Sisters reunited after nearly 60 years apart

Woman adopted as a toddler manages to trace long-lost SA siblings


Fifty-eight years of separation did little to dampen the joy of four Eastern Cape-born sisters who were reunited as a family for the first time in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. 
Meeting first at the Port Elizabeth International Airport and then at the Walmer home of family friend Ingrid Greeff, siblings Marietjie Jacobs, 72, Yvonne Snyman, 66, and Sylvia Wasserman, 64, were reunited with their sister Loraine Alcock Dockerill, 61, in an emotionally charged gathering – the first between the sisters in decades.
“It was just tears and hugs,” Greeff, who pastors at the Harvest Christian Church in the Bay, said of the airport meeting.
And for a visibly delighted Dockerill, who works in the ministry alongside her husband Robert at their New Horizons church in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Sunday’s meeting and the ease with which the siblings reunited brought tangible proof that blood is indeed thicker than water.
Bearing striking similarities, the bubbly sisters shared the remarkable story of their separation, which began in the rural Sandrift area, a few kilometres from Storms River in the Tsitsikamma region.
The sisters were born into the Vosloo family, which produced three more siblings – one of whom has died and another sister and a brother, who live in Knysna area and Pretoria respectively.
The family had experienced financial challenges and during their early years the sisters had periodically been homed with various foster families.
Dockerill, at the age of four, had been formally adopted by the Alcock family in Port Elizabeth, and this ended her contact with her sisters.
While Jacobs, Snyman and Wasserman had later married and now reside in East London, Springs and Kareedouw respectively, they had managed to keep in contact – all the while wondering what had happened to Dockerill.
“I was aware that I had been adopted at an early age and later in life, when I got married, my father had told me about two of my siblings.
“My husband worked at the time for Telkom, and we decided to emigrate to Canada.
“I wanted to try and trace my siblings but there were various obstacles, including that I needed my adoption certificate, which I did not think I had,” Dockerill said.
In early January 2018 she discovered her adoption certificate, and with the knowledge of her original surname, Dockerill then began her campaign to reunite with her sisters, first using an “Ex-PE” Facebook page and later two organisations, Baby Come Home and Adoption SA.
“I am truly happy and grateful for this.
“It has been absolutely wonderful and I am thrilled.
“Since establishing contact by phone, there has not been a day that has gone by that we have not been in contact, right up until today.
“I feel like everything has now come full circle,” Dockerill said.
The siblings plan to spend time together over Easter, and Dockerill has also made plans to reconnect with her brother and other sister before returning to Canada...

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