Family history is important, and the less you know, the more you can feel in the dark. People who were adopted, even by the most loving families, will likely always have questions about their origins and biological parents — who wouldn’t?
Questions about family history are precisely what led Gabe Kangas of Holland, Michigan, to get a DNA test, something many are turning to in order to get a glimpse of their past.
“We just wanted to know a little bit more about my history because I don’t have a lot of information about my past,” Kangas told WOOD-TV.
“According to the report there were like 700 matches,” he said. “Then there was one report that said, ‘He’s got a 50% match to your DNA,’ and I went, ‘Whoa! Who is this guy?’”
Kangas had known he had a brother but was initially spurred to find out about his family’s medical history because he has cerebral palsy and wanted to know more for the sake of his two kids.
“I was not expecting to find him really ever,” he said of his brother. “I came to the conclusion in my head that I’ll probably never see him and I would be OK with that but now that I have found him it’s super exciting.”
But Vince Braiotta was found, and the two turned out to not only be brothers but twins. Vince knew even less about his origins, as he was reportedly abandoned in an alley, found by cops, assigned a birthday and adopted into an American family.
“I found my brother this week… my twin brother,” Gabe shared on Facebook on Aug. 9. “For those of you that do not know my story, I was adopted from Korea as an infant. I knew some basic information because I was surrendered at the hospital.
“As far as I ever knew, my mom took my brother to raise him herself. Over the years I wondered if I would find him but kind of figured the chances were slim. I had a good life and became content with what I had.”
Gabe went on to explain that Amazon’s sale on 23andMe DNA tests was the sign he needed, and so he bought the test, completed it and turned it in, not quite sure what to expect.
“On Wednesday, I was getting the brakes fixed on our car when I got an email that my results were available. I called Carissa but we decided to wait until the kids went to bed that night. I couldn’t wait that long. Although I have 700+ DNA matches, I had one close relative with over a 50% DNA match. I shared my genetic and health history with this person and hoped they may see it and want to look into it further.
“The rest is pretty much history. We connected Wednesday night on 23 and me, exchanged phone numbers, and had a chance to FaceTime last night. It is all still so surreal. We are shocked, somewhat speechless, and excited!”
Vince was equally shocked.
“So I just found out that I have a fraternal twin brother,” he wrote in his own revelatory post. “We were able to connect using 23andMe DNA testing. We had both done the test and we share 53.9% DNA. This is so mind blowing and serendipitous. What are the odds?!?
“We were able to talk on FaceTime for about 4 hours last night. Hopefully between us, we can find more information regarding our family past and meet in person someday.”
Gabe’s wife has seen the similarities between the two, citing similar mannerisms and shared disgust with ranch dressing.
“They are two totally different people but there were so many things that seemed so similar,” she told WOOD-TV. “They do this clearing of the throat thing.”
The brothers both have kids of their own, and despite the miles, they hope that someday they can get together and have a reunion over three decades in the making.
“We’ve got 32 years to catch up on, brother,” Gabe said.
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