After meeting for the first time in March, sisters who grew up apart for 40 years are just getting to know each other in the northwest Las Vegas Valley.
Aly Mikos, 40, and Lainey Gafford-Topacio, 53, lived states away from each other, but now both live in Las Vegas. Mikos grew up as an only child with the sisters’ birth mother, Sherry Mikos, in Florida, and Gafford-Topacio grew up in south Texas after she was adopted at 3 days old. Gafford-Topacio had six older siblings.
Gafford-Topacio said hers was a happy, large family with parents she said will always be her mom and dad. But she was curious about her birth mother.
Sherry Mikos died in 2005, and it was around then that Aly found out about a long-lost sister. Both sisters learned, at separate times, that Sherry Mikos had become pregnant with Gafford-Topacio around age 18 and moved to Louisiana to give birth. Shortly thereafter, baby Gafford-Topacio was flown to Texas to be adopted.
Years later, Mikos and Gafford-Topacio lived blocks away from each other in Las Vegas. Mikos had attended UNLV, and Gafford-Topacio had moved to Las Vegas for work.
Gafford-Topacio located Mikos with the help of her stepbrother and found she also lived in Las Vegas. When Gafford-Topacio found Mikos on LinkedIn, she said, she was unsure at first whether they could be related because Mikos has dark hair. Then she saw Mikos’ teeth.
“We have the same teeth,” Gafford-Topacio said.
During their fourth meeting, on May 12 at Panera Bread, the sisters shared other similarities they’d noticed during their previous meetings with a reporter.
“We both speak with our hands,” Mikos said.
Mikos said her sister looks just like their mother — especially her blue eyes. The sisters also both love listening to audiobooks.
“Sometimes I’ll be doing something and I’ll think, I wonder if Ally does this,” Gafford-Topacio said.
The sisters had been emailing for a few weeks before they decided to meet for the first time, on March 23. Gafford-Topacio said she was hesitant to tell the story of their mother’s pregnancy, but Mikos brushed it off, saying she had known everything already.
The two are trying to meet more regularly.
“Eventually we want to do a monthly thing, because there is so much to talk about because you are having one linear conversation and then there is something else you want to talk about,” Mikos said.
Mikos said she is excited to have family to spend time with during holidays, after spending years of holidays with her husband’s family.
“It’s never been something I have been upset about, but we finally have someone on my side and now we are going to start sharing families,” Mikos said.
The sisters were already sharing Thanksgiving travel options at a Sunday afternoon meeting in May.
When asked if the two believe fate was involved in their meeting, Gafford-Topacio was quick to say yes. Mikos was hesitant but eventually said “all of my mom’s friends say it is Sherry who caused us to meet.”
After the meeting, Mikos and Gafford-Topacio shared stories and holiday plans as they walked through the door and into the parking lot before parting ways. For now.