Adopted Sisters Find Each Other Through DNA Testing

7 August 2015

Wendy and LisaWendy Garrett and Lisa Olivera are sisters, but they didn’t know it until February 2015. Living on opposite coasts with no mutual friends, they would never have met without AncestryDNA.

Garrett, 29, grew up in California and then moved to Pennsylvania. Adopted through an agency, she knew that she had a brother, but not a sister.

Olivera, 28, was abandoned on Muir Beach, California, when she was a few hours old. She was adopted by a loving family, but knew nothing of her origins. Nagged by questions about her identity, Olivera took an AncestryDNA test last year.

The $99 test uses genetic science to reveal your ethnic mix and look for genetic “cousin” matches among people who have also taken the AncestryDNA test. DNA testing is especially valuable when there is a dearth of written records or in adoption cases, as with Olivera.

At first, Olivera found that she had Irish heritage, but not much else until six months later, when Garrett sent in her own saliva sample. Olivera got a message from saying they had found a very close genetic match, likely a sister.

Olivera contacted Garrett through the AncestryDNA messaging system, and soon the two were talking or emailing daily. They discovered that they were born almost exactly a year apart in May. They share the same middle name, Anne, and both play the banjo. They both love animals and the outdoors.

They met for the first time in June, embracing at the Idaho Falls airport before heading to Yellowstone National Park. They wanted to spend a few days together exploring a place neither had been before.

The sisters told a local television station that they felt oddly calm given they’d never met before. They were immediately comfortable together.

But it was still mind-boggling that they’d even found each other. Had both of them not taken the test, it would have never happened.

AncestryDNA only launched in 2012 and has already been used by more than 6 million people. As the number of DNA profiles grows, stories like this will become more common.

So, who’s out there waiting for you? Find your unknown cousins and relatives–order an AncestryDNA test today.

Rebecca Dalzell