Two Students Discover They Were Adopted From The Same Orphanage In China

Ally Cole left her Commons 2 dorm on April 14 to take the 71 bus to Green Hall for her class. At the same time, Ruby Weirzbicki left her Commons 1 dorm later than normal to catch the 71 bus for the gym. Looking around for an open seat, Cole picked one next to Weirzbicki without realizing that the two had met before but in far different circumstances.

Ally Cole, a sophomore studying graphic design and Ruby Weirzbicki, a freshman pursuing exercise science, were both adopted 15 years ago from China. Now, Ally lives in Florida, and Ruby lives in New Jersey. 

However, their stories intersected long before they sat together on a bus ride to North Campus. 

“God has a purpose in every detail,” Cole said. “It’s not accidental. He can give us a choice, but it is for a purpose.”

To avoid a silent bus ride, Cole made conversation by nonchalantly asking Weirzbicki where she was from. After Weirzbicki responded that she was from New Jersey, Cole rephrased the question and asked where she was from originally. Weirzbicki clarified that she was originally from China but was adopted when she was 5. 

Cole, adopted from China when she was 7, was intrigued to learn of their common background and furthered the conversation. The girls soon narrowed down that they came from the same city, Jinan, China. Unable to pinpoint the exact name of their orphanages, Cole unlocked her phone and started flipping through photos from the orphanage.

Weirzbicki followed suit by showing Cole some photos on her phone from her time at the orphanage. The girls noticed similar background items in each other’s photos. When they put their phones side by side, they saw that they were on a similar-looking slide in one of their photos.  

“At first I was just like, ‘Hey, cool, you have the same slide,’” Werzbicki said. “And then she pulls up a photo of her on the slide and I was like, ‘Whoa, this is the same room.’” 

Two students reconnected years after spending their early childhood in the same orphanage.

However, they did not begin to understand exactly what had happened until Cole pointed out Emma, one of her old friends from the orphanage, in one of Weirzbicki’s photos. 

“I saw Emma, and when she mentioned her, I was like, ‘This is definitely the same orphanage,’” Weirzbicki said.  

When the bus arrived at North Campus, the girls got off and stepped to the side to continue swiping through photos. Weirzbicki’s eyes widened when she saw herself in a group photo on Cole’s phone standing right next to her. 

“She pulled up a group photo, and I was like, ‘Oh, there’s me right there,’” Cole said. “Then she goes, ‘Dude, there’s me right next to you.’” 

This photo was firm confirmation of their childhood connection.

The girls continued swiping through photos and found more than one occasion where they were next to each other in the orphanage. After telling their parents and coordinating more details, they found out they were adopted almost at the same time—only one week apart—through the American World Adoption agency. 

Many factors could have changed the outcome of this story: Cole could have chosen a different seat on the 71 bus, and Weirzbicki could have gone to the gym that morning, as she usually does. Nevertheless, God had a different plan for these two.

“I really believe that he gave us this story so we could tell his story,” Weirzbicki said.

Peyton MacKenzie is a Feature Reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @PeytMacK.

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