We rightfully honor Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but for those of us to be lucky enough to have them, Sibling’s Day can be just as powerful.
This year, Siblings Day is particularly memorable for Victor Farr, a 20-year-old student from Florida who recently met his biological sister Eva for the first time.
For 18-year-old Eva, who’s also from Florida, it’s even more than that. She’d been searching for connections to her birth family for years. In a message she sent to Victor before they met in person, she wrote:
“My heart and soul have been lost without you for the past eighteen years. I kept wondering, will I ever get a sibling? ‘Will God answer my prayers and put a sibling at my feet?’”
When they met for the first time in a small café, they enveloped each other in a prolonged embrace. There were no words.
“To be connected with a biological sibling is more than a feeling,” Victor said. “It brings the sense of connection and understanding of who I really am.”
Eva was both overwhelmed and overjoyed. An only child adopted by a single mom, she’d been searching for her birth family for years.
For Victor, the moment was equally emotionally loaded but a little different. He knows he’s lucky to have had older sisters who took care of him after he was adopted from Guatemala as a baby. Victor shares with them the bond that comes with growing up in the same household. A shared history and the unspoken understanding that comes with knowing someone from the time before you could talk.
But as an adoptee, Victor also had a hidden history. He never knew much about his origins, his birth parents’ story, or the context that comes with knowing all that. Victor wasn’t haunted by all that. Long ago, he’d come to terms with probably never knowing.
But on Christmas in 2020 his adoptive father gave him 23andMe as a gift. Victor didn’t expect to find family; he thought using 23andMe might help him learn more about his heritage and mix of indigenous, Iberian, and European ancestry that often is part of being Guatemalan. Although he was curious, it still took him months to actually send in his kit for testing. And he was slow to actually open up his results. That didn’t happen until mid-2021. He was stunned by what he found.
“I was blown away,” he said.
Before that moment, Victor only knew that he came from Guatemala, and from his adoption records, he had his mother’s name. But after opening his 23andMe results, he decided to opt in to participate in DNA Relatives and found that at the top of his list was a full biological sister named Eva. He struggled a bit with what to say to her at first.
“What do you say in a message like that?” he said.
But eventually sent her a simple message and asked to connect, and a few days later she responded.
“It’s miraculous, such a blessing,” said Victor, who is studying for the ministry.
The two exchanged messages and learned that they’d grown up not very far apart. She’s at a small college that Victor had considered attending. He marveled at the idea that they could have been on the same campus or crossed paths and never have known they were siblings.
For both of them, making the connection helped to fill in gaps in their background and grounded them. Eva had a bit more information on their birth mother, and even a photo.
Seeing his mother’s face sent a wave of emotion over him.
“It was overwhelming,” Victor said. “I had hoped and dreamed that maybe I might be able to see her one day. Seeing that photo was so emotional.”
But it was meeting Eva in person, seeing himself in her features, talking to someone who shared history – that up until then had been hidden to both of them – that was life-changing, he said.
“She’s like a female version of my younger self,” he said.
Beyond the shared DNA and the resemblance, Victor said he felt something more. Two years older, Victor suddenly felt something new — the responsibility of being an older brother. On his way to their first in-person meeting, he’d told himself to project confidence because he thought that maybe Eva would feel “shy and overwhelmed.”
“Radiate your light and calmness so she may find herself comfortable,” he told himself.
Since that first meeting, his identity as an older brother has only grown stronger.
“To be connected with Eva gives me a sense of identity,” Victor said. “I am an older brother who loves and serves his little sister.”