Family Mystery Solved Thanks to MyHeritage DNA

Family Mystery Solved Thanks to MyHeritage DNA

Sandra Poli was born in Colombia, and raised by her adoptive family before moving to Miami, Florida as an adult. Her life was turned upside down when she located her half-sister using MyHeritage DNA.

Born in 1975 to a single mother, Sandra was placed with an adoptive family at a very young age. When she turned 9, her parents told her that she was adopted.

Sandra Poli as a child.

Sandra Poli as a child.

That information didn’t affect her, much. But when she was a teenager she became interested in learning more about her roots. Her school friends were discussing genetic diseases and she realized she knew nothing about her family or her medical history. She began to ask questions and dig deeper.

Sandra learned that adoptive mother wasn’t able to have children, and despite her father’s initial hesitation, they decided to adopt. Sandra began her search with the help and support of her father but neither of her parents had any information. Over the years, Sandra tried, again and again, to learn more about her biological ,family, without luck.

As a young woman, Sandra was a journalist in Colombia while continuing her search. She appeared on television shows and wrote ito newspapers trying to gather clues. Every lead brought new hope but always hit a dead end.

Sandra Poli on right

Sandra Poli (right) with her co-anchor.

Sandra’s American husband, Michael, urged her to at least have a DNA test to learn more about her ethnic makeup. She didn’t expect to see any DNA matches, assuming that few Colombians had tested. 

When her DNA results arrived in June 2018, Sandra was surprised by a second-degree cousin match. She messaged the DNA match through MyHeritage and learned the match also had roots in her birth country — Colombia. Together, the two pieced together a family tree, discovering where the match’s parents were connected with Sandra’s birth family. This led Sandra to the huge discovery of four half-sisters on her father’s side!

Since then, Sandra has connected with a half-sister, Soraya Halaby, who lives in Paris. She originally moved to France to complete her master’s degree in Social Science at the Sorbonne, where she is now working on a Ph.D. in Sociology. Sandra and Soraya met for the first time in Colombia a few months ago and Sandra then hosted Soraya in Miami.

Sandra embraces her sister

Sandra embraces her half-sister Soraya.

Sandra is overjoyed at having found some of her biological family and is still hoping to reconnect with more half-siblings. “I would love to help more people in Colombia and tell them that MyHeritage works and how it resolved my mystery in such an amazing way!”


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  • Tammy

    May 24, 2019

    I just want to say a big thank you for helping me find my nephew who had been given up for adoption. Within minutes of receiving my DNA results I had a match and it has been wonderful to get to know him. We both celebrate birthdays this July, he will be 50 and I will be 60 so it has been a long wait to meet him.
    One more niece/nephew to find and our family is complete. (my sister passed away without us ever finding out the baby’s gender)

  • Jane “Wendell” East

    May 29, 2019

    I was stung the day I came across a picture of my 2nd cousin 4 times removed. I thought I was looking at my son. It was absolutely remarkable.