When two coworkers discovered they were long-lost sisters, it sounded like something out of a movie. They had an instant connection when they met and quickly became best friends. However, they wouldn’t learn about being sisters until eight years later.
Julia Tinetti and Cassandra Madison met in 2013 while working at the Russian Lady Bar in New Haven, Connecticut. They both had tattoos of the Dominican Republic flag and had both been born and adopted from that country. After bonding over their similarities, the coworkers started hanging out all the time outside of work. They would go out for drinks and dinner and even started dressing alike!
An instant connection
But, when Tinetti and Madison compared adoption papers, they were disappointed that they didn’t match. Tinetti said that they were from two different cities according to the papers and had different last names. Their mothers’ names on the paperwork also were not the same.
Even though the papers said they weren’t related, they both felt an overwhelming connection with each other. Not only did they look similar, but their birth dates and backgrounds were uncannily alike. Tinetti was born in the Dominican Republic in 1989 and adopted shortly after. Madison also was adopted shortly after being born in 1988 in the DR.
Madison told Good Morning America she strongly felt she and Tinetti were long-lost sisters. However, the discrepancies in the adoption papers made her have doubts.
When Madison moved to Virginia Beach in 2015, the two remained close, often talking on social media. Madison couldn’t shake the feeling about she and Tinetti being related and wanted to dig deeper into her ancestry. She got her to wish in 2018 when her adoptive mom bought her a 23andMe DNA genetic testing kit for Christmas. Through the results, she was actually able to find several distant relatives.
How a friend connects the dots, confirming they’re long lost sisters
Molly Sapadin, a childhood friend of Tinetti, helped solve the mystery about the two coworkers’ relationship. Sapadin had been adopted from the Dominican Republic as well in 1990, shortly after her birth. Sapadin and Tinetti’s adoptive moms had been friends while the two girls grew up in New Haven.
Because of this connection, Sapadin and Madison compared their adoption papers. Sapadin thought they could perhaps be half-sisters since their last names matched. According to the paperwork, they also had the same birth mother. All three women believe that since Sapadin and Tinetti got adopted on the same day, their papers must’ve gotten switched.
Sapadin said a DNA test revealed that Madison is actually her third cousin, not her half-sister. However, she still felt excited to learn more about her biological family. According to Good Morning America, Tinetti and Sapadin have the same mom listed on their adoption papers. However, they want to do more DNA testing to confirm whether the woman is their biological mom.
Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together
Madison ended up connecting with a first cousin who helped her find her biological father, Adriano Luna Collado. He still lives in the Dominican Republic, but sadly, her mom Yulianna Collado died in 2015 of a heart attack.
However, through genetic testing, Madison found that she had many other relatives in the DR. In 2018, she flew to her home country to meet her seven siblings and biological father. While there, she asked her dad if he had ever given up another baby for adoption.
He said he had, only because one of Madison’s brothers had a serious illness at the time. They couldn’t care for the other child and look after her brother, so they had to make a tough decision. During this conversation, Madison just knew that it was Tinetti who he had given up for adoption. On January 28, a DNA test Tinetti took finally confirmed their hunch – they were actually long-lost sisters!
Happy news, but with awkward timing
They were thrilled with the news, but the whole family has had a lot to process.
“Still processing the magnitude of the situation,” she told Good Morning America. “This is the type of thing you see on TV. Finding my biological family just wasn’t a thing for me. I grew up with a great family, so I just kind of left it to what it was.”
However, after the pandemic eases, she hopes to fly down to meet her family in person. They’ve been video chatting to get to know each other.
Thank goodness for modern DNA testing, which put together the pieces of a very complicated puzzle. The DNA tests showed that the adoption agency had accidentally switched Sapadin’s and Tinetti’s papers. Because of this, it took eight years for Madison and Tinetti to make sense of their deep connection. They aren’t just best friends – they are long lost sisters – now reunited forever.
DNA tests also revealed that Sapadin has a twin with whom she hopes to connect with.
This story had a happy ending, but not all adopted children share the sentiment about finding their biological family. Madison advises anyone looking for their birth family.
“Be prepared. They may not want to meet you and may have closed that chapter of their life,” Madison also said on Good Morning America. “For me, it’s always been, ‘I’m going to find these people if it’s the last thing I do.’ I was going to die trying.”
This story is nothing short of a divine miracle. Tinetti and Madison never would’ve imagined that their friendship would lead to them finding out they’re sisters. Through DNA testing, they even found out that Tinetti’s childhood friend is their cousin! Hopefully, the whole family can soon have a big, happy reunion and make up for the lost time.
Do you know anyone who found out they were actually long-lost sisters? Please share your stories in the comments!