Things That Matter

These Long-Time Best Friends Just Found Out They’re Biological Sisters

Photo via Cassandra Raquel Madison/Facebook

We’ve all had those friends that are so close to us that they feel like they’re family. Well, in the case of these of two Connecticut women who had the same feeling, that ended up being the case.

Best friends Julia Tinetti and Cassandra Madison learned that they were biological sisters, adopted from the Dominican Republic.

The story is stranger than fiction. Julia and Madison met in 2013, when they both worked at a bar called The Russian Lady in New Haven, Connecticut. The women immediately bonded when they discovered that they both had tattoos of the Dominican Republic’s flag.

Cassandra rehashed the meeting via a Facebook post: “Julia notices the Dominican flag on my arm and makes a comment about how she’s Dominican too BUT she’s adopted from there. I stop her in her tracks and tell her I’m adopted from there too.”

“After that moment, we were so tight,” Julia told Good Morning America. “We started hanging out. We would go out for drinks, for dinner. We started dressing alike.”

Apparently, Cassandra felt the same way. “I thought she was cool,” Cassandra said to GMA. “We just kind of hit it off right away. It was very natural.”

According to them, coworkers were always telling them that they looked like sisters. But when the two of them cross-referenced their birth certificate, their information didn’t add up.

“Papers said we were from two different cities [with] different last names,” Julia explained. “And, our mothers’ names on our paperwork were different.” But the two women believed they were somehow connected–they just didn’t know how.

The mystery finally began to unravel after Cassandra took a 23andMe DNA test.

Through 23andMe’s genetic database, Cassandra tracked down her biological family in the Dominican Republic through a first cousin. She then traveled to the DR where she met her bio-family for the first time–an incredibly emotionally experience. While Cassandra’s bio-father was still alive, her bio-mother had passed away in 2015 from a heart attack.

Years later, Cassandra finally pressed her bio-father on whether or not he had put up another child for adoption. While at first he was hesitant to talk about the painful memory, he finally admitted that he had, indeed, put another child up for adoption years ago.

It was then that Cassandra finally urged Julia to take a DNA test so they could finally put their questions to rest.

The results came back on January 28th, 2021 and finally confirmed what they had long suspected: they were biological sisters.

The entire ordeal has been both thrilling, joyful, and emotionally taxing for the women. At times, it has even been bittersweet, considering the trauma their biological family endured in the past.

“On top of the DR being a very poor country, [our family] couldn’t take care of us,” Julia explained. “I was [born] 17 months later and they weren’t ready.”

All in all, Julia summed up how she feels about the situation in a very direct way: “This is the type of thing you see on TV.”

We couldn’t agree more!

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Beauty Queen Who Was Abandoned At An Airport As A Baby Reconnects With Her Birth Mother 40 Years Later

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Beauty Queen Who Was Abandoned At An Airport As A Baby Reconnects With Her Birth Mother 40 Years Later

Marcel Thomas / Getty

Like many adopted children, Elizabeth Hunterton grew up aware that her nonbiological parents loved her. According to a recent interview with the former beauty pageant queen, she also had many dreams and ideas of how she came to be one of millions of children to be adopted every year in the United States.

As a young girl, Hunterton spent her youth dreaming that she’d come from royalty and had “been lifted away on the talons of a majestic eagle.”

Eventually, she learned that the truth was far more personal and tragic.

In January 1980, Hunterton was abandoned at the gate of a Nevada airport by two pilots

“I was about 10 days old,” Hunterton explained to People magazine in a recent interview. “I grew up my entire life trying to figure out what I did in those 10 days that ultimately led to them saying, ‘Let’s just leave her at the airport.'”

While Hunterton was adopted into a home soon after her abandonment the beauty pageant queen says in the years after, she often lamented a part of her life that she felt was missing. Fortunately, after taking a 23andMe test this past August, Hunterton has connected with her biological mother for the very first time.

Having had little to work with in regards to finding her biological parents (this includes having no birthplace, birth date or race) made life difficult for her when she was younger.

“It was really through this process of finding my birth mother that I’m able to rewrite my narrative,” she explained in the interview with People. “I had really prepared myself to be rejected by both sides of my biological family… And It ended up being so much more beautiful than anything I could’ve written.”

Hunterton was raised by a white family and crowned Miss Nevada in 2004.

Despite having a happy and loving upbringing, Hunterton felt lost about the uncertainty surrounding her own race. According to People, she often wondered if “everyone from her friends to her Starbucks barista were somehow related to her.”

“When this all started unfolding, there were certainly points that I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I’ll just walk away now,’ because it just got hard,” she explained. Eventually, in 2018, DNA databases helped Hunterton track down her biological father. Unfortunately, she soon discovered that he had died in 2004, and had never known she had been born.

