Tina lived in Bathurst, Canada, while Susan lived thousands of miles away in Chicago. Both of these women knew they were adopted but neither of them thought they had any connection whatsoever until Tina joined Ancestry.com and had a DNA sample tested.
When the results came back, Tina was shocked to find out that Susan was, in fact, her biological sister but the two had never even met and had no knowledge of each other. When the sisters finally reunited, the fact it was Christmas day just made the reunion all-the-more special…
Tina was born and raised in Bathurst and grew up with a brother and a sister. But Tina had some strange feeling inside that she had another sister somewhere, and at the age of 53, decided it was high time to find her. She joined Ancestry.com and sent off a DNA sample for testing.
Part of Her
As Tina told the press, according to a CBC report, “I felt in my heart that I had a sister,” she said. “I didn’t know if it was a full sister or a half-sister. I knew it wasn’t a brother. She explained that it was, “just a feeling that’s within you, it’s just a part of you.” When she signed up with the site, Tina said, “I told myself, ‘It’s time to find her.'”
It was about six weeks before Christmas when Susan, a communications and marketing consultant in Chicago, was at a business meeting. As she sat in the meeting, she suddenly noticed an email pop up on her screen. The email contained a picture of a young girl who looked just like her. The subject line of the email read, “Hey, I think we’re sisters.”
The other people in the meeting noticed the bizarre look of confusion and shock on Susan’s face in the middle of the meeting. “I had this look on my face, and everybody staring at me was like, ‘What just happened?'” she explained. It was at that point that she sent an email to her wife Deb to ask if she agreed that the photo of the girl in the email looked like her.
According to Deb, the two girls were like two peas in a pod and were dead ringers. “Oh my gosh yes, who is it?” Deb responded. “All I could do was think about who is she, what is she like, what’s her story?” she said. “And I felt an immediate feeling of affection for her,” she added.
Not soon after the email was sent, the two sisters connected online and started having regular video chats with each other. “Although we’ve only known each other for [about six] weeks, it’s as if we’ve known each other almost a lifetime,” Susan said. The first video call was an accident though and was quite awkward for the sisters.
The first video chat started by accident after Susan tried to call another friend on her Facebook messenger app. She called Tina by mistake, but it was too late. “I promptly tried to disconnect the call because I wasn’t ready yet,” she said. “I was building this image of this person in my mind. I was thinking, once I actually see that video call, is it going to change things?”
Meanwhile, Tina’s husband Rob encouraged her to visit Susan over the Christmas holidays. The two women hit it off during their video chats and were getting keen to meet each other in person, despite the thousands of miles between them. It was decision time, and Christmas was fast-approaching.
The two sisters felt like they knew each other for years even though they were perfect strangers. “You go through your entire life not knowing a person, but yet this person is the closest that they can be to you without being a parent,” Tina said. “She calls me kid sister now, and it’s heartwarming, or she calls me sweetie,” she added.
After a bunch of video chats and some tears, the two sisters decided they would reunite in person for the first time in 50 years on Christmas day. The sisters arranged to meet for the first time at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. “Tina will be my Christmas present,” said Susan.
It’s understandable that both the sisters were feeling nervous about their first meet face-to-face. “I’m anticipating we’re probably going to be staring at each other a lot because we’ve both gone our entire life not having someone who looks like us,” Susan said. They planned to spend three days together in Chicago, while a visit to New Brunswick was set up too for 2019.
As Tina told reporters, “I’m a great believer in fate, and I think it was time.” Susan also spoke about the strange event that led her to her sister. “Even when I filled out the Ancestry.com information, I was just looking to find out what I was made up of,” she explained. “Am I Irish, am I French? What am I?” She asked rhetorically.
While both women knew that they had been adopted at birth, neither of them had any idea that they had a full sister in the world. Having reached out to a first cousin, Tina found out that the girls were both born in Quebec and put up immediately for adoption in Quebec City.
Susan was just the tender age of three months old when she was adopted and sent to live with a family in Chicago. For her part, Tina was ten months old when she was taken all the way north to Bathurst. But neither of the sisters have any idea why they were put up for adoption by their biological parents.
While the sisters may never know what course of events led to their adoption, they seem to be fairly secure with what happened all those years ago. “We just figured it was the sixties and things were crazy,” Susan said. “But there was obviously a love there because they were together for two years to have both of us.”
This truly is a touching story as both the sisters have had such joy from meeting each other after more than half a century. They now say they couldn’t even imagine life without each other and have become very close. They are aware that they have many years to make up for, and intend to make up for the lost time in kind.
Susan explained: “Short of meeting my wife [Deb], Tina is the best experience of my life so far.” At the same time, Tina is equally thrilled about meeting her long-lost sister, saying that despite the lost years, “We still have our future together and I’m so looking forward to it.”
The two sisters were brimming with excitement and anticipation ahead of their Christmas meetup. The two sisters recognized each other at the airport immediately, as Tina explained, “Susan, she had this look of eagerness, yet apprehension, yet cautiousness because she was fearful that I would fall down the escalator,” she said. “So she’s already kicking into big sister mode.”
After the sisters met and embraced in a tight hug that lasted for minutes, Susan explained, “I can’t stop smiling,” she said. “That keeps getting pointed out to me again and again: ‘Susan you have not stopped smiling for days.'” The sisters spent three days together and chatted during trips to the dog park and eating donuts at Susan’s favorite store.
For now, the sisters said they are making up for “lost time” as they chat and get to know each other. That said they both feel they couldn’t imagine life without the other despite only knowing each other for such a short amount of time. “With that possibility, why not take the leap and go there because what you can find is incredible,” Tina said.