Denise McCarty of Springfield, Vermont, spent 44 years believing her birth family didn’t want her.
Adopted from a South Korean orphanage, she was raised by a family in the U.S. Growing up, she thought she had been abandoned at a hospital because that’s what the adoption agency told her. Little did she know that thousands of miles away, her parents were desperately searching for her.
Denise (born Sang-Ae) had no idea that she also had biological siblings.
In 1976, she and Sang-Hee, her twin sister, disappeared from a market while they were shopping with their grandmother. They were just 3 years old. While their parents brought Sang-Hee home a few days later, they found no trace of Denise. She ended up at an orphanage, where she was adopted.
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While she was growing up in the U.S., her family went to great lengths to find her. They even opened a business in the same market in case she returned. But decades passed without a whisper of their daughter… until this year!
Back in 2016, Denise joined a Korean DNA program that connects U.S. adoptees with their biological families. She took a DNA test on a trip to South Korea — as did her birth mom the following year! This October, they finally matched!
After more than four decades, Denise was reunited with her brother, sister, and mother in an emotional video call. Unfortunately, her grandmother and father have passed away, but she believes they were there with her in spirit.
The craziest part for Denise? She has a twin sister! Not only do they look alike, but they also share some of the same personality traits and interests.
Even though Denise only just learned of Sang-Hee’s existence, the latter has spent her entire life missing her sister.
“We never abandoned you, Sang-Ae,” Sang-Hee said in their reunion call. “We were looking for you every day.”
Denise said she finally feels complete and can’t wait to introduce her biological relatives to her adoptive family. Here’s hoping they can meet in person soon!
“I’ve just got this huge family now that loves me and that I love,” Denise added. “To have that missing piece of what happened to me is just incredibly overwhelming and happy and it makes me feel whole.”
What a powerful moment! We’re so glad this wonderful family is together again!
Grab some tissues as you watch their emotional reunion in the video below, and share this incredible story with your friends.
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