When trauma nurse Sandi Sandrik scoured Facebook for information about her birth father, she was surprised and curious when her co-worker of two years was on her dad’s friends list. What unfolded next was a Christmas miracle neither of them ever expected – Sandi learned she had a biological brother!
The Power of Love
Logging on to Facebook one night in December 2020, Sandi sent up a silent prayer that today would be the day her biological dad had seen her message and replied.
It had been a dark year with Covid-19 making her job as a trauma nurse at Banner Thunderbird Hospital in Phoenix extra challenging. In that same time frame, she and her husband had both gotten sick, her grandson was diagnosed with lymphoma, and her father-in-law had passed away.
With it being just two weeks until Christmas and aching for something to lift her heavy spirit, Laura checked her messages. Nothing. She was about to sign off when she glanced at her father’s friends list, and her breath snagged.
Allen Tucker? She gazed at the photo of the trauma nurse she had worked beside for two years. “How do you know my father?” she wondered.
An Amazing Connection
Sandi was 11 when she learned from a neighborhood kid that she was adopted. When she confronted her adoptive parents, they told her that her biological mother was a distant relative and that her biological father had never known she was pregnant. Sensing their discomfort, Sandi never discussed it again. But as she grew into adulthood, became a nurse, a wife and a mom, questions lingered.
Then, after losing both her adoptive parents — her mother in 2013 and her dad in 2016 — she received a letter from her birth mom, stating she had always wanted to know her but had to honor her adoptive parents’ wishes to keep things secret.
As the two began building a relationship, Sandi learned that what she’d been told about her biological father wasn’t true. He had been with her mother throughout the pregnancy, not wanting to give Sandi up either, but agreeing they were too young and had no choice. “You should find him,” Sandi’s birth mother urged, telling her his name was Gary Fletcher.
Overwhelmed by the sudden rush of information, Sandi held off. But then, with the pandemic and family events highlighting the uncertainty of life, she decided to look him up on Facebook. Messaging him, she hoped he would be happy to hear from her. Yet now, her search had led her in an unexpected direction.
A couple of days later, during Sandi’s work shift, she ran into Allen. “Hey, I need to talk to you,” she stated, and asked how he knew Gary Fletcher. “He’s my dad. How do you know him?” Allen said. Shocked, Sandi replied, “He’s my dad too.”
The Best Gift Ever: Finding a Biological Brother
Allen listened in stunned silence as Sandi explained she’d been adopted and, after reuniting with her biological mom, learned Gary Fletcher was her father. Allen had no idea he had a long-lost sister. And to Sandi’s relief he finally exclaimed, “This is the best Christmas gift ever!”
And as they thought about it, they weren’t completely surprised by the revelation. The co-workers had often marveled at how comfortable they felt around each other. Allen had even once asked where she grew up and went to school, saying he felt like he had met her before. He’d even commented that Sandi reminded him of his aunt, his dad’s sister. Now it all made sense.
Not only did Sandi discover that Allen was her biological brother, but she learned she also has two more brothers. In the coming months, she met them as well, and finally met her father and his wife.
A Happy Ending
Today, Sandi, Allen, and their dad are close, enjoying the miraculous bond that fate gifted them. “To find out you have a sister and that she is a trauma nurse like you, at your same hospital, and for your sister to be the one person you would have chosen to be your sister if you could choose anyone — I think this qualifies as a true miracle,” Allen marvels.
Sandi beams with a joyous heart. “Learning that Allen, who I already adored, is my brother was incredible,” she shares. “With him in my life, it makes everything better. I have been very blessed.”
Three Ways to Make a Nurse Feel Special – Send an e-card!
Visit Baudville, type “ePraise” in the search bar, then sift through the options of fun and free e-cards to send to nurses you know. Whether holiday-themed or a simple appreciation card, choose one, write a message, type in their email address and click send to bring a smile!
Give them a lift!
It’s hard to get through a 12-plus-hour shift without caffeine — especially around the holidays. Coordinate with a local hospital to drop off instant coffee packets and healthy pick-me-ups. Plus, you can log on to Starbucks, click “gift cards” and fill in the information to send a coffee gift card right to a nurse’s phone!
Fill their meter!
In some areas, nurses and nursing students may be responsible for paying for their own parking. So if you’re out and about near a local facility, add money to parking meters nearby to give medical staff a happy surprise.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.