Dark secret comes to light through DNA test that unites sisters after 30 years

Sisters embrace for the first time at Sanford airport

ORLANDO, Fla. – It took more than 30 years for Pam Davis and Beverly Young to finally meet and embrace each other as sisters. It was an embrace for which Davis said she waited her entire life. 

"It was shocking, exciting, overwhelming, reality -- I'm meeting her. I'm seeing my sister for the first time in 62 years," Pam Davis said about seeing her older half-sister face to face for the first time at the Sanford International Airport on July 25.

Young said she could hardly find words to explain what she felt in that moment.

"It was something I'd been waiting for forever and I was finally there to see her, so it was overwhelming," Young said.

She said it was a moment she couldn't believe she was living after she found out decades ago that she had a little sister.

In 1955, Davis had been put up for adoption by her biological mother, Florence Powell. The sisters believe Davis was the product of an affair, and that's why their mother waited out the pregnancy at a sister's home in Illinois. Once Davis was born, Powell flew back to Florida, where she put her youngest daughter up for adoption to Andrew and Beulah Cannon in Palatka. 

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"It was considered a deep dark family secret, but she shared that with me and ever since then, I've been looking for her," Young said about the hidden truth she learned through a cousin. 

"My mother knew my biological mother, so she had information, that normal adoptions do not have. So, I knew that I had a sister...," said Davis, who tried searching on her own for her older sister.

Davis said she initially searched the old-fashioned way. 

"I'd get the phone books and I knew the last name was Powell, so I would just go through phone books after phone books looking for Powell, Powell, Powell and it was just year after year of just nothing," Davis said.

Then Ancestry.com was created and they both joined with hopes of finding each other.

"I didn't know that I would find her because of the adoption, but when DNA testing became available, I thought, 'If I'm gonna find her, this is the way.' I took the DNA test and just waited, hoped and prayed that she, too, would take it," Davis said.

Her prayers were answered after a cousin of Davis' insisted she take the DNA test.

"I did not want to take the DNA test. My mother had passed away in March and I just had a lot on my plate," Davis said. "It was like, 'Kelly, I really do not want to do it...I will do it if you just -- will you shut up and leave me alone?' and she said, 'Yeah, probably no!'" 

The persistence worked. On June 19, Davis got the news that changed her life forever.

"I opened it and there was Beverly reaching out to me. I have a sister and we just...we connected immediately," Davis said as she held hands with her big sister and hugged her one more time.