When the sisters first spoke to each other, they realized they had a lot of similarities in their gestures and mannerisms.
Mary McLaughlin found out she had a sister at the age of 56, up until which she had no idea she had a sibling.
Diane Ward, her elder sister lived in Pittsburgh for a very long time, while McLaughlin was in Detroit, Michigan. Not only were they related, but they had also spent some part of their childhood within 15 minutes of each other.
They lived a few blocks away in Michigan while growing up visiting their adoptive relatives in each other's cities without knowing they had a sister. They found each other after submitting a DNA test through MyHeritage.
They reportedly went to the same bakery but had never met. “We were basically just crossing back and forth most of our childhood. It’s just weird. Creepy weird. Because we were just in the same circle the whole time,” said Ward, reported PEOPLE. “Maybe we did see each other. Maybe we were even sitting at the same ice cream stand. Who knows?”
McLaughlin's biological mother, who she grew up with, left her with the babysitter and never returned. McLaughlin's babysitter and her husband became her legal guardians. McLaughlin said her mother—who passed away from breast cancer when McLaughlin was 26—became a peripheral figure but refused to relinquish rights.
Thanks to DNA and genealogy research, these two sisters were finally able to meet face-to-face. https://t.co/c2qQCwfZRQ— Nice News (@nicenewshq) July 3, 2022
McLaughlin remembers searching for somebody with the same last name as hers since she was 10 years old. "So, there's always been a curiosity there, but I never in a million years thought I had a sister," said McLaughlin. Later, she learned that their biological mother had not been married to either of the two women's biological fathers.
Ward is three years older than McLaughlin and always knew about her adoption.
Ward used MyHeritage for the DNA testing hoping to learn about her heritage. She got connected to a maternal cousin who directed her towards McLaughlin. The pair connected and were overwhelmed at learning of having a half-sister.
In June 2022, Ward and her husband flew from UK, where they live now, to meet McLaughlin and her family for the first time. They caught up on each other's lives at Nags Head Beach in North Carolina and found that they were very similar people.
"I was just gobsmacked," said McLaughlin. "And in a great way. There were too many weird similarities, and characteristics, and quirks and 'isms' that we share, so that I was like, 'Oh, okay. I think this could be a biological thing.'" McLaughlin said they felt like 5-year-olds after talking to each other for the first time. They spoke for 3 hours straight on a Zoom call. They were eager to learn things about each other and realized even much of their mannerisms were similar.
"We have the same gestures. Absolutely our favorite food is Mexican. We're both absolute shopaholics. We both have the same very dark sense of humor," said Ward.McLaughlin recalls her husband taking one look at Ward and noticing the similarities. "He went, 'I see you right there.' I promise you, I was kind of brought to my knees, so to speak, because it was like my grandmother, my great-grandfather, and my mother all staring back at me," said McLaughlin.
Ward jokingly said her daughter got annoyed at seeing them together and said, ''Oh great. Now there's two of you, one on each continent."
Cover Image Source: My Heritage