Adoptee Celebrates First Christmas with Her Biological Siblings Thanks to MyHeritage DNA Quest

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In the first #HolidayHeritage challenge, we asked for your oldest family photo from the holidays. We got this unusual and moving response from a user named Bethany: she posted a blank black box.

“My oldest family photo doesn’t exist yet,” Bethany explained in the post. “My mom was adopted and we will be meeting our family for the first time this Christmas! So ask me next year.”

We asked Bethany if she would be willing to share more information with us. It turned out that Bethany’s mother, Diane Riminiscenza, found her biological siblings thanks to DNA Quest — a pro bono MyHeritage project that sends free kits to adoptees looking for their parents.

Diane was adopted as a baby and grew up with her adoptive parents and older sister in Massachusetts. While her parents were very open with her about the fact that she was adopted, she didn’t know anything about her biological family.

Diane applied for DNA Quest in March 2018. “I would love to know my roots, not just for me, but for my children and grandchildren,” she wrote in her application. “I would like to answer my own questions as well as my extended family’s questions about roots and health history.”

When her MyHeritage DNA results first came in, she received matches for distant cousins. Discouraged, she stopped checking her new matches regularly.

“I was actually out,” she recalls, “and suddenly I get this message on Facebook, saying ‘I hope you’ve been looking for us…’”

Aimee Goudas of Chicago, Illinois, had recently done a MyHeritage DNA test — and her results showed that Diane was her sister.

“I double-checked on MyHeritage, and then all of a sudden, you know… boom,” Diane remembers. “I was in tears, and so excited.”

Aimee filled Diane in: their mother had unfortunately died of cancer, but she’d had 3 more children after placing Diane for adoption: Aimee, Nikole, and Chris. Diane also learned that her own birth name was Jennifer — and that her mother’s name was actually Linda-Diane!

“She sent me pictures of my birth mother,” she says. “We look so much alike. It’s amazing. It was just amazing to see someone who looked like me.”

Diane and Aimee have been texting each other every day since. After a lifetime of being apart, their families came together in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the first time in an emotional reunion.

The family will now celebrate their first-ever family Christmas together!

Bethany Riminiscenza, top left, and her mom, Diane Riminiscenza, second from left, with Diane’s siblings and other family members.

Their story was featured in the Boston Herald.

The blank black box Bethany shared with us is a poignant reminder of what Christmas can sometimes be like for people who don’t have family to celebrate with. Thanks to DNA Quest, the blank boxes in these siblings’ lives will start to fill with color, warmth, and laughter. We at MyHeritage are humbled and grateful to have helped them find each other, and we’re so excited for them to finally spend Christmas together!

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  • Christine payne


    December 24, 2019

    My thoughts and heart with you all’ in happy times and sad & I send faith to self for finding mine mm.. … lol c.payne 12/8/83 forever Chrissy