Soon enough her search brought her to 23andMe where her profile found a few hits in March. Eventually, Hunterton reached out to three different women hopefully that one of them would be a match. All three ultimately proved not to be a match and Hunterton decided to give up after so much disappointment.

“I pulled out my bucket list, crossed it off, wrote her name down, and that was it,” she explained before sharing that just as she began to change her focus back to raising her 5- and 6-year-old sons, she received a ping for another connection. This time it came from a second cousin who offered to help put her in contact with her birth mother.

Hunterton soon learned that she had a Black father and a Japanese mother both of whom met at the Fort Ord military base. She also learned that she was born in a hospital in California and had not been intentionally abandoned.

“When I received her email, she shared that she wasn’t able to take care of me as she believed I deserved,” Hunterton explained to People. “Therefore, she gave me to her roommate who was supposed to take me to an adoption agency. When my birth mother was told that I was actually left at the airport instead, it took quite a toll.”

Hunterton explained because of her connection to her biological mother she was able to track down her birth certificate.

In an emailed statement to People Hunterton’s biological mother explained that at first she was “surprised, scared and truly overwhelmed” by the idea of meeting her daughter.

“I was shocked to hear from her and by the amount of research she did. It was all very overwhelming and brought back a lot of painful memories,” her biological mother who remains anonymous to People but shared that she is 65-year-old explained. “However, it’s also a tremendous blessing to find out what a strong and wonderful woman she turned out to be. One day, when we’ve all healed a bit more, hopefully, we’ll be able to meet.”

“She has such a good heart,” Hunterton explained of her mother. “We exchange occasional emails and texts and holiday niceties. But the good thing is, I have a mom. I don’t need to put any unfair, unrealistic expectations on her. I just give her permission to be exactly who she is and it’s perfect.”

“She’s now giving herself permission to live her life and it’s actually pretty beautiful,” Hunterton went onto explain of her biological mother. “She says, ‘All my hopes and dreams are in you. I never thought that anybody that looked like you could come from me, somebody that’s poised and eloquent and successful. Those are just things that never happened for me. But here you are.’ So now she’s living her life, and it’s pretty beautiful to watch her heal and kind of come to life… I think that was a really beautiful way for the story to unfold, that in the end, it flowed so beautifully, both through my mom, myself and my birth mother. It really kind of unified all three of us in different ways. But it was all I could’ve ever hoped for to hear from her.”

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Rosario Dawson Talks About Adopting Her Daughter When She Was 11-Years-Old: ‘It Was Clearly Meant to Be–She’s My Kid’

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Rosario Dawson Talks About Adopting Her Daughter When She Was 11-Years-Old: ‘It Was Clearly Meant to Be–She’s My Kid’

Photo via Getty Images

Rosario Dawson is opening up about a topic that’s near and dear to her heart that’s not talked about very much in the media: adoption. In 2014, Rosario Dawson adopted an 11-year-old girl who was in the foster care system.

Recently, Dawson opened up about the growing pains her and her now 17-year-old daughter, Lola, have went through together.

Although the actress of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent usually keeps her daughter’s life private, she gave the public a glimpse into their relationship in an interview with Health.

When asked to describe her “special bond” with her daughter, Dawson said that she was grateful for Lola’s “development, our maturation, and our connection.” She went on to explain how unique the experience of adopting an older child is than adopting a younger one. But Dawson explain that she is grateful for the differences.

“She moved in [with me] at 11; she’s 17 now and going to be 18 soon,” Dawson revealed.

“To have a young person move in with you and to have to really consciously work through triggers and that kind of stuff is a really different thing than being pregnant and having your baby grow up in front of you—to be able to see how we’re getting closer and closer.”

Like many people who are attracted to adoption, Dawson says she had wanted to adopt a child since she was a young girl, when she found out her dad wasn’t her biological father.

“I don’t know my biological father. Apparently, he died in 2011, but I didn’t have a relationship with him…I recall thinking, ‘What if my parents hadn’t met, and I was older, and no one wanted to marry my mom because she had an older kid?’ I remember vividly back then saying that when I was older I was going to adopt an older child.”

Dawson also explained the incredible story behind adopting her daughter, whom she knew through a mutual friend.

“I didn’t go to an adoption center or anything like that,” she said. “My family knew her biological mom, and when we found out she was in foster care, we looked for her. It wasn’t even a question; it was clearly meant to be—she’s my kid. It’s wild to think I manifested this when I was younger.”

We love seeing stories of diverse familias who prove that families aren’t about blood–they’re about bonds. And we love the fact that Rosario Dawson is shining a light on older children in the foster-care system. As Dawson summed up so perfectly in her touching interview: “We are a family, and it’s beautiful.”

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