Two women who met while working in the same Connecticut bar have discovered that they are biological sisters.
According to Good Morning America (GMA), Julia Tinetti, 31, and Cassandra Madison, 32, met in 2013 while working at the Russian Lady Bar in New Haven. As they got to know each other, they learned that not only did they each have a tattoo of the flag of the Dominican Republic, but they were born in and adopted from the Dominican Republic.
“After that moment, we were so tight,” Tinetti told GMA. “We started hanging out. We would go out for drinks, for dinner. We started dressing alike.”
The women had a very easy, natural connection and coworkers would tell them that they looked like they could be sisters. Intrigued, the girls compared their birth certificates, but their parents’ names were not the same.
Then, in 2018, Madison’s adopted mother gave her a 23andMe DNA genetic testing kit. That test matched her to distant relatives. But it was when one of Tinetti’s childhood friends, Molly Sapadin, 31, who was also adopted from the Dominican Republic, compared her birth certificate to Madison’s that the puzzle began to unravel. She and Madison had the same birth mother listed. Since Sapadin and Tinetti were adopted on the same day in the same area, the women deduced that the information on Sapadin’s and Tinetti’s papers had been mixed up.
Sapadin also took a DNA test that revealed she has a twin and that Madison is her third cousin. When Madison was then matched with a first cousin, she was connected to her biological father, Adriano Luna Collado. Her biological mother had died in 2015.
Madison traveled to the Dominican Republic in 2018 to meet her birth father and siblings. She learned that her parents had been struggling to care for one of her brothers who was very ill when Madison was born. They didn’t feel equipped to care for their new baby girl and placed her for adoption. Madison asked her father if he and her mother had ever placed another baby for adoption.
“He said, ‘It was just a difficult time for your mom and I. So, I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t like to think about it,'” said Madison. But he told her that they did indeed place another baby for adoption, and Madison pushed Tinetti to take a DNA test.
On January 28, the test results revealed that Madison and Tinetti are biological sisters as they had long suspected. In all, their parents had nine children together — three boys and six girls. Tinetti and Madison were the only two children who were placed for adoption — and those two babies grew up and found each other completely by accident.
“It’s exciting. We’ve got one more sister,” Madison said. “Especially since [Tinetti] and I were already friends.”
Tinetti said she hopes to meet her biological family over the coming year, but that she is “[s]till processing the magnitude of the situation.”
“This is the type of thing you see on TV,” she said. “Finding my biological family just wasn’t a thing for me. I grew up with a great family, so I just kind of left it to what it was.”
Now, other adults who were adopted as children are reaching out to the sisters for advice. They tell them to “be prepared,” because not every journey to find a biological family has “a happy ending.”
“They may not want to meet you and may have closed that chapter in their life,” said Madison. “For me, it’s always been, ‘I’m going to find these people if it’s the last thing I do.’ I was going to die trying.”
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