Starla Medlock and Jeannie Toomey have been searching for their mother their entire life.
Their father, John Thompson met their mother Lani, while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in Vietnam.
They got married and moved to Columbus, Ohio. In 1973 they had a daughter, Starla, then moved to England where they had their second daughter, Jeannie, a year later.
Their parents got divorced when the girls were one and two years old, and their father managed to win full custody of them and moved back to the U.S.
“We asked our dad a lot about our mom, and he never spoke ill of our mom to us. He just said that she couldn’t speak English because she’s full-blooded Thai. He said she thought since we were American and he was in the military, he could take better care of us and provide us a better life than she could.” Starla said.
Jeannie and Starla spent 40-years of their lives always missing their mother and wondering about her. They begged their father to help them search for her, but they don’t believe he actually did.
“He was trying to protect us, or he was scared he was going to lose his baby girls. They always say there are three sides to the story. His side, her side and the truth”.
After years of futile search of databanks and phone books, the sisters finally gave up, as they had too little to no information at all to determine their mother’s whereabouts and the emotional stress wore on them.
At the end of 2016 Jeannie received a message from a stranger on Facebook, she almost screamed, as it was a baby photo she had of herself and Starla.
Lani’s new husband Mark was that stranger. They now live in Pueblo, Colorado, and Lani never stopped thinking about her long-lost daughters. All she had was that one baby picture of the two girls together, and that picture followed her everywhere she went for 40 years. Mark described how she sometimes fall asleep crying at the thought of them.
So Mark decided one day to make use of the little information he had to search for the girls. Within a few hours, he’d tracked down John Thompson’s obituary. Then he found Jeannie on Facebook and saw the same photograph Lani had tucked in her wallet for so long. He ran to get Lani and when he showed her his findings, she broke down in tears.