CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - After her plea on Facebook to find her long-lost brother in South Carolina went viral, Nicole Belkin's wish came true and she met him for the very first time.
In an emotional Facebook post on June 24, Belkin, 29, recounted what she knew: that she was born in Lexington as Nicole Brooke Baker and put up for adoption at 6 months old. She also knew that she had a brother, born as Jason Christopher Baker, who was taken from their mother due to her mental illness.
Belkin says she learned in middle school that she was adopted and once she turned 18, she was on a quest to find out about her birth family.
"It's been 13 frustrating years, ever since I started my search for Jason. I have a feeling that without me pushing so hard I'll never have an opportunity to meet him or build a relationship/friendship with him," Belkin wrote. "Ever since I was a little girl, I remember always wishing for an older brother. I was torn from that. Now I need him in my life."
She said multiple inquiries were stifled in large part to HIPAA laws and other South Carolina ordinances.
Belkin also started a fundraiser to help get a plane ticket to see Jason once they met. On July 1 and more than 29,000 shares, she got in contact with her brother, whose name is Jason Burnette, now 31, and planned her trip to Charleston to meet him.
The trip would coincide with Jason's birthday, and the two finally met on Thursday. She described meeting her brother as "an amazing unexplainable feeling" that was not helped by three layovers in while traveling from Miami.
"I was all giggles and smiles when I saw him for the first time It was like I knew him forever," Belkin said. "We gave each other the biggest longest hug ever."