were meant to be together? All they knew was that they didn’t want to be apart again.

Denis and Karen
Source: Facebook

Shockingly, just two days after meeting again, they got married. They already spent 50 years apart, and they didn’t want to waste another moment. There really was no reason to prolong it. Dennis later described the wedding, “It was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.” The couple packed their stuff and went back to Minnesota.

The Baby From Long Ago

The newlyweds were living out their teenage dream and couldn’t be happier. However, there was one thing that they couldn’t forget about. There was someone who should have been part of their family. Many years ago, they created a child together that they were forced to put up for adoption. Karen and Dennis both wanted to meet their daughter, but they weren’t sure if it would be the right decision.

A baby’s hand holding his mother's hand
Source: Pinterest

They didn’t know if contacting her right now would disrupt her life. However, Dennis truly believed in his heart that their daughter would love to meet her biological parents. Karen, on the other hand, was worried that this would be a huge shock for their daughter, and it would cause a huge change in her life.

Making a Choice

Dennis said to Karen, “I found you now, and my life will be complete if we find our daughter.” Karen was so touched by what Dennis said, and she knew it was time for them to find their child. She always loved him and truly wanted to see him happy. They started off looking up the adoption agency that Karen’s parents contacted back in the 60s.

Denis and Karen on the couch during an interview
Source: Facebook

They asked the agency to please help them find their child. It’s been decades, so it took a while to get all the documentation together, but they didn’t stop. Finally, they did it! After 50 years, the couple managed to locate their daughter. They wondered what she looked like, what her interests were, but most importantly, they just hoped she was happy.

Their Long Lost Child

When her baby was born, Karen decided to name her Denise. But her real name is Jean Voxland. Jean is a 56-year old woman at this point. She had a family of her own and was happily married with three wonderful children. She was happy and seemed to have her life together. Jean wasn’t very far away, living in Kenyon, Minnesota.

Jean Voxland
Source: Facebook

Jean got a letter saying that a family member wanted to reconnect, but she thought it was a scam. If her husband didn’t want to look further into it, she probably would have thrown the letter away. Once he found out the letter was, in fact, from the adoption agency, Jean was shocked. She couldn’t believe that her biological parents were looking for her.

Will She Understand?

Jean finally made the decision to call the adoption agency and schedule a meeting. At one point in her life, Jean did think about looking for her biological parents, but she never went through with it. What she didn’t expect was that they would be looking for her. I mean, they must have given her up for a reason.

The Center for changing lives Lutheran social service
Source: Yelp

Karen and Dennis were both thrilled that their daughter agreed to meet with them. Dennis didn’t see his child since the day she was born. Finally, after all this time, they were about to reunite. Since Jean was now a mother herself, Dennis and Karen hoped she understands the difficult decision they had to make in the 60s. It was a sensitive situation, but they wanted to explain it.

A Family Reunion

In May 2016, a meeting was set up in the Lutheran Social Services offices in Saint Paul, Minnesota. There was a caseworker there who was assigned to accompany the families and supervise their reunion. Karen and Dennis were excited but super nervous about meeting their daughter. It’s been 56 years since they saw her.

Denis, Karen, and Jean on the couch being interviewed
Source: Facebook

However, once the three of them were all together, they knew that they had nothing to worry about. For all three, this reunion was extremely emotional. Karen and Dennis finally felt like their life was complete. They couldn’t believe that they found each other and now they found their daughter! Now that the family is reunited, it was the beginning of a new chapter.

Back Together

Jean couldn’t put the feeling and emotions she had once she met her biological parents. She went through a lot in her life. She has many past and distant memories living as an adopted child. To make things sadder, she was dealing with the recent death of her adoptive mother. The reunion happened at a good time, and the three kept getting close and closer.

Denis, Karen, and Jean in front of the trees in the fall
Source: Facebook

Now, they meet up at least once a week. In an interview, Jean said, “I feel like there’s been divine intervention here. For us to get together the way we did, everybody had to be in the place at the right time.” She forgives them and understands. She is just happy that she had the opportunity to make up for the lost time.

Merging Families

Now that Dennis and Karen finally got together, they formed a massive family. This included Dennis’s three children, Karen’s son, Jean, her husband, and their three children. Most of the time, these Brady Brunch situations cause arguments and family feuds. It happens often and can even lead to bigger issues. Well, things were different for this cheerful family.

Denis and Karen with Jean and her husband
Source: Facebook

Reunited and being one big happy family wasn’t enough for them. They decided to start a business together and opened a company in the furniture and lighting industry. The company is called Vinar Companies, and they are all working there together. I guess mixing family and business doesn’t always cause problems. At least that was the case for this merged family.

Writing Her Feelings

After meeting her parents, Jean was happy but overwhelmed with so many emotions. I mean, this reunion was a shock to everybody. To help her cope with her feelings, Jean decided to let everything out on paper. She hoped that maybe writing it down with help her wrap her head around the situation. As she learned more about her family, she kept writing.

A handwriting with a pen
Source: Pinterest

With time, her feelings were turning into a story. The friends of everyone involved were shocked by this unbelievable story. Andrew, Jean’s husband, has been supportive of Jean throughout this entire situation. He was so inspired by the wonderful story his wife wrote that he came up with the idea to share it with the world and get it published.

Sharing Their Story

After reading his wife’s heartfelt story, he knew that it would touch other people. He told Jean his idea, and she knew that she did have a pretty remarkable story. That’s when she decided to take all her diaries and turn them into a book. Jean convinced Karen and Dennis to be a part of her project and tell the stories from their perspective.

Photograph of their book cover
Source: Amazon

They spoke from their heart as they explained how heartbreaking it was to be torn apart. They also expressed how incredible it was when they all managed to reunite, even though it’s been decades. It was a unique and heartwarming story. The book is called “How Did You Find Me… After All These Years: A Family Memoir.”

Love and Fame

Andrew’s prediction was right. The book was published and became a huge success. The story of Dennis and Karen took the world by storm. The couple went on a book tour all around the United States, where they can tell their story in libraries and bookstores all over America. People were stunned to read a story with so much feeling and emotion.

Karen, Denis, Jean, and her husband sitting at a booth in a restaurant
Source: Facebook

Back when Karen and Dennis were high school kids, they never thought their life would turn out this way. They both found their way back to each other, and the outcome was truly shocking. Jean was also surprised by the sudden fame she got from the book. She said: “It’s a good story, and it is a true story.”

A Story for the Grandchildren

As you can imagine, today, this big family is even closer. They make sure to meet up for dinner each week. They still have to take a step back every once in a while to wrap their head around what their lives have become. Not only do they have an incredible story to tell, but they can also enjoy the fame from the success of their book.

Denis, Karen, Jean, and her husband on vacation
Source: Facebook

The family keeps getting bigger. In a recent interview, Karen confirmed, “We now have five children, nine grandchildren. And five great-grandchildren.” The entire family is grateful for their opportunity to share their story, and are excited to keep telling the tale for generations to come as the family continues to grow.