Venus and Serena Williams, the Marx brothers, or our very own CEO Anne Wojcicki and her sisters Susan and Janet — our connections with siblings can be one of the strongest bonds in our lives. Finding those connections is one of the things that make 23andMe so special, our ability to reunite long-lost siblings — some have been looking for each other for years, while others never knew one another existed.
Today on National Siblings Day, we wanted to revisit a few of our favorite stories about brothers and sisters who built new connections with the help of 23andMe.
The story of identical twin sisters Amanda and Katey finding each other still gives us goosebumps. The pair were both born in Seoul, South Korea, but separated after being adopted to two separate American families. Amanda grew up in California, while Katey was raised in Arizona. They found each other using 23andMe after 33 years being apart. They soon discovered uncanny parallels in their lives — from failing algebra the same year in school, to passing their driving test on the second try. After decades apart the two sisters are now making up for lost time.
Winnie always knew she was adopted. The 76-year-old always felt supported, had children and grandchildren who loved her, but always felt something was missing. Winnie spent decades searching for her birth family, pouring over her adoption records, and searching through tens of thousands of names she thought might lead her to her birth mother or father. Winnie’s big break didn’t come until she took 23andMe’s DNA test, which helped her find a nephew, and ultimately her half sister, Meta. This led her to two more half sisters and her half brother, who were overjoyed to meet her. Winnie shared with us when she found her family, “To actually hug someone you are biologically related at 75 years old, is just amazing.”
Siblings Laurie, Christine, Brian and Amber were adopted at a very young age. While Laurie, Christine and Brian stayed together, Amber, the youngest, was adopted by a separate family. The four were separated for decades. Then Laurie took the 23andMe genetic test and got an unexpected message, “you have one direct family member” in her DNA Relatives report. For decades the four siblings had no means of finding each other. Now that they’ve connected, they are talking non-stop. Best of all, Amber is pregnant and she will be giving her child the gift of additional family, two aunts and an uncle.
Pat was adopted as a baby, and never knew any of her birth family. Her daughter Kelle used 23andMe not knowing she would find her mother’s sister, Angel. For years Pat’s fear of being rejected by her birth family, prevented her from searching for them. But after she and her sister Angel connected in December 2016, she was welcomed with open arms and has never looked back.
Anyone with a brother or sister knows the bonds siblings can share. That’s what makes these stories of siblings finding each other so powerful. Not everyone is looking for long lost family, but we all have our own DNA stories. What’s your 23andMe story? We’d love to hear it. Please share it with us at stories@23andMe.com.