'It was a miracle': DNA kit reunites mother, two daughters across three continents after 43 years

A DNA kit as a birthday present ended a Montreal woman's search for her long-lost sister

Two sisters and their mother were reunited following a 43-year separation, all thanks to a DNA kit and the internet.

Born in Colombia and now living in Montreal, Diana Angarita spent much of her life longing to meet her older sister Xiomara, who she knew was given up for adoption as a baby by their mother, Carmen. Due to financial and health constraints, her mother had no choice but to give Xiomara up for adoption several months after birth, but says she never stopped missing her and talking about her.

Everything changed for Diana, Xiomara and mother Carmen when Diana's husband bought her a MyHeritage DNA kit for her birthday earlier this year.

"Finding my sister is something I would have never imagined could happen," Diana said in an interview with Yahoo News Canada. "It felt like I was in a dream."

Diana pictured as a young girl in Colombia, and Xiomara pictured in her youth in the Netherlands. (Courtesy: Diana)
Diana pictured as a young girl in Colombia, and Xiomara pictured in her youth in the Netherlands. (Courtesy: Diana)

As for how the three women ended up on three separate continents, Diana says "It's a bit of a long story."

Diana explains that her mother — herself was an orphan —faced financial hardship when the elder sister Xiomara was born in 1981, and made the heartbreaking decision to give her first-born daughter to an organization that had the means of providing care.

Diana says giving up her daughter was difficult on her mother, and when she was once again pregnant with Diana the following year, she fought with all she had to keep her.

"The situation with my sister caused heartbreak for my mother," said Diana.

My mom wanted to do all she could to keep meDiana

Diana says her mother enlisted help from several close friends to help raise Diana. Both Carmen and Diana had no clue what had become of Xiomara.

"She remained in both my mother's and my mind," said Diana. "I always felt alone."

Diana pictured holding certification of completion of studies. (Courtesy: Diana)
Diana pictured holding certification of completion of studies. (Courtesy: Diana)

Diana says she attended university in Colombia to study modern languages in the hopes of breaking her family's cycle of economic hardship.

Three years ago, in search of better opportunities and to provide stability for herself and mother, Diana says she moved to Montreal.

"I was always curious about my genetic makeup," said Diana. "My mom was also an orphan, and I told my husband 'I want to do a DNA kit to know where I come from.'"

On January 29, 2024, Diana says she received a gift from her husband that would change her and her mother's future forever.

DNA kit from MyHeritage. (Courtesy: MyHeritageDNA)
DNA kit from MyHeritage. (Courtesy: MyHeritageDNA)

In the hopes of further exploring Diana's ethnic makeup, Diana's husband bought her a MyHeritage DNA kit.

It was like the best gift ever!Diana

Diana said she took the swab as soon as she received the kit and mailed the sample off to the headquarters.

She says it wasn't until a month ago, when she was listening to a beautiful piece of music by composer Hans Zimmer that an emotion took over her which prompted her to check her phone.

"My results had come in," Diana said. Her husband asked her to wait to check until his landed, but Diana says the temptation proved to much. "I simply couldn't wait."

Diana says she checked her ethnicity and explored it. What caught Diana off-guard was when she was prompted to check under a section titled 'matches,' and there was a potential match.

Under matches, there was a name Xiomara, which Diana says is the name her mother had given her first-born daughter. "I knew it had to be her," said Diana.

"I got this match and I found my sister. It's like my life was split into two pieces. My life before I found my sister and my life after," said Diana. "It felt like I was in a dream seeing her name."

Diana says she immediately sent a message over the platform introducing herself, and immediately searched to see if her name was on social platforms.

"I just wanted to know everything about her," said Diana. "I was a bit nervous because you never know how someone is going to take that news."

The next day Diana received a response. Xiomara wanted to speak with her and the two arranged a zoom call.

Diana says the connection between the two of them was undeniable.

"Our first call was so emotional," said Diana. She said she was able to provide a sense of closure to her sister as to why she had been given up for adoption. "She had a lot of questions."

Xiomara, pictured with her son Joaquin in the Netherlands. (Courtesy: Diana)
Xiomara, pictured with her son Joaquin in the Netherlands. (Courtesy: Diana)

"We were just crying all the time," said Diana. "I was able to tell her that we loved her and we didn't want to give her away.

"Meeting my sister was a miracle," said Diana.

Diana said her next thought was how to break the news to her 74-year-old mother, who is still in Bogota, Colombia. On a Zoom call, Diana says the news slipped out.

"She was so excited about it," said Diana.

Diana says her sister Xiomara has a 17-year-old son Joaquin, meaning her mother instantly became a grandmother.

The two sisters plan to travel to Colombia to meet their mother in December and share Christmas together.

"I just want to encourage people to find their roots," Diana said. "When we know our past and where we come from, it helps us feel more complete."