DNA Quest Helped Me Find My Birth Family — and a Whole Lot More

DNA Quest Helped Me Find My Birth Family — and a Whole Lot More

In March of 2018, MyHeritage launched a pro bono initiative called DNA Quest to help reunite adoptees with their biological families. During the course of this initiative, we donated around 20,000 MyHeritage DNA kits to people seeking answers about where they came from. It’s impossible to know exactly how many of these donated kits facilitated reunions, but in the 4 years since the initiative began, the stories have been constantly rolling in.

Have a story yourself? Please share it with us!

One of those stories came from Ashleigh Brown, 33, from Canada. Ashleigh found her sister Laurinda thanks to DNA Quest — and through Laurinda, she found many other family members. The two have since become inseparable! Their story was recently covered on a number of prominent media outlets across the globe, including Newsweek and CBC.

Watch them finishing each other’s sentences and sharing a precious moment in this lovely CBC segment here:

“Your kit helped me find my biological family… and a whole lot more!” Ashleigh wrote to us. “I always knew I was adopted… both my adopted brother and me. We grew up with Caucasian parents, so my mom just always told us. She had told me that she knew I had an older sister and that my biological mother had a few more children before me.”

Ashleigh had wanted to know her biological family her entire life — especially her sister. “I tried asking on adoption sites and randomly looking for the name on my birth certificate… all in vain,” she says.

Then she learned about MyHeritage’s DNA Quest initiative and decided to give it a shot. A few months later, Ashleigh discovered a very close match: an aunt or a sister named Laurinda.

Ashleigh wrote to her immediately. “Not long after, I got a reply back,” she recalls. “She was crying and shaking. My sister had been looking for me too! For 17 years!!!”

Ashleigh and her sister

Ashleigh (left) with her sister

She had been adopted by a family in Connecticut in the U.S. Two weeks after the sisters talked, Laurinda drove up to visit Ashleigh in Niagara, Ontario. “It was all very emotional,” Ashleigh remembers. “We just hugged each other and cried. Finally being together filled us with such joy!”

Discovering the whole family

Laurinda had done some research of her own, and had been able to find their entire biological family in the Dominican Republic and had even flown out to meet them.

“Unfortunately, I was too late to meet my biological mother,” says Ashleigh. “She had passed away 6 months before I found my sister.  She always told my sister that she would give up her life to find me… and we think she did. We know she is looking down, watching us and smiling.”

Below is a video of the moment Laurinda saw a photo of their mother for the first time:

Laurinda was able to put Ashleigh in touch with their birth father not long after. “I also spoke to my abuelita, my two brothers, another sister, and half-brother as well as many other family members that still reside in the Dominican Republic.  Unfortunately they don’t speak English and communication is difficult, but Google Translate helps,” she says.

Photo collage of Ashleigh's siblings

Ashleigh’s siblings

“I haven’t been able to afford to meet them in the Dominican Republic as of yet. Which is sad,  because my biological father then passed away, two years after I found him, but before I was able to meet him in person,” Ashleigh adds.

Ashleigh and Laurinda discovered that over 30 babies were adopted from the same barrio in the Dominican Republic, all processed by the same two lawyers. “There are many adopted kids, and we are all related somehow — including the ones that were adopted to Barbados, where I was raised,” says Ashleigh.

Ashleigh finally has the sister she wanted to know for so long. “We have such an amazing relationship now,” she says.

Ashleigh and her daughter with Ashleigh’s newfound sister

Ashleigh and her daughter with Ashleigh’s newfound sister

“It has been an amazing journey. Thank you MyHeritage. This would not have been possible without you.”

Many thanks to Ashleigh for sharing her beautiful story with us. Do you have a story to share about a discovery you made through MyHeritage? Please share it with us!