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‘The Best Gift Ever’: A MyHeritage DNA Kit Helps Colombian Woman Find Her Long-Lost Sister in the Netherlands

In 1981, on her 33rd birthday, Carmen Angarita made the most painful decision of her life. The baby she had given birth to just several months prior was very sick, and as a single mother and an orphan with no support, she lacked the means to care for her daughter Xiomara. She was strongly pressured to place the baby for adoption, and she felt she had no choice but to agree.

“I was so distraught when I left her that I was almost run over by a bus. I hadn’t had food all day nor a place to live,” Carmen told MSN in a recent interview.

Around two years later, Carmen gave birth to another daughter. Though she was still alone and the father didn’t stick around, Carmen insisted on keeping her baby, who she named Diana. Diana recalls that her mother never stopped missing or talking about the older daughter she’d had to give away — “so much so, that sometimes I really envied her,” says Diana.

Carmen and Diana did not have an easy life. Luckily, two families that Carmen worked for as a housekeeper took Diana under their wings and took care of all her needs so she would not end up living on the street — a fate that Carmen, unfortunately, was not able to escape at times. When Diana was 18, she rented her own apartment, studied at university, and at some point took in her mother and supported her. Diana eventually married a man named Martin, and several years ago they moved to Montreal. Carmen remained behind in Colombia, but Diana hopes she will follow her eventually.

Carmen, Diana, and Martin with their dog Ozzy

Carmen, Diana, and Martin with their dog Ozzy

The best gift ever

Over the years, the absence of the older sister she’d never met weighed on Diana heavily. She wasn’t sure she would ever find her sister or her whereabouts, but she tried researching a little on a genealogy site, with no results.

Then, for her birthday this year, Martin bought her a MyHeritage DNA kit as a gift. She says she didn’t get her hopes up that it would help her find her sister; mainly, she was interested in the ethnicity information, but she admits that she was likely afraid of being disappointed.

She shouldn’t have been.

Her results came back a few weeks later with a match to a half-sister named Xiomara Schuuring.

Diana knew that her sister had been named Xiomara, and immediately understood that this woman was likely the sister she had been looking for all those years.

‘All my life I wished I had a little sister’

Xiomara had been raised by a lovely couple in the Netherlands, along with two brothers (one adopted and one “homemade” as the family puts it). Her adoptive parents were always open about the fact that she was adopted, and even traveled to Colombia in 2009 with her parents. She had taken a DNA test several months before Diana, hoping to learn about her ethnicity. Though she fantasized about finding her birth family, she never imagined that the DNA test would lead her to them.

Xiomara

Xiomara Schuuring

Diana immediately messaged Xiomara and searched for her on social media.

“I just wanted to know everything about her,” Diana told Yahoo News Canada in a recent interview. “I was a bit nervous because you never know how someone is going to take that news.” But the next day, Xiomara wrote back, and the two arranged a Zoom call.

Their first call was very emotional. Xiomara had a lot of questions, and Diana was able to provide some closure about why their mother didn’t raise her. “I was able to tell her that we loved her and we didn’t want to give her away.”

“All my life I wished I had a little sister,” says Xiomara. “When I was thinking about my adoption and fantasizing — what’s the best thing that can happen? The answer was always finding my mother, and hopefully also finding I have a sister — and there she is!”

‘It’s not too late for us’

Diana struggled with how to break the news to her 74-year-old mother in Colombia, but she says it slipped out during a Zoom call. “She was so excited about it,” Diana told Yahoo. She then asked Xiomara to take a video of herself with a message to her mother, and put together a video for Carmen including lots of photos of Xiomara:

“I was so happy,” says Carmen. “I almost cried from happiness… I was waiting for her for a long time.”

Later, the three of them spoke via Zoom. The language barriers make communication difficult: Carmen speaks only Spanish, Xiomara speaks Dutch and English, and Diana speaks Spanish, English, and French. They plan to meet in Colombia this December for the holidays, and Xiomara is studying Spanish in the meantime to be able to communicate better with her mother.

“[Diana] was always telling me, ‘We are going to find Xiomara one day,’” Carmen told MSN. “But for me it was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, mami, that’s impossible.’ But yeah, she was right.”

Xiomara has a 17-year-old son, Joaquin, so Carmen now knows that she has a grandson.

Xiomara with her son Joaquin

Xiomara with her son Joaquin​

“It felt so good from the first moment, a little like love at first sight,” says Xiomara. “It’s not too late for us, we have the rest of our life to build and enjoy our relationship.”

Diana says the MyHeritage DNA kit turned out to be “the best gift ever.” “I just want to encourage people to find their roots,” Diana told Yahoo News Canada. “When we know our past and where we come from, it helps us feel more complete.”

Many thanks to Diana and Xiomara for sharing their incredible story with us. If you’ve also made an amazing discovery with MyHeritage, we’d love to hear about it! Please share it with us via this form or email us at stories@myheritage.com.

The post ‘The Best Gift Ever’: A MyHeritage DNA Kit Helps Colombian Woman Find Her Long-Lost Sister in the Netherlands appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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