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DNA Quest Helped Me Find My Birth Family — and a Whole Lot More

In March of 2018, MyHeritage launched a pro bono initiative called DNA Quest to help reunite adoptees with their biological families. During the course of this initiative, we donated around 20,000 MyHeritage DNA kits to people seeking answers about where they came from. It’s impossible to know exactly how many of these donated kits facilitated reunions, but in the 4 years since the initiative began, the stories have been constantly rolling in. (Have a story yourself? Please share it with us!)

We received the following email from Ashleigh Brown, a DNA Quest beneficiary from Canada who found her sister as a result of her MyHeritage DNA test.

Ashleigh’s story

Your kit helped me find my biological family… and a whole lot more!

I always knew I was adopted… both my adopted brother and me. We grew up with Caucasian parents, so my mom just always told us. She had told me that she knew I had an older sister and that my biological mother had a few more children before me.  

I have wanted to know my biological family my entire life, especially my sister. I tried asking on adoption sites and randomly looking for the name on my birth certificate… all in vain. 

Then I saw the MyHeritage pro bono adoption program, DNA Quest, and wanted to give it a shot. So, I sat down and wrote my story to you. 

My first closest match was a first cousin. I contacted her only to find out that she was also adopted and searching for her family. She didn’t have any information for me, but we keep in touch. 

A few months later, I got an email on MyHeritage, from a very distant biological cousin in Spain. He wanted to know about my surname, but it is my adopted surname. I explained my situation, and he suggested I upload my DNA data to another database. The very next day, April 22, 2019, my closest match was either my aunt or my sister, depending on her age.

I immediately emailed her. Not long after, I got a reply back. She was crying and shaking. My sister had been looking for me too! For 17 years!!!

Ashleigh and her sister

Ashleigh (left) with her sister

She had been adopted by a family in Connecticut in the U.S. Two weeks after we talked, she drove up to where I live in Niagara, Ontario, on Friday May 17, 2019. It was all very emotional. We just hugged each other and cried. Finally being together filled us with such joy!

Discovering the whole family

Through my sister, I found even more. 

Two years before I found her, she had found our entire biological family in the Dominican Republic and had even flown out to meet them. Below is a video taken when she arrived at the airport:

Unfortunately, I was too late to meet my biological mother. She had passed away 6 months before I found my sister.  She always told my sister that she would give up her life to find me… and we think she did. We know she is looking down, watching us and smiling. 

I was able to be contacted by my biological father the very next day. I also spoke to my abuelita, my two brothers, another sister, and half-brother as well as many other family members that still reside in the Dominican Republic.  Unfortunately they don’t speak English and communication is difficult, but Google Translate helps.

Photo collage of Ashleigh's siblings

Ashleigh’s siblings

I haven’t been able to afford to meet them in the Dominican Republic as of yet. Which is sad,  because my biological father then passed away, two years after I found him, but before I was able to meet him in person.

My sister and I discovered that over 30 babies were adopted from the same barrio in the Dominican Republic, all processed by the same two lawyers. There are many adopted kids, and we are all related somehow — including the ones that were adopted to Barbados, where I was raised.

I now have the sister I have wanted to know for so long. We have such an amazing relationship now.

Ashleigh and her daughter with Ashleigh’s newfound sister

Ashleigh and her daughter with Ashleigh’s newfound sister

It has been an amazing journey. Thank you MyHeritage. This would not have been possible without you.

Sincerely,

Ashleigh Brown

Many thanks to Ashleigh for sharing her beautiful story with us. Do you have a story to share about a discovery you made through MyHeritage? Please share it with us!

The post DNA Quest Helped Me Find My Birth Family — and a Whole Lot More appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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