Reunions
Man meets daughter for 1st time after 40 years of not knowing she existed
John was in disbelief when he received a message from a woman saying she was his 40-year-old daughter. But it turned out to be the greatest gift.
Irene Markianou
12.17.21

Having lived most of your life with one child, to find out that you also have another one that was born when you were just finishing high school is quite a shock.

Unsplash - Omar Lopez
Source:
Unsplash - Omar Lopez

John Gonzalves did have a high-school sweetheart, but after they graduated they kind of grew apart. Two decades later, John’s daughter was born and he and his wife couldn’t be happier.

Sadly, a few years later, he lost his wife. That was when he and Robin, his daughter, realized that from then on, they only had each other.

YouTube - CBS Mornings
Source:
YouTube - CBS Mornings

But this was not accurate. There was someone else out there sharing their DNA, who would soon become part of the family.

As John’s 59th birthday was approaching, Robin decided to get him something original, a gift that he wouldn’t have received before.

An at-home AncestryDNA test sounded like a good idea.

Unsplash - ANIRUDH
Source:
Unsplash - ANIRUDH

John had always talked about wanting to find possible European origins in his genealogical tree, and they had recently been discussing this kind of test. So, it sounded like a good idea.

Meanwhile, only three miles from the Gonzalves’ home, Jeanie Siciliano, 40, was looking for her biological father.

YouTube - CBS Mornings
Source:
YouTube - CBS Mornings

Born in 1977, she was adopted by a couple and she lived a happy childhood. At the age of 19, Jeanie decided to look for her biological parents, and that’s how she found her mother.

However, she had no clue who her biological father could be.

YouTube - CBS Mornings
Source:
YouTube - CBS Mornings

Jeanie was super curious because “my birth mother is Italian and Irish, and she’s very fair, and so I was curious where my physicality came from. I wanted to know what my heritage was”.

So, she took an at-home DNA test hoping that she could find some solid information about her heritage.

Jeanie told CBS News:

“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 this guy is my biological father. Oh my gosh.'”

YouTube - CBS Mornings
Source:
YouTube - CBS Mornings

Soon after this discovery, she decided to send him a message, letting him know that she was his daughter.

How did John feel when he read it? Well, that was quite a shock, mostly because he had no idea he had another child.

YouTube - CBS Mornings
Source:
YouTube - CBS Mornings

“I was stunned,” John said. “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’. And then I started to cry. I felt joy. I was like, ‘This is such a great gift.'”

Two months later, father and daughter met each other for the first time, as did the two half-sisters.

Jeanie was excited about having a sister to share thoughts and feelings with, while Robin was thankful for this female figure entering her life, after her mom’s passing.

YouTube - CBS Mornings
Source:
YouTube - CBS Mornings

“I think that when I lost my mom, the thing that I was most concerned about was, like, ‘How am I going to navigate my dating life, like, without my mom?” Robin told CBS News. “I don’t have too many women figures in my life but losing my mom was really hard. So it’s important to have women to look up to. So having someone like Jeanie is really nice.”

The three of them are happy to be together and plan on making up for the lost time in the years to come.

Press play below to see Jeanie meet her father and sister for the first time. It’s so heartwarming!

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By Irene Markianou
hi@sbly.com
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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