Two women who met at work and bonded over being adopted have learned they are biological sisters years into their friendship after taking 23andMe DNA tests.
Cassandra Madison, 32, and Julia Tinetti, 31, became fast friends when they met as employees at the Russian Lady Bar in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2013. They soon learned that they had a mutual connection to the Dominican Republic, where they were both born and adopted from.
'After that moment, we were so tight,' Tinetti told Good Morning America. 'We started hanging out. We would go out for drinks, for dinner. We started dressing alike.'
Say what? Former co-workers Julia Tinetti (left) and Cassandra Madison (right) learned they were biological sisters last month after becoming friends years before
Wow: The sisters met as employees at the Russian Lady Bar in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2013 and soon learned they were both born in the Dominican Republic and adopted
The former co-workers, who both had tattoos of the Dominican Republic flag, were often told they looked like they could be sisters — enough so that they started to wonder if they were related.
Tinetti and Madison compared adoption papers, but the documents didn't match up. According to the paperwork, they were born in two different cities, and their mothers had different last names.
However, they still felt there had to be a connection between them based on their uncanny resemblance and the fact that they were both born in the Dominican Republic and adopted within a year apart.
Madison ended up moving from Connecticut to Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2015, but she and Tinetti stayed friends on Facebook.
In 2018, Madison's mom gave her a 23andMe DNA test kit for Christmas, which matched her to a first cousin as well as other distant relatives.
Confusing: Tinetti, 31, and Madison, 32, were often told they looked like they could be sisters, but when they compared their adoption papers, the documents didn't match up
Finding family: In 2018, Madison took a 23andMe DNA test that helped her connect with her biological father, Adriano Luna Collado, who still lives in the Dominican Republic
'I did not know that you can find a relative, so that was very much a shock,' she told GMA of finding her biological family.
Madison's cousin helped her locate her birth father, Adriano Luna Collado, who still lives in the Dominican Republic. Her birth mother, Yulianna Collado, died in 2015 after suffering a heart attack.
After finding her relatives, she flew to the Dominican Republic to meet her biological father and siblings for the first time.
During the trip, she asked Collado if he and her mother had given up another child for adoption after she was born.
'He said, "It was just a difficult time for your mom and I. So, I don't like to talk about it. I don't like to think about it,"' she recalled, but he confirmed that they did give up her younger sibling for adoption.
Exciting: After learning her biological parents had given a second child up for adoption, Madison had Tinetti take a DNA test. The test confirmed they were sisters last month
Relatives: Tinetti and Madison are pictured FaceTimeing their birth father, who still lives in the Dominican Republic. They have a total of nine biological siblings
Convinced that Tinetti had to be her sister, Madison had her take a 23andMe DNA test to see if they matched. When the result came back on January 28, it was confirmed that they have the same biological parents.
Madison and Tinetti's birth parents had a total of nine kids together, but they were the only two who were put up for adoption.
Tinetti explained that their mother and father were struggling to care for one of their brothers who was sick when Madison was born.
'On top of the DR being a very poor country, they couldn't take care of us,' she told GMA. 'I was [born] 17 months later and they weren't ready.'
Tinetti said she is excited about finding her birth family and confirming that Madison is her sister, but she admitted she is still 'processing the magnitude of the situation.'
'This is the type of thing you see on TV,' she said, adding: 'People who were adopted are now reaching out to us, which is really special. That to me, [means] more than anything.'