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She Thought She Was an Only Child. Then She Took a MyHeritage DNA Test

Stella Stenroos, 51, born in Finland but currently from Ireland, bought a MyHeritage DNA kit in January 2021 out of pure curiosity. “I saw the ads and read articles over the years and at some point I decided to buy a DNA kit thinking it would be nice to learn about my ethnicity,” she says.

A year and a half later, Stella was in her living room, watching endless TV broadcasts about Queen Elizabeth’s death, when she suddenly received a notification about an incoming email.

“I opened the message where someone claimed to be my brother,” she says. “I said to myself, this must be some kind of an internet weirdo. I almost deleted the email, but beforehand decided to take a quick look at my DNA matches at MyHeritage and there it was — a match with Aaro Vuotila as my half-brother. I was not expecting anything close to this!”

Stella’s parents divorced in 1974, when she was 3 years old, and she grew up as an only child.

No one knew her father had another child — including the father.

Aaro’s surname, Vuotila, sounded familiar to her, and to her mother as well. She remembered her father, Jaakko Stenroos, had a friend with that name. The friend even attended her father’s funeral in 2008.

Aaro Vuotila, 43, was born in 1979 in Imatra, Finland. He is an actor and musician and lives with his wife and 16-year-old daughter in Jyväskylä, Finland. Just like Stella, Aaro also took a DNA test out of pure curiosity. He bought the kit in August 2022 and one month later, his world changed.

After receiving the DNA results, he confronted his mother, who confirmed that he is not her husband’s child but another man’s: Jaakko — Stella’s father. She had never told anyone about it before then.

A whirlwind trip to meet his sister

Two months later, at the first possible opportunity, Aaro took a plane from Finland to Ireland to meet his sister. Stella took him on a trip around Ireland and introduced him to her close friends. Here they are in the car at the Dublin airport:

Stella and Aaron meet for the first time

Stella and Aaron meet for the first time, November 14, 2022

“Out of all my pets, Cara (the tripod cat) is the boss, and the most social,” says Stella. “So, Aaro had just arrived, and barely had the time to sit down, when Cara already came to greet him.”

Aaro meets Stella's cat

Aaro meets Stella’s cat

On his first day in Ireland, they didn’t want to do much, since Aaro had already spent a long time traveling, so they went to Hill of Tara just to enjoy the landscape. Here they are wearing caps they bought there:

Stella and Aaro in Stella's garden

Stella and Aaro in Stella’s garden, wearing caps they bought at Hill of Tara

“As Aaro had never met his real dad and grandparents, I gave him a crash course in old photos,” says Stella. “Here we were going through them, and eating macarons.”

Aaro gets to know his paternal ancestors

Aaro gets to know his paternal ancestors

On the third day, they visited a Finnish friend of Stella’s and continued on to the Wicklow Mountains:

Stella and Aaro in the Wicklow Mountains

Stella and Aaro in Glendalough, a famous valley in the Wicklow Mountain area

“Due to work commitments, Aaro could only do a short visit, this time, and it went in a flash,” says Stella. “Here, we were at the airport again, him heading back to Finland. If you look closely, we are both wearing stone pendants — Aaro made them! He only made two, he’s been wearing one, and he wanted to give me the other one ❤ I’ve been wearing mine ever since.”

Stella drops Aaro off at the airport, both wearing stone pendants he made

Stella drops Aaro off at the airport, both wearing stone pendants he made

“We connected completely from the first second. Everything felt natural, like we’ve known each other forever,” says Stella. “There were no awkward moments between us… not even one. We have the same sense of humor, same wit. I’m so happy that we both decided to take the DNA test! It would be a tragedy to never have known.”

Stella says that for 51 years she thought she was an only child, so the discovery completely changed her identity. Her mother is very happy for her as well, and feels good that she won’t be alone in the world, as Stella has no children and does not currently have a partner.

“Our dad was very intelligent, widely interested in everything, witty, with a great sense of humor, musically talented and creative, liked to cook, and for all his life, had the same friends who had been his friends since childhood,” says Stella.

Stella and Aaro's father. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

Stella and Aaro's father. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

Stella and Aaro’s father. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

“It breaks my heart that he never knew he had a son — especially, a son who is also a musician, like our dad was! But I’m hoping that I’ll be able to give Aaro, and my niece Peppi, a lively mental picture of the family they never knew.”

Many thanks to Stella for sharing her story with us! If you’ve also made a life-changing discovery with MyHeritage — we’d love to hear about it! Please send it to us via this form or email it to us at

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The post She Thought She Was an Only Child. Then She Took a MyHeritage DNA Test appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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