NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was the discovery of a lifetime — a Long Island woman finally found the brother she never knew she had, but that wasn’t the only surprise for the long lost siblings.
They also discovered they had been living just a few towns apart for decades.
Jennifer Milian says she can’t believe she found her biological half-brother, Brandon Ordonez.
“There’s like a missing piece that’s been filled,” she tells CBS2’s Jessica Borg. The two didn’t know each other existed until recently.
“I see some similarities around here, about the same here,” Brandon said. “We sit the same way.”
Jennifer grew up in a loving adoptive family with two younger siblings but yearned to locate her biological mother in Colombia. Her recent search led her to a Facebook page put together by none other than Brandon, who had already successfully tracked down four other half-siblings from the same birth mother.
“She was either forced, or coerced, or voluntarily decided to produced a lot of children most likely for money,” Brandon said, adding that the adoption industry in Colombia was “very lucrative.”
Making matters even more uncanny, Brandon and Jennifer had no idea that they grew up just a few train stops away from each other on the Long Island Rail Road — Brandon lived in Valley Stream and Jennifer lived in East Patchogue.
The DNA test was all the proof they needed.
“And then I was like, now I can celebrate,” Jennifer said. “Now I can be happy. Now, I can talk to them and meet them and form a relationship.”
40-year-old Brandon says he wishes he knew how close Jennifer was the whole time.
“That would have been a dramatically different way to grow up than being an only child the way I grew up,” he said.
Now, the two say they’re making up for lost time. Jennifer is now an aunt to Brandon’s kids, who are thrilled to have a newfound extended family.