A woman has told how a cancer test led her to discover she and several other siblings were sold at birth by her biological parents.
A woman has shared how a test for breast cancer revealed she was sold at birth alongside seven other siblings.
Reissa Spier, 67, from Surrey, Vancouver, was able to uncover the fascinating secret of her family tree and discover she had several other siblings, The US Sun reports.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 51, she wanted to find whether she was a carrier of BRCA genes, worried she might pass it to her daughter.
“I had to prove that I had a first-degree relative who also had breast cancer, and I didn’t know any first-degree relatives,” she said.
“They said, ‘You don’t qualify because you’re adopted.’ Well, that’s backwards. I should qualify because I’m adopted.”
Years later when she received a DNA test for her 62nd birthday she discovered that she didn’t carry the mutation, alongside an incredible secret.
Not only did she have a number of siblings and half-siblings, but she was also sold by her biological parents along with seven other children.
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She was able to reconnect with her full sister, Rene Holm, 70, who lived in Rutland, Massachusetts.
Holm was adopted by June and Sam Cohen and later moved to Worcester, Massachusetts.
“This couple was together, had a baby girl, and gave her up for adoption. And two a half years later they’re still together” – and then “they gave me up?” Reissa added.
“We both thought this was really sketchy. Why would they have done this?
She later signed up to Ancestry where she connected with her half-brother Bob Bryntwick.
Bob was Anne Bryntwick’s middle child who was born in 1948 and grew up in Montreal with his family.
He had four other siblings Ed, Ann, Barbara and Michael.
Bob, Barbara and Michael were all told their father was Max “Mike” Mitchell.
He recalls his mother was pregnant nearly every year from 1949 to 1957.
“I was young, and I didn’t understand why she would keep on having babies,” he said.
He recalls his brother Ed telling him their other siblings were sold to families; “Mike was getting $US10,000 ($A14,000) per child” he remembers him saying.
Similarly, his sister Barbara said “there was money” when Mike was around.
Reissa kept exploring her family tree using 23andMe and Ancestry and discovered she had another eight siblings from her biological father.
She also discovered she had other siblings as well, Sharon Coppola Naomi Baum, Jon Sherman, and Bram Eisenthal who were all given up for adoption to Jewish families.
Although there are still a lot of questions about her mysterious family background, Reissa is happy to have a relationship with all her siblings.
“It didn’t really hurt me by meeting them. If anything, it enhanced me,” she said.
This article originally appeared in The US Sun and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Woman discovers she and seven siblings were sold at birth