"This reunion has been one of the most powerful moments in my life."
Henrik Erngren Othén, Sweden
This family reunion story is truly miraculous. Against all the odds, Henrik and Maria, full siblings separated in infancy in South Korea and adopted by two different Swedish families, have recently reunited thanks to MyHeritage DNA.
Henrik Erngren Othén 38, and Maria Johansson, 37, were both born in South Korea. As infants, they were in two separate orphanages and were subsequently adopted by two Swedish families. They had never met each other and didn`t even know the other existed.
About a year ago, Maria decided to look into her roots with the hope of learning more about her biological family. She decided to take a MyHeritage DNA test. Around the same time, Henrik also took a MyHeritage DNA test, with the same goal in mind. Shortly after, Henrik opened up the MyHeritage mobile app to discover a new DNA match — Sister! He immediately contacted his match, Maria Johansson, to learn more.
Maria and Henrik connected online, and they looked forward to finally meeting in person after 37 years apart. They planned to meet in Stockholm in March 2018. When the time came, Both their eyes filled with tears of joy and the siblings couldn’t let go of one another. The moment was emotional and powerful.
Henrik remarks how incredible a reunion it was:
“It was so wonderful to finally hug her. Looking in each others’ eyes and discussing all sorts of things. We were very open with each other and we both immediately had a feeling of belonging. We are alike in many ways, we have the same kind of personality, we are both calm, we are open, we are curious, we are both happy to talk about our feelings. It’s amazing!
Henrik and Maria describe their feelings after receiving the magical gift of a sibling!
I have just discovered something absolutely amazing!
It happened at 6:25 this morning! Or, rather, it happened four weeks ago, February 15, at noon. I have been so happy ever since and maybe I have not even fully grasped it all up until now.
So what has happened? As most adopted people do, I had a latent curiosity about my biological origins.
I had previously made a serious attempt to find some biological connections that can be linked to my own chromosomes but with no result. And life goes on, the kids grow, my wife Amelie and I changed jobs and the thoughts of my origins were unconsciously put aside and entered a latent mode again.
One day, in December last year, I saw a promotional campaign from MyHeritage on DNA kits, and this raised my curiosity again. I thought it would be fun and cool to do a DNA test! Maybe I could get a DNA match with a distant relative in the United States! The DNA kit arrived just before Christmas. I swabbed the inside of my cheeks with pedantic accuracy and returned the test back to the lab in the U.S.
The days went by and a new year started. I checked the MyHeritage application from time to time. January turned into February and Amelie and I went to Ikea on a seemingly ordinary day. We had lunch there and I remember saying to Amelie:
“You want to see what the MyHeritage app looks like? You can actually follow the entire lab process there.”
I handed over the phone and Amelie scrolls around a bit in the app. After a short while she burst out: “It says here you have a sister! Maria Johansson, Sweden, age 30!”
I thought she was joking. “Yes, look!” Amelie hands over the phone.
A strange feeling rushed through my body. Looking at the result and at the picture of the person who apparently was my sister, I turned to Amelie, who said, “This is absolutely amazing, Henrik!”
I didn’t fully understand what had just happened but I sent a message via the MyHeritage app to this Maria. She quickly responded and wrote: “Wow, I’m shocked! My heart is beating fast and I’m not sure what to write.”
Ever since that day we have had daily contact. So to my family, friends and colleagues, I would like to ask you all to welcome Maria Johansson into the family and the friendship circle!
Today is a very special day for me, something wonderful happened that I want to share. I’m no longer alone with my Korean heritage. I have a brother, Henrik Erngren Othén, who lives in Sweden.
I was 2 years old when I was adopted to Sweden from South Korea. In recent years I have wanted to find out more about my origins. I went to South Korea on a short trip, hoping to get help with my adoption documents. Unfortunately, there were no results.
Time passed and one day — by chance — I met an English-speaking woman on the train. We started talking as she was curious about my origins. She advised me to do a DNA test to find relatives. I was skeptical for a while but, after a few months, it felt like it was my only hope.
At the beginning of 2017, I ordered a MyHeritage DNA test and I thought that maybe I would find some distant relative, somewhere.
A year went by and I began to accept my loneliness. Then suddenly, in February this year, I was contacted by someone who claims to be my brother. I was alone at home and I was about to pick up my kids at the kindergarten. Just at that moment I was completely frozen, felt my heart beat, did not believe it. My brother was very excited and wanted to get in touch immediately.
I look forward to this new amazing life trip with you, Henrik. We have many years to make up for. We have already had close contact with each other and I am so grateful.
Thank you, Henrik, for taking the DNA test ❤️
When Maria and Henrik reminisce about their first meeting, they agree that there are a few situations in life that rank high above the rest: When they met their partners and when they had their children. They are now adding finding each other through MyHeritage to the list.
“This reunion has been one of the most powerful moments in my life. And in Maria’s.”
The two siblings are currently planning a joint trip to South Korea to discover more about their roots. They hope to get answers about their biological family. They are confident that even more exciting discoveries are still before them.