Years ago, Gina McClelland met her biological father for the first and last time. After almost four decades of growing up without him, she Googled him, and ended up spending 3 hours with him at a mall. During that visit, he revealed that she had siblings… but said that he couldn’t tell them about her because she was a “secret” and it would upset them. It seemed that she’d never know what it would feel like to be a sister.
But thanks in part to MyHeritage DNA, Gina found and reconnected with her siblings. Last year, Gina and her half-sister Wendy flew down to the Dominican Republic to meet their brother Larro for the first time.
Watch their amazing story in the video below:
‘You are a secret’
Gina grew up in the Toronto area as the daughter of a single teenage mom. The only thing she’d known about her father was his name: Larry Cooper. She grew up and had five kids of her own, and at the age of 37, she decided to Google him. A photograph of a man who had a striking resemblance to one of Gina’s daughters popped up. She contacted him and he agreed to meet her for that one and only meeting.
“I remember tears running down his cheeks as he walked away,” says Gina. “And I knew in my heart that I would never see him again.”
A comment on an obituary
After Larry didn’t reply to her last email, Gina had a sinking feeling, and decided to Google him again. This time, she found an online obituary.
The obituary had a comments section, and one of the comments caught Gina’s eye: a woman named Wendy wrote that Larry was her father, and wanted to get in touch with anyone who could give her more information about his death.
Gina decided to write to Wendy, letting her know that they were half-sisters. Wendy was shocked — she had known about two other half-siblings, but her father had never told her about Gina.
Wendy and Gina connected with each other and started to enjoy each other as sisters.
A surprise sibling
At Christmas time in 2017, Gina’s and Wendy’s families decided to give them MyHeritage DNA tests to confirm their sisterhood and give them a chance to learn more about their ethnicities.
When Gina’s results came in, there was a half-sister match… but to her shock, it wasn’t Wendy or Laura! It was a woman named Brigitte Currie, who also grew up in Toronto and is just 9 days older than Gina. Brigitte had been raised by a single father who had also recently passed away — but wasn’t Larry. She was sure the match must be through the biological mother she hadn’t known. But when Wendy’s results came through, the three of them matched — indicating that her connection with them was actually through her father, and that the man who raised her wasn’t her birth father after all.
The shock for Brigitte was immense. Not only was the man who raised her and who she’d recently lost not her birth father after all, she had 3 sisters and a brother she’d never known existed.
‘I want to know everything’
While Brigitte was taking the time to process all this, Gina and Wendy decided to fly down to the Dominican Republic to finally meet their brother, Larro — who Wendy had known about before Gina contacted her. Larro was the only one of the siblings who had been raised by Larry.
“For me, my dad was the best man in the world, my superhero,” says Larro. “The hardest thing when he passed away was that after that, I knew I had more siblings. In that moment, life started to change.”
“I grew up an only child and now I have several siblings, and I’m pretty excited about that,” says Gina. “My siblings helped me to see a part of me that I could never see growing up.”
“Finding my siblings was really fantastic,” Larro says. “I want to know everything.”
“We’re making memories,” says Wendy. “I’ll never forget this.”
After their reunion with Larro in the Dominican Republic, the sisters went on a cottage trip together and got matching tattoos to seal their bond. They’re hoping to bring Larro to Canada someday, so the last piece of the puzzle will finally fall into place and they can enjoy being one family.
Ready to make your own incredible discoveries? Order your MyHeritage DNA kit today.
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Source: My Heritage