Born 1997 in Antwerp, Belgium, to a 19-year-old mother, Yentl Coeck’s early life was marked by a great deal of uncertainty. She grew up in and out of foster care, living part of the time with her mother’s parents. “My mother was very young, and decided not to give me up for adoption, yet she was only partly present in my life,” she says. Yentl maintained a bond with the foster family she lived with as a 3-month-old, particularly with the daughter, whom she affectionately refers to as “my sister.” All in all, from a young age she always stood firm in the face of life’s challenges. However, the void of not knowing who her father is was present throughout.
As soon as Yentl turned 21, she left her grandparents’ home. Cutting ties with her past, she forged a new and independent path in life. She traveled around the world — among other things, in search of the best waves to surf— and then settled in the U.S. and worked as an au pair.
Growing up with no knowledge of who her birth father was, Yentl was always curious to find out about him — but only recently became aware of the potential of DNA testing to help her. Her then-fiance’s brother took a test out of curiosity, to learn more about his Italian roots, and Yentl realized that DNA testing just might be the key to finding some answers about her father’s identity.
In November 2022, Yentl took advantage of a Black Friday DNA sale and bought a MyHeritage DNA kit. At that point, she was back in Belgium for a surgical procedure in her heart. At the beginning of February 2023, she received her DNA results: two close matches with a cousin and a niece from the Netherlands.
The Netherlands was a surprise. As Yentl did not know about the existence of any Dutch family, she felt and hoped these matches might lead her to her father. And so her journey began — and it was quicker than she ever thought or dreamed was possible.
She immediately reached out to her DNA Matches on Instagram. To her surprise, they both responded quickly and enthusiastically, determined to try and help her solve the case. Speaking of surprises, it turned out that the niece was in Belgium at the time — only 7 minutes away from where Yentl was staying!
It took only a few hours until they got back to her with the crucial piece of information: they said that Yentl’s father is their uncle, who is also from the Netherlands, and that he wished to speak to her. After a couple of hours, Yentl also received a message from him, asking if she would be willing to meet and promising that he would do whatever she chose.
Three days later, Yentl met Jamie at a restaurant. They felt an immediate father-daughter bond and sat together for more than 3 hours talking and getting to know each other. Jamie was not sure if he remembers Yentl’s mother, but the time and place made sense. Mainly, how he felt with Yentl made a lot of sense.
After a few days, Yentl was invited to Jamie’s house in Amsterdam. She met his wife, “who accepted me immediately and warmly,” as well as their 3 children, aged 15, 12, and 6.
They decided to use the opportunity to take a paternity test, although both didn’t really question their connection.
Yentl and Jamie continued to visit each other and get closer as they waited for the results to come back. Three weeks later, all remaining doubts — if any were left — were laid to rest: the test confirmed that Jamie is indeed Yentl’s father.
Soon after Yentl had to leave the Netherlands and return back to the U.S where her fiance, John, waited for her. They got married this summer in N.Y, and Yentl plans to have a big wedding party early next spring, so her dad can walk her down the aisle. Or at least dance and celebrate with her.
Here’s a beautiful post Yentl made on Instagram about the experience of finding her father:
Last year’s Black Friday Sale literally changed Yentl’s life — and this year’s is in full swing! Even if you’re not searching for a long-lost relative, this is a perfect opportunity to make incredible discoveries or give a meaningful gift for the lowest price ever.
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Source: My Heritage