Thursday, February 16, 2017


It has been a very long time since I posted a blog. Most people know my story by now.
I was abandoned when I was a new born baby. I spent almost 20 years searching for my biological family. Using DNA with the help of CeCe Moore I found my family in December 2015.
The first person to reach out to me from my family was a second cousin named Steven. A few days later his sweet mother, my first cousin Cili reached out to through email. Cili was wonderful. She told me all about my dad and my cuban side of the family. She was such a blessing in my life.

Finding my family was bittersweet. The bitter part was that both of my parents are deceased. That was so hard! After 20 years of wanting more than anything to meet my parents, when I finally found out who they were it is to late. The sweet part was that I had FOUR FULL SIBLINGS!! What a sweet blessing. I was so surprised to find out that I had siblings, especially that they were all my full siblings.

Cili and I decided that it would be best if she let the family know about me. I wasn't sure how they would react or feel about me. Cili contacted my sister, Dora, first.
Cili told me: Quote from Dora: "If she is indeed my sister, she has all our love and we will accept her as one of us, unconditionally."
 Dora and my other sister Celina agree to take a DNA test. That night Dora emailed me.

It was December 22, 2015:
I am not going to share the full email, but this is how it started. These are the first words I heard from my sweet and loving sister:
Hi Amy,
     I am so excited and nervous to write to you.  I guess I should start by introducing myself and telling you a little bit about my family, a family I believe you belong in. 

She told me about my brothers and my other sister. She told me about my parents and how they both died. She told me about all my nieces and nephews. Then she said:

 I hope that gives you a little knowledge of who we all are.  I definately want you to get to know more about us, but that is a good start.  From the information I have seen about you online I see that you also have a beautiful family of your own.

Then she really touched my heart:

 I believe that you are at least my half sister, maybe full sister.  I dont know or begin to understand how my sister ended up in that phone booth in 1978.  I wish I could tell you why, but I want to tell you Sorry! From the bottom of my heart, I would never want to have lost a sister!  I find myself spending the whole day just lost in thought, asking over and over, how is this happening.  I have prayed so many times today asking for an answer. I just dont know when or how God will give us this answer.

Then she told me about the type of loving and caring people that my parents were. Dora loved our parents very much, as did everyone who knew them. Then she said what i had waited 20 years to hear:

 I guess what I really want you to know is that we do believe that you are our sister and we already love you.  I cant explain what must have happened, but I can tell you that the 4 of us would never step away from you and are really excited to have a new baby sister!  I don't wanna come on to strong and I still have a lot of feelings and emotions I have to sort out. I really cant wait to hear from you.  I hope we can be the family you have search so long and so hard for. 
Your sister (I just know it)

I waited 20 years to hear that my family loved me and I heard it from Dora first. I responded to the email immediately and we have emailed then text or talked everyday since I received  this email. Dora is the rock of this family. We all go to her. She listens, she cares and she loves. She is the best! 

The DNA tests came back and Dora and my beautiful sister, Celina, are confirmed full siblings. It just confirmed what we already knew. 

I am no longer Baby Maybelle! I am AMY BARRIGA!! 

I have 4 amazing siblings.  I wanted a sister my whole life and I have two! I can't believe it. They have became more than sisters, they are my best friends. I love them so much and there is nothing I wouldn't do for them. My brother Recardo is equally amazing. He has became the greatest man in my life. I haven't got to meet my brother, Albert yet, but he is an amazing man too. I love hearing all the stories about them growing up with our mom and dad. They are an incredible family and I am beyond blessed to be a part of it. 

In August I flew to New York City to be on the Dr. Oz show. He was interviewing me about using DNA to find my family. I was beyond surprised when Dr. Oz asked me if I thought that my sisters would be watching this at home. I said yes. He said "They're not, because they are here." After 8 months I finally got to meet my sisters/best friends face to face!! It was one of the greatest moments of my life. 
Here is the link to the show.

Thank you so much to CeCe Moore and the Dr. Oz show for making my dream come true! 

Below is the moment I saw my sisters for the first time. We joked later about how I choked Dora. But when I hugged them I never wanted to let go. I would give anything to pause time right here. 

After the show Dora, Celina and I spent the whole day exploring Manhattan. It was truly one of the greatest days of my life. It was like we had been together our whole lives.

Dora saw the Cuban restaurant in Time Square. We had to go there and eat and have a drink. It was so good. I will visit this restaurant every time I return to New York. 

The horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park was so magical. We laughed and made memories that I will never forget. 

We barely slept the whole trip. We made a million memories. 

The worst part of the trip was when we all had to leave. We had to go back to our own homes all the way across the United States from each other. But we decided that we would take a sister trip every year and make it a tradition. Even though we wanted to return to New York again, we decided we should go to Miami next time. We hoped to visit Cuba together someday. 

In December I was so blessed to be able to travel to Alabama to spend Christmas with my family. It was when I arrived at Dora's house that I learned that she was sick. I was completely surprised.  My heart broke seeing her in pain. She wasn't sure what was wrong, but the doctors suspected cancer. 

I told Dora that it was Ok. God just brought them into my life, he was not going take them from me this soon. We have plans. We have memories to make. We have years to make up for. Dora, Celina and I are going to be three peas in a pod. We have so much life to experience together.  I just knew she was going to be ok. SHE HAS TO BE!! 

A month ago the news came that she had cancer. But the doctor gave her so much hope. We knew she was going to beat it and be better and healthier than ever. She told Wayne, her husband, that after she beat it she wanted to do a sister trip. I just knew it would be this summer. 

My sister got so sick. She couldn't eat. She couldn't sleep. She was in pain. But Barriga women are strong. Even though she was sick, she NEVER gave up! She was always full of HOPE! She was always full of LOVE!

Six weeks after I left her house at Christmas, Dora was sicker than I ever thought possible. Last night she went into cardiac arrest. 

I want more than anything to be there with my sister right now. But there is no way I can. I spoke or messaged her every day since that first email. I saw her on two different occasions (one in New York and once at Christmas) I am eternally thankful for those two times that we spent together. 

We were suppose to have more time! I am angry! I just found my family how can she be taken from me so quickly? 

Dora is the most loving, caring, considerate and kind person I know. She taught me so much about my family. She accepted and loved me since day one. She didn't just say she loved me, she showed me everyday too. I could talk to her about anything.  We made so many plans of things we wanted to do. 

I am writing this with a heavy heart. I want everyone to know that Dora is one of the greatest people in my life!! Please don't take life for granted. People can be taken from you in an instant! My sisters and I thought we had a lifetime together. The tears won't stop and the pain inside is unbearable. Writing has always been my outlet to reality. I will be writing about Dora the rest of my life. 

I still have two amazing brothers and 1 amazing sister. I really want to get to know Albert and his family more. I am going to spend as much time as I can with Recardo and Celina. I want Celina and I to still take those sister trips in honor of Dora. 

I am thankful for the last 14 months that I got to know Dora. Thank you God for allowing that! 

Rest in Peace my sweet and beautiful big sister! You taught me so much in such a short time! I love you more than words can express. 

Dora Barriga Lassister- GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN!