EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) — A young brother and sister, separated during childhood in the Oklahoma foster care system, spent more than 40 years trying to find one other again.
Their younger years started with extreme trauma, as big brother Kitt Wakeley, 5, and little sister Tasha, 4, were removed from their home.
“Even at that young age, we had to have each other to get through it,” Wakeley said. “It was haunting, horrific times.”
Together, they survived unspeakable abuse. They went from foster home to foster home, and their only stability was having each other.
“We relied on each other during those times,” Wakeley said.
Until, one day, a foster care representative knocked on their door.
“I just remember they packed her stuff in a grocery bag, you know the typical paper bag, and I just remember her crying, me crying, they took her out the door. So, to this day, I hate the rustling paper sack,” Wakeley said, his face cringing.
Kitt and Tasha eventually found adoptive homes, their last names changed and life went on – alone, beginning their 40-year search.
“On a regular basis, she was on my mind, where’s she at, what’s she doing?” said Wakeley.
Wakeley turned to music, leading him to a very successful career as a composer, producer and song writer.
He can play just about any instrument, and when you put it all together, Wakeley calls it “orchestral rock.” It led him to number one on the Billboard charts.
“Oh, that was a shock!” Wakeley said, laughing.
He’s got too many awards to mention, but his greatest treasure is his wife, Melissa, who pushed him to follow his music dreams. He makes sure everyone at his concerts knows how much she’s valued, and proudly points out Melissa to the crowd.
While most men might call their spouse a “10,” Kitt calls Melissa his “Seven.”
“I call her Seven, because in the Bible, as we’re taught, the number seven is the number of perfection,” Wakeley said as Melissa smiled next to him.
But as perfect as life looked on the outside, there was still a 40-year hole in Wakeley’s heart.
“Not having your sister that you’ve looked for for so long, there is a void, there is this loose end in life,” he said.
Then, out of the blue, Wakeley received a message on Facebook from a woman named Tasha Henderson.
“When you get this message, ‘I’m your sister,’ that was quite the shock…I didn’t believe her.”
That’s because Wakeley had forgotten one very important detail about his half-sister.
“You’re African American and I’m white, so we probably should start there on whether you’re telling me the truth or not. And she said, ‘No, I’m biracial.’ So, I would ask her questions and she knew the answers to the questions that no one else did, there was no DNA test necessary, there was no background check necessary, there was no way anyone else would know the details but my sister.”
Tasha found Kitt through Ancestry.com, and once she saw the smile that she’d held onto for more than four decades, she just knew.
“I looked him up on Facebook and I knew it was my brother,” Tasha Henderson said, smiling.
The long-lost brother and sister met up at a local restaurant for their reunion.
“I could’t hug her enough,” Wakeley said.
“Oh, I just almost melted when I touched him. And I couldn’t stop smiling, my jaws were literally just sore, just tired. I couldn’t stop smiling. When I found out where he lived, and we were like, ‘Wait a minute, that’s barely a mile apart,'” Henderson said.
Both Kitt and Tasha were shocked to find out they had lived just one mile apart for years.
“There’s no way we haven’t been at the same grocery store, the same gas station, the same pharmacy, you name it. We’ve been in the same places who knows how many times and had no idea we were crossing each other’s paths,” Wakeley said. “Having her coming back into the mix, there is a source of complete. You’re not wondering, am I running into her here, or am I ever going to find her.”
Their 40-year void has finally been filled.
“It’s perfect, life is perfect for me now, I’m good,” Tasha said with a smile.
Tasha is married and is a stay-at-home mother of three.
Kitt and Melissa share four kids together, and are in the process of adopting three siblings – for a total of seven – who, after Kitt and Tasha’s ordeal, the couple refuse to separate.
“It’s a God thing, that’s what brings me through it every day, that’s what I do it for, and they are such a joy, such a joy,” Melissa said.
Kitt’s life has now come full circle.
“Everything I’ve been through in life has prepared us for this moment to adopt,” he said.
In the grand symphony of life, no one gets to write their own song, not even a composer.
But finally reuniting with Tasha is the most beautiful song of all to Kitt.
“I love my sis,” Kitt said, hugging Tasha.
Kitt wrote a song for Tasha called “Hello Again,” which he’ll be performing at his concert “Symphony of Sinners and Saints” on Saturday, May 22, at 7 p.m. at The Civic Center in Oklahoma City. Tickets can be purchased here.
And, of course, Tasha will be there, too.