KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Tonganoxie brother and sister had a tearful reunion on Tuesday, 70 years in the making. They met their long-lost older sister, the daughter of a German woman and their American serviceman father who was stationed in Germany in World War II.
Linda Stevens tried to find her father for years, but she learned he died in 1987. But she did find out he had other children, and this March, she finally tracked down her little brother and sister, Jon and Barbara Hopkins.
Flowers in hand, the Hopkins siblings waited for Stevens to get off her flight from San Francisco at the Kansas City International Airport.
To understand the excitement behind the meeting in Kansas City, you have to take it all the way back to Germany in the late 1940s. Richard Hopkins was in the military, serving overseas when he met Edith. They fell madly in love, got engaged and had a baby girl named Linda.
But when Richard was sent back to the states, Edith and Linda couldn't go back with him for legal reasons. The couple lost track of each other, and Richard eventually started a new family.
He never forgot the baby girl he had to leave behind.
"He told us to do what we could do to find her," Jon Hopkins said. "And I've been searching basically my whole life to find her. I thought she was still in Germany."
But Linda was much closer. Her mother married another U.S. serviceman, and Stevens ended up in California. Little did she know, at one point, the siblings she was also looking for lived hours away in the same state.
After years of searching, she found and messaged her brother Jon on Facebook, and the single message led up the moment they'd all dreamed about for years.
"It's kind of a really special, special moment," Stevens said. "I waited an hour and said, 'God if this is meant to be, let it be.' And an hour later he texted me."
The man responsible for these three siblings never saw his first baby girl after he left Germany, but his kids said he would be ecstatic to see them all together.
But if he were here today and saw them embracing...
"He would say his life is complete," Hopkins said.