UNION BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A woman in New Jersey hit the sibling lottery after changes to the state’s adoption laws allowed her to trace her family tree.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, Ellen Brotschol Noble grew up thinking she was an only child of Russian and Jewish descent.
Raised in New Jersey, at the age of 9 she was told she was adopted — but there was no mention of any brothers or sisters.
In January, when the Adoptees’ Birthright Act went into effect, Noble was sent her biological birth certificate.
“I looked at my birth certificate and it said I had four siblings,” Noble said.
From there, the 61-year-old was able to find her birth mother’s obituary. Noble says the number 29 has always held some significance in her life. Miraculously, she then found out her mother was born on November 29, 1929.
Noble says the obituary listed the names of her four siblings.
“I had no idea what kind of reaction I was going to get from all of this,” she said.
After some hesitation, she decided to reach out.
“In my note I said ‘I’m not looking to disrupt your family. I don’t want anything, here’s a picture in case of any resemblance, I have a feeling we might be related’,” she said.
Her sister Michelle lives close by, in Old Bridge. Another half-sister lives in Florida.
Through a DNA test, she confirmed that Michelle shared the same father and he was 100 percent Italian.
“Once we determined I was a D, that meant I now have four other half-siblings because my father had four children with his first wife,” Noble said.
If you do the math, that adds to up to 8 brothers and sisters she never knew she had.
“That left me sitting there going ‘you gotta be kidding me’,” she said. “How does anyone go from an only child to one of nine?”
Noble says she’s grateful her newfound family has been so welcoming.
Five of her newfound siblings live close by in New Jersey.