Fate works in mysterious ways. Buddine Bullinger, who has worked at a Walmart in North Dakota for the past 25 years, knew she was adopted and never tried to contact her biological mother, despite being aware of her identity. When a coworker alerted her to the fact that her mother had died and her obituary had appeared in a local newspaper, Buddine also learned that her mom had another daughter. She reunited with her sister, Deidre Handtmann, which is incredible enough. But the two couldn't help but wonder if they shared any other siblings. With a bit of detective work and calls to the adoption agency from which they were placed with families, they discovered that, indeed, they had more brothers and sisters -- three of them! And even crazier: one brother, who also lived nearby, realized he had known Buddine for years.
John Maixner met up with Deidre first. Upon seeing a photo of Buddine, he revealed that, for years, he had been shopping at the Walmart where she worked and had been greeted by his very own flesh and blood several times! Buddine also immediately recognized her brother, but of course since she wasn't looking for a sibling all those years, she never stopped to consider whether they shared physical traits. I mean, who would?
This beautiful story has a heartwarming ending. All five siblings reunited last year and now speak on the phone every week. It sounds like John and Buddine are particularly close -- they meet a few times a month to have lunch together, and John spent the holidays with his sister and her three children and seven grandchildren.
There are so many awesome layers to this tale. First of all, these siblings no longer have to keep their questions about their past to themselves. All five were given up for adoption and share that same unique experience. One brother may know a piece of their family's history that the others don't know, while a sister may have been in touch with their mom and will be able to relay more information about her. What a blessing for these folks. And just think about all of the family members they didn't know they had and will now have the pleasure of meeting.
I don't throw around the word "fate" all too often, but this lovely story certainly makes me more of a believer in it.
What do you think of this family's incredible story?
Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr