TAMPA, Fla. — Three former foster siblings were reunited at Tampa International Airport Thursday evening after 47 years apart.
What You Need To Know
- The three met in foster care in Morristown, N.J., in the 1960s and 1970s.
- It had been 47 years.
- The three said it was only recently that they reconnected.
"It's amazing, It's amazing," Tim Schafer said shortly after arriving from Charlotte and being greeted by Ronnie Robinson and Guy VanDunk.
The three met in foster care in Morristown, N.J., in the 1960s and 1970s. Each said they were in multiple homes before winding up in the care of Helen and Fred Maiello.
"The lady understood people, and she just stuck to me," VanDunk said of Helen Maiello. "She told me, 'Everything's gonna be OK, you're gonna make it.' And she made sure that my brother, Ronnie, and my other brothers, that we were going to make it no matter what."
Robinson said at 7 years old, he was the youngest when he arrived at the Maiello's home.
"The first person that came to me to reassure me was Guy VanDunk," said Robinson. "Because he saw how nervous I was, he said, 'It'll be alright. You're in a safe place.'"
VanDunk left the Maiellos in 1975 and wouldn't see his foster siblings again for decades.
"We couldn't tell each other when we were leaving," he said. "That was one of the rules of the house, that you just didn't tell anybody. It's just the next day, you were packed and gone. So, this way, there was no questions or anything."
The three said it was only recently that they reconnected.
Robinson and Schafer found each other on social media, then Schafer found VanDunk. It was Schafer that let the other two know they lived just 20 minutes from each other — VanDunk in Port Richey and Robinson in Spring Hill. They said Schafer's visit is just the beginning of their relationship and of reconnecting with other foster siblings.
"We're going to take this as far as we can," said Schafer. "We have just rekindled, reunited, reclaimed a relationship that needed to happen."
The three said they hope their story inspires other people trying to reconnect with loved ones, whatever the circumstances