AFTER 55 years of searching Sandra Ringuet thought she would never find her birth father.
The two were separated when she was just 18 months old after her parents divorced and lost touch.
It was through getting in touch with a stranger on social media that the 58-year-old eventually found out her father, Frank Haylock, was living on the other side of Australia.
"I've been looking for dad since I was 18 and wanted to find him before he passed away," Sandra said.
"I happened to find someone with dad's same last name on Facebook so I messaged him and asked if he knew my father.
"It turned out he did, he was my first cousin.
"He said my dad was alive and living in Perth and passed my details onto him.
"I was really nervous at first but then, a few days later, I received a beautiful two-page letter from dad with his contact information at the bottom."
After the Ipswich local took some time to think, she plucked up the courage to give her father a call.
"I'm delighted to have finally found dad," she said.
"I not only found my father, I gained a sister as well in Deb. Now we talk at least once a week."
Sandra's half-sister Deborah Haylock thought she was an only child until Frank told her the news.
"It's like I've gained a best friend," Deborah said.
"There was an instant connection."
Deborah said she noticed a lot of similarities between her father and new half-sister as soon as they met.
"They both have a great sense of humour," she said.
"You can see a lot in common between them."
The family united in time for Frank's 90th birthday earlier this month and plan to make up for lost time.
"We are going to do all the 'firsts'," Sandra said.
"We are spending Christmas together, birthdays and holidays, all the things we've missed."
An emotional Frank said he would never forget the day he saw Sandra for the first time in more than five decades.
"We talked on the phone for a while and decided to meet in person," he said.
"I knew it was her as soon as I saw her.
"I'm so pleased that we made the connection again and I'm so proud of her."
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