NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Two New Yorkers who now live an ocean apart have found a special connection through a global DNA test.
They’re sharing their story in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.
Debra Biagini and her father are often called two peas in a pod; completing each other’s sentences and sharing endless laughs together.
When in reality however, they just met.
“That’s a moment I don’t think I can put into words. It’s surreal to find yourself at almost 60 and your reality has just changed,” Debra Biagini said.
Thanks to a MyHeritage DNA test, the two found each other without even knowing they were looking.
Just days before her 60th birthday, Biagini took the test from her home in Rome, Italy. Her results were shocking.
“Theodore Roosevelt Britton Jr… Underneath it said, ‘estimated relationship, father.’”
Biagini learned her father is a U.S. ambassador and congressional gold medal recipient who moved down to Atlanta from New York 20 years ago.
He used to work with her mother at a bank in New York. By the time she learned she was pregnant, they were no longer in touch.
Biagini had no idea the man that raised her was not her biological father until she took that test.
“You are the same person but there’s something different now than what you thought prior to seeing those results.”
Britton was just as shocked. He took the test out of pure interest in genealogy.
He had no idea Biagini was even born, but was happy to take on the role of father for a fifth time – in his 90’s.
“She’s an interesting person, I still have about maybe about 50,000 more questions, so I’m pumping her for information all the time,” Britton said.
The two finally met in Poland last year. Since then, they’ve been making up for lost time, traveling together and speaking almost every day when they’re apart.
“I never have regrets. I only know there’s a future you have to cover and you don’t wait until next week to cover it. You start today,” Britton explained.
While in New York, both of them plan to meet as many of each other’s relatives as possible and enjoy their time together before returning home.
Biagini’s mother passed away 16 years ago, but would reportedly mention Britton quite frequently and speak very highly of him.