Co-workers’ tattoos uncover family secret
When Julie Tinetti and Cassandra Madison began working at the same bar in 2013 they hit it off instantly.
Not only did the two women share a striking physical resemblance but Julie, 31, and Cassandra, 32, bonded over the fact that they both tattoos of the Dominican Republic flag.
Both women had gotten the tattoos as a tribute to the fact they had both been adopted from the Central American country as babies by families in the United States.
The discovery immediately prompted both Julie and Cassandra to compare adoption certificates, however, they were disappointed to discover the details on each document didn't match up.
"Papers said we were from two different cities (with) different last names. And, our mothers' names on our paperwork were different," Julie told Good Morning America.
But fast-forward to January this year when Cassandra and Julie discovered they were in fact full biological sisters after they were able to track down their birth family through an ancestry DNA test.
'WE STARTED DRESSING ALIKE'
When they began working together at the Russian Lady Bar in Connecticut, Julie and Cassandra quickly formed a close friendship.
"We become friends, start wearing matching clothes, having a blast together and telling everyone we're sisters," Cassandra wrote on Facebook.
"We started hanging out. We would go out for drinks, for dinner. We started dressing alike," Julie told Good Morning America.
Their friendship continued when the pair stopped working together, with Julie and Cassandra attributing their close bond to the fact they had both been adopted.
But then Cassandra began searching for her birth family two years ago, tracking down her biological dad Adriano Luna Collado through a 23andMe DNA test.
'THEY COULDN'T TAKE CARE OF US'
Sadly Cassandra's biological mother Yulianna Collado had died in 2015 after a heart attack.
The discovery led Cassandra to discover she had five biological siblings in the Dominican Republic, but it wasn't until earlier this year that her dad revealed he had another daughter who had been adopted out.
In another surprise twist, Julie's childhood friend Molly Sapadin, had also been adopted from the Dominican Republic as a baby and bore a resemblance to the two other women.
Molly and Cassandra compared adoption papers, which revealed they had the same last name and Yulianna listed as their birth mother.
But a DNA test ruled out Molly as Cassandra's biological sister and instead revealed they were distant relatives.
This prompted Cassandra to find out once and for all if she and Julie were related.
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A DNA test revealed that Cassandra and Julie were what they had long suspected - sisters - while Molly is their third cousin.
Molly and Julie were adopted on the same day and now believe their adoption papers were mixed up by authorities.
Julie and Cassandra have since discovered they were adopted out by their parents as one of their brothers had been seriously ill.
"On top of the DR [Dominican Republic] being a very poor country, they couldn't take care of us," Julie told GMA. "I was (born) 17 months later and they weren't ready."
"Julia and I are not upset with our biological parents. We understand that they did the best they could with what they had," Cassandra told Inside Edition.
Originally published as Co-workers' tattoos uncover family secret