Family reunited after nearly 45 years

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR  (KAIT)  A smile, embrace, and tears that say it all.  Four siblings who haven't seen each other in decades are finally reunited.

"It's a completion of the family," said Frank Martin.

Charlene Machamer was given up for adoption when she was a baby. Karen Walker, the oldest sister, was the only sibling who knew about Charlene.   The other kids were told Charlene was a cousin.

"I really don't know why they were never told.   Mom never told them, so I never brought it up," said Walker.

A truth Karen kept close, and Charlene did too.

"The people that adopted me were our mother's brother.   He adopted me with his wife.  I found out when I was about 5 years old because they were afraid one of my cousins was going to tell me and they wanted to tell me first," said Machamer.

"It wasn't until their mother died in 1990 that Frank and his other brother Joseph would learn the truth about Charlene.

"What happened in our families, stayed inside our families.  When we were told you don't talk about this, then we didn't talk about it," said Frank Martin.

Years later, Frank found Charlene on Facebook and that truth was revealed in a message.

"Something like I have some good new and bad news, I'm not your cousin, I'm your sister," said Machamer.

Some say they feel cheated out of time together, but there's a certain understanding between the four.  A question they don't ask is why.

"It's like how could you take an infant and hand it over to somebody, but at the same time I know that she had a very difficult decision to make," said Machamer.

There are a group of photos that are the stories of the lifetime they spent apart.   Time they can't get back, but now a future they'll spend making up for it.

"Once everybody found out--you know the truth, it's just, it's brought the family back together that's been apart for almost 45 years," said Martin.

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