Getting DNA tests done has become something of a fad. Many people are curious to know more about their backgrounds or expand their knowledge of their family tree.
Although having your personal genetic blueprint cataloged somewhere is a disconcerting thought, DNA databases have come in handy for many different positive purposes. Criminals have been tracked down, cold cases have been solved, and families have been reunited — all thanks to people having their DNA tested.
Two women in their 40s have just started patching together their family tree after both of them got their DNA results. Janine Dzyubanny was contacted by 23andme.com when it linked her to someone else in its database.
They’d gone their entire lives without knowing the other sister existed. In fact, they both grew up with adoptive brothers — but they had many other similarities as well.
They both played softball. They both became preschool teachers. They both owned Labrador retrievers. The similarities were uncanny, but if they’d never taken the DNA test, they never would have known.
Dzyubanny was the one who initially reached out to Frantz when she found out they shared nearly 50 percent of the same DNA (which generally means they share both parents).
“I didn’t know what to say,” Dzyubanny told USA Today. “I didn’t want to scare her away. This was 42 years into my life and I find out I have a sister. It’s kind of startling to people.”
The message she ended up sending was short and sweet, but Frantz responded positively.
“And it was something like: ‘I just got my results back. I think you and I might be sisters,'” Frantz explained. “I definitely remember she had ‘OMG’ in there.”
At some point, they decided they had to meet. They’d gone half a lifetime without even knowing about each other, and they had a lot of lost time to make up for.
Frantz said their meeting was magical. “We saw each other and we hugged each other, and it was very emotional,” she said. “Very exciting and very surreal, just awesome, all at the same time.”
“We both feel like we’ve missed out on the first 42, 43 years of our lives together,” she continued. “We’re just trying to spend every waking moment together and just kind of make up for all that time.”
“I’ve only known Janine since June, but I already feel like I’ve known her my whole life. I just feel like there was an instant connection, and yes, we’re still trying to get to know each other, but sometimes I just feel like I’ve known her forever. Easily, seamlessly, our lives coincide.”
Now that they have each other, they have other questions. Dzyubanny spoke about how they wonder who they take after.
“Makes me wonder: Does she look more like our father?” she said. “And do I look more like our mother, or vice versa?”
Frantz has a message for her mother. She wants her to know that they bear no ill will and they are doing well.
“Being a mother myself and having two kids, I can only imagine she thinks of us every day and worries about us,” she said. “And we know that she loved us because she left us on a police station steps to be found. So to let her know that a) we’re OK; and b) we found each other.”
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