ELWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — Two friends who recently connected and live just a few blocks away from each other in Elwood now realize they share a much deeper bond. In fact, they were long-lost twins hidden in plain sight.
Their paths have crossed a lot over the years. They went to the same junior high. They were even were in band class together, where Karen Warner played the clarinet and Michael Jackman played the trumpet and drums.
Just when Warner was about to give up searching for the twin she only recently found out she had, Jackman’s name appeared.
“I always felt like there was something missing in my life,” Warner said. “I’m sure he can vouch for that, too, but I didn’t know what. I had no idea it was a twin.”
Both were adopted as infants to separate families. Warner reached out to the state for family records three years ago.
“I saw right at the top of it, ‘Twin,'” she said.
But years of investigating using just a single number, her birthday, yielded nothing.
A few weeks ago, the township trustee suggested she search Madison County voter records for that birth date.
“Nov. 18, 1969,” said Jackman.
“Same,” adds Warner with a laugh.
Of the three names that returned, she had already eliminated two of them.
The third was Jackman, someone she had become friends with on Facebook just three months earlier.
She lives in an apartment complex in Elwood six doors down from where he used to live.
He now lives six blocks away. For months, she’s waved when she drives by and he’s sitting out on the front porch.
She messaged him online to see if he was adopted, what hospital he was born at, and if he knew anything about his birth family.
His answer sealed it.
“He said, ‘All I know is Cunningham.’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I think you’re my twin brother,'” said Warner.
“I’m still in shock,” Jackman said.
A DNA test eliminated all doubts.
These last few weeks have been a whirlwind. They’ve been hanging out daily, meeting each other’s family and realizing they have much in common, including a love of pets and NASCAR. They sometimes finish each other sentences. They both have suffered traumatic brain injuries in the past, too.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Jackman said. “I knew I had a sister, but I didn’t know it was her.”
“I’m happy, I’m so happy that I found him,” Warner said.
So this pair shares a lot of things. They’re school classmates and nearly neighbors. But most important, they are family.
Their message to others who have been adopted: “Do not give up,” Jackman said.
“Yes,” Warner said. “Don’t give up because I almost did and I’m glad I didn’t.”
Warner has already been in contact with three half-siblings that she has found. In fact, she’s meeting one of them for the first time next week.