Sisters Reunite After Adoption Scam

Kristin Tallent/Fox Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Friday was a happy homecoming for a woman who had no idea her roots were here in Memphis. It was also the chance to finally meet a sibling she never knew she had.

For Devy Bruch, this is a no ordinary introduction. The 72 year old is meeting her sister for the very first time.

Bruch was one of thousands of children stolen by Georgia Tann, the Executive Secretary of the Tennessee Children's Home Society in the 1930s.

Under heavy sedation, Bruch's mother - a teenager at the time- signed papers surrendering her unborn baby to Tann.

Her mother was later told she had given birth to a baby boy, who died.

"She was an evil woman," says Devy of Georgia Tann. "She tore apart over 5,000 families. She deprived me of a sister."

Bruch's daughter, Robin, decided to start digging deeper into her mother's unknown past, eventually leading her to Patricia Wilks of Germantown this past June.

Initially, Wilks wasn't sure how to take the news that she had a sister.

"This is part of where the shock came in," says Patricia. "I never knew Mom was pregnant as a teenager… I had always been an only child. I said no way, forget it!"

But eventually, Wilks warmed up and reached out to her long-lost sibling.

"I waited 3 days before I sent her an e-mail and I started with, 'I have no idea what to say to you.'"

Still, the two sisters had no problems developing a relationship via e-mail along with occasional phone calls over the summer and fall months.

The communications built up to the emotional introduction Friday afternoon.

"This is the start of a whole new life for me," says Devy. "I think I've prolonged my life by having a sister. I have a new family."

Leading up to the reunion, Patricia says "I've been nervous and excited."

"I feel drawn to this family," says Patricia after finally meeting her sister for the first time. "It's my family."

Devy, known to her friends as "Bru," said she plans to stay in Memphis for the next few days so she can get to know her sister better. The two also plan to visit their mother's grave.


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