DENVER - A young Lochbuie woman is hoping a Facebook post will help her reunite with her little brother, who was removed from their home by Child Protective Services when she was around 12 years old and then adopted by a Colorado family.
"I have a little brother named Isaiah Luke who has been missing from my life for the past 12 1/2 years," Julia Mauer wrote on her Facebook page.
Julia posted a picture of herself holding a sign with information about her brother on Wednesday. It has been shared close to 2,000 times in 24 hours.
"I just cried when I saw how many times it's been shared. I'm overwhelmed by the support. I'm so thankful that people who don't even know me want to help," she said. "I've spent every day for the past 12 years thinking of him. I feel like there's a piece of me that's missing. There's a hole in my heart."
She said Isaiah Luke was born in Dec. 11, 1994 at Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton.
Around 2001, Julia, her twin sister, Isaiah and another younger sister, Sarah, were removed from their Lochbuie home. Her parents struggled with drugs and there were repeated allegations of abuse, she said.
Julia's paternal grandmother received custody of her and her twin sister. However, Isaiah and Sarah, who had a different father, were placed with their paternal grandmother but that home was later found to be unfit and they were eventually put in the foster care system.
Julia said she had weekly visits with both her little sister and brother for the six months that they were in foster care, but when her brother and sister were adopted, she didn't hear from them again.
She has very few clues about what happened to Isaiah, who would be 18 years old now. She doesn't know what his last name is or where he is living, but knows that he was adopted by a same-sex family when he was 7 years old.
"When he returned from one of his overnight visits with his soon to be adopted family, he kept saying, 'They're two dads!' I'm sure, being as young as he was, he didn't know what gay was then, but he said there was no mom and two dads," Julia said.
Other than a single update, where his new family sent her a picture showing a young Isaiah in a pumpkin patch, she doesn't know much more about her little brother.
"It would mean the world to me to be reunited with him. If I saw him, I would feel like a part of me is back, that I would be complete, I would be whole."
She said she's searched for him privately on Facebook for nearly five years, but felt the time was right to take her plight public now.
He's now 18 years old, an adult, and has just graduated high school or will be graduating soon and could soon be leaving the state.
"It's really hard when you know somebody you love is out there and you can't grasp him, you can't hold him," Julia said.
"I want him to know, 'I didn't abandon you.' It was our parents, it was the situation that we were in. I want to be a part of your life and I love you," she said. "I have the best feeling in the world that this will work. And even if I don't find him, I want people to know, nothing is forever lost. Your family is always your family."
She said when her younger sister, Sarah, turns 18 in two years she'll start searching for her, too.
Julia is asking people to share her post on Facebook so that she can help track down Isaiah. She described Isaiah as having bright blue eyes and sandy blonde hair.