Two friends who worked alongside each other at a Connecticut restaurant made a remarkable discovery: DNA testing revealed they are biological sisters
Julia Tinetti and Cassandra Madison met in 2013 while working at the same New Haven restaurant. The two women shared many similarities. They grew up in Connecticut — Tinetti in New Haven and Madison in Ansonia — and both women were adopted from the Dominican Republic.
They were kindred spirts for years.
“We were like, ‘Oh, yeah, that's my sister,’ just a running joke,” Tinetti said. “We thought maybe we could be related, but what are the odds?”
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The odds were greater than they thought.
Years later, Madison moved to Virginia Beach and decided to take a 23andMe DNA test in the hopes of finding her family in the Dominican Republic. The test matched her to relatives on the island nation and she eventually reconnected with her biological father. Her biological mother passed away in 2015, Madison later learned.
Madison said when she finally met her dad, she had one question for him: did he put another child up for adoption?
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“I remember the day I asked my dad ... he looked like [the question] just took the wind out of him,” Madison said.
He reluctantly admitted they placed another child for adoption, citing financial difficulties at the time the two sisters were born.
With confirmation that she had another sibling, Madison persuaded Tinetti to take a DNA test as well. When the results came back, it showed the two women are sisters with the same biological parents.
Tinetti recalls the moment she shared the incredible news with her sister.
“I'm like, ‘So the results are in,’ and she's like, ‘Okay, and what are they?'” Tinetti said. “I'm like, ‘So I am in fact, your biological sister.’ And she just started crying.”
Earlier this month, the two women traveled to the Dominican Republic so Tinetti could finally meet their father and the rest of the family.
“I was fine until I saw my family standing out of the [arrival] doors,” Tinetti said about landing in her homeland. “I looked and I saw my dad, and I'm not a crier, usually. But when I saw him, I just started crying.”
Her biological father ran to greet her.
“He just gave me the biggest hug. He's crying,” Tinetti said.
“It was emotional for everybody, because once I got there, everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, you look just like her,’” Tinetti added.
In the following days, she shared a dance with her dad, indulged in Dominican food and explored the island. They also forged bonds with dozens of extended family members.
Their parents had nine kids together, with Tinetti and Madison being the only ones put up for adoption.
“This is first time in 35 years that our father has had all of his nine kids together,” Tinetti said. “So, holy cow moment.”
The sisters called the experience "life changing."
They have plans to return to the Dominican Republic and continue forging bonds with their father, siblings and relatives.
“To see our dad just light up, I mean, it's amazing,” Madison said. “We’re going to start with our relationship with our dad and let that grow.”
They are also thankful for having gone through the process with each other.