HOUSTON – Shaquanna Bell is used to having a big family, she’s one of eight children -- but she learned her family doubled basically overnight.
Bell, 33, was born in New York and lived half of her life there and in Virginia. She recently moved to Houston for work and to be closer to her oldest sibling.
“It was time for me to get my license renewed and I needed my birth certificate as well as my adoption papers,” said Bell who didn’t think twice about getting her license.
Her brother’s daughter, Jaquelyn Collier, who is around her age, had an idea.
"The moment I saw her birth certificate and she showed it to me, I saw her mother's name. I said, 'Oh, I can find out for her,'” Collier said.
Bell found out she was adopted in middle school.
"They didn't feel like she needed to know. They wanted her to feel like she's part of the family,” said Donnie Bell, her brother.
She did, which is why she didn’t really look for her biological family.
"I didn't explore really into it, because in my eyes I'm, like, I'm the child, so shouldn't they be digging into finding me? Not the opposite way around?” Shaquanna Bell said.
It turns out, her family had been searching for her for years on social media.
"I went to researching, and oh my gosh, the information I found, it gives me chills just thinking about it,” Collier said.
She got on Facebook, searched her aunt's biological name, Haines, and found several posts that spanned over several years.
Collier said one post said, “I just know that she's out there, something like that, We're looking for Shaquanna, they said her name, and when they said Shaquanna in the comments, I said, 'Oh, that can't be a coincidence.'"
That's how Bell found out she has not only one or two biological siblings, but 13, making her the 14th.
Her family is happy for her and she admits it’s overwhelming.
"Well, I went from eight siblings to 21, so you know, that’s a big jump,” Shaquanna Bell said.
Now, she and her family are learning more about her bonus family.
"My biological mom passed away at 47 of ovarian cancer, so that's something I learned, that cancer is pretty prevalent. Twins are also prevalent, so, yeah, no kids for me," Shaquanna Bell said.
She and her biological family are working to have a reunion and have set up a GoFundMe page.