Student connects with sibling for first time

Freshman+Michael+Ray+takes+a+selfie+with+half+sister+Jacenda+whom+he+recently+met+for+the+first+time.

Freshman Michael Ray takes a selfie with half sister Jacenda whom he recently met for the first time.

The bond between siblings can be tight-knit and special, even if most siblings spend half of their time arguing. Most kids spend everyday with their siblings, as they really have no choice but to coexist until someone’s old enough to move out. But for freshman Michael Ray, it’s a different story. Michael just met his stepsister, 20-year-old Jacenda Ray, for the very first time.

“When my [step]dad had her he was 22 and he said he didn’t think about having a baby and when she was 3 years-old he didn’t have a college degree, he just graduated from high school,” Michael said. “He decided to go into the Army because that was the only chance he had for not being homeless, and when he got done from the army he never went back to see her because he had other stuff to do and he didn’t know where she was. So just now, a couple of months ago, he just found her on Facebook and reconnected with her.”

Michael’s stepfather, whose name is also Michael Ray, went to visit Jacenda after communicating with her on Facebook.

“It was pretty cool. We just started messaging back and forth and then we ended up texting and then he flew up here [to Nashville] that next week to see me,” Jacenda said. “We all hung out for two days and then he flew back and then that’s what I flew in two weeks later.”

Many siblings are fighting with their brothers and sisters daily, but Michael Ray just met his step-sister via Facebook and decided to reconnect the family.
Courtesy of Michael Ray
Many siblings are fighting with their brothers and sisters daily, but Michael Ray just met his step-sister via Facebook and decided to reconnect the family.

For dad, it was a special moment to be back with his daughter.

“It was the most amazing experience of my life seeing me touching my daughter again. It was like we were never apart,” dad Michael Ray said. “She looks a lot like me and has my strong personality. I’m so proud of the strong woman she has become.”

Michael was aware that he had a stepsister before he met her. He even texted with her a few weeks prior to the day they met.

“I’d just gotten done with football, so they picked me up and I had no idea she was in the car,” Michael said. “So it was kind of a surprise, I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ My mom was like, ‘There’s Jacenda.’ She looked different than I thought she would look.”

Michael and his family attended the volleyball tournament of his biological sister Gabriela and then went bowling and to iFLY afterward. After such a busy Saturday, Sunday was a nice, relaxing time consisting of barbeque at home.

“It felt very awkward at first and then I kind of got the hang of her being here and it was very fun,” Michael said.

It was the most amazing experience of my life seeing me touching my daughter again. It was like we were never apart. She looks a lot like me and has my strong personality. I’m so proud of the strong woman she has become.”

— father, Michael Ray

Michael received very confused looks when he told his friends that he had never met his stepsister before.

“Everybody was like, ‘Where are you going?’ because I wasn’t at football practice on Monday morning and they’re like, ‘Why weren’t you there?’ and I said, ‘I had to drop off my sister at the airport,’” Michael said. “Everybody thinks I’m talking about my sixth grade sister, and it turn into oh, I’ve never met my sister before and they’re like, ‘How?’ and I have to explain that my dad was in the army and then he never went back.”

Michael and his family hope to have Jacenda move to the Lucas area, and they will see her again soon this summer. The siblings have added new joy to each other’s lives, and dad is also looking forward to spending time with Jacenda and making new memories.

“I am looking forward to being able to make up for lost time for the rest of my life,” dad Michael Ray said. “I want to be there for her. She’s my little girl and that will never change.”