CLIFTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — At-home genetic tests are popular for those looking to explore their heritage and connect with distant relatives, but they can also lead to the unexpected.
CBS2’s Elaine Quijano was on hand recently for a family meeting 40 years in the making.READ MORE: FBI Says Body Found In Grand Teton National Park Believed To Be Gabby Petito
Imagine meeting your child for the first time when you are already 59 years old.
That’s what happened recently to Clifton’s John Gonsalves. When CBS2 caught up to him he was hour away from meeting his daughter for the first time, and was understandably nervous.
“You have to forgive me. It’s not every day that you become a father at 59,” he said.
The twist: She’s 40 years old.
“It’s just as exciting to me to have a daughter who’s 40 years old as one that’s only 1-month-old,” Gonsalves said.
He just found out about her in June.
His other daughter, Robin, was with him.
“I’m just nervous, excited and curious to see what she’s like,” Robin said.
Jeanie Siciliano was born in 1977, the product of John’s high school relationship, and was adopted two months later. When she was 19, she looked for her biological parents. She found her birth mother but not her father, CBS2’s Quijano reported.
“I did some searching, but I didn’t come up with any solid information. So I kind of put that all to the side,” said Jeanie, who lives in Middletown, New York.
But then she decided to submit a DNA test.
“My birth mother is Italian and Irish, and she’s very fair,” Jeanie said. “So I was curious where my physicality came from, and so I wanted to know what my heritage was.
“When I first opened my ancestrydna.com results, and John’s name came up and underneath it it said, “Father,” and I was, like, ‘holy cannoli, (laughter) this guy is my biological father.’ Oh my gosh,” she added.
Soon after, she wrote him a letter, which John read, in part, to Quijano.
“Good morning, John. how are you? So it seems we have pretty similar DNA, LOL. You are listed as my biological father and Robin is listed as my close relative,” John read. “I have been truly blessed in life, and the blessings just keep coming because here you and I are connecting. I very much look forward to hearing back from you. Jeanie.”READ MORE: Public School 79 In East Harlem To Remain Closed Due To COVID-19 Cluster; Remote Learning In Place Until Sept. 28
John said his jaw hit the floor.
“I was stunned. I literally felt the world stop. and the second thought was, ‘This is a scam. There’s no way that I could have a child 40 years old,'” John said. “After I accepted the science of it, I did get really emotional. I said, ‘Wow, this is real,’ and then I started to cry. I felt joy. I was like, ‘This is such a great gift at a perfect time in my life and Robin’s life.'”
Two months later, the big moment arrived.
“Well, I’m about to meet my biological father for the first time, and I’m pretty anxious. And this is all kind of surreal,” Jeanie said before the meeting.
John and Robin could barely conceal their excitement as well.
“That’s her. She matches the picture,” John said as he watched Jeanie drive up and exit her car.
“She’s so white,” Robin said with a laugh.
And then the big moment.
“Daughter!” John said. “Hi.”
“Oh, this is so amazing,” Jeanie said.
“Forty years,” John added.
“I can’t believe it. I love the balloons. I’m like a newborn,” Jeanie said.
A father finally with both of his daughters.
“I get to chat with my daughters. It’s no longer singular. It’s plural,” John said.
“Poor Robin,” Jeanie said with a laugh.
In a way, Robin was responsible for this moment. She gave her dad the DNA kit as a birthday gift.MORE NEWS: NYC Restaurant Owners Sound Off On Vaccine Mandate
“I knew that he wanted it, and I never know what to get him and he had been talking about it,” Robin said. “I gave him the gift of another child basically for his birthday.”