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Long-lost siblings reunited in Ocean Pines

By Greg Ellison, Staff Writer

(Oct. 19, 2107) Ocean Pines resident Barry Wright celebrated a sort of homecoming last week, as his long lost sister, Brenda Moorhouse, paid a visit from across the pond in England. Born in Bolton, England in 1947, Wright was relocated to the U.S. as an infant by his maternal grandmother, Ethel Wright. Her youngest daughter, Joan, bore him out of wedlock. The following year, Joan Wright had a daughter, Brenda, who was immediately put up for adoption. “[Brenda] tried to make contact with me and couldn’t find anything,” he said. “I think she thought I perished.” To further confuse matters, Barry Wright was mislead about the true identity of his parents after Joan’s oldest brother, Edwin Wright, and his wife Mary, adopted the infant when he was brought stateside. As a youth during the 1950s, Wright discovered adoption papers and his adoptive mother shared the family history. Despite eventually becoming acquainted with his biological mother, Joan Wright never admitted the existence of a younger sister to her son. While still a teenager, Brenda Moorhouse first learned of the existence of an unknown brother, and while initially fascinated with the prospect of making contact, in time other priorities took precedence. “I knew from hearing at the age of 15 there had been a brother [named] Barry,” she said. “[I began] living life and didn’t give it much thought over the years.” As time passed, Moorhouse began searching through numerous channels to no avail. “She tried to make contact with me and couldn’t find anything,” Wright said. “She contacted the adoption society [in England.]” What turned into a decades-long search came to an end last year when Moorhouse, who had assembled a paper trail over the years, made contact with the Rotary International who managed to locate Wright’s exact whereabouts. Unsure how to proceed in unchartered waters, Moorhouse decided to send a letter through official channels. Last July, Wright was shell-shocked when Ocean City-Berlin Rotary Club President Cliff Berg knocked on his door with surprising news. “He said ‘I have a letter here for you,’ and I thought I was being served with papers,” he said. “I was dumbfounded.” To Wright’s amazement, instead of court documents, Berg shared a communication from the sister he didn’t know existed. “He left and I sat down and absorbed it,” he said. After discussing the situation with family and friends, Wright eventually decided to open a new life chapter. “I was undecided for two months,” he said. Last August, the siblings made initial contact through video chat. “When I saw her face I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “If someone told me this was going to happen I would have never believed it.” Prior to the pair’s current meeting, Barry Wright traveled to England this March for an initial face-to-face meeting. For her part, Moorhouse said it was stunning to meet someone “that you look like.” “It’s quite extraordinary when you meet someone you are blood-related to,” she said. The physical similarities were also instantly apparent to Wright. “My wife goes, ‘You can tell it’s your sister. You can see it in her eyes,’” he said. “When we met for the first time I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say.” Moorhouse has made numerous visits to the U.S., even spending part of her youth living with extended family in Rhode Island. During her most recent journey across the pond, she managed to unite the clan. “I visited my cousin I was brought up with in Rhode Island who I hadn’t seen since 1959,” she said. “He lives in Florida and drove up here to see me … and met some of Barry’s friends and family.” Although the long-separated siblings’ next meeting is yet unplanned, Wright said for now he is simply ecstatic to unexpectedly expand the family circle. “We’ve kind of united our families together,” he said. Despite an ocean of separation, Moorhouse said the newly established family bonds prove blood is thinker than water. “You can’t see the join,” she said. “The Christmas card list is going to be enormous.”