Nearly forty years after 2 orphaned sisters were separated as children in South Korea they had an astonishing chance reunion after being hired by the same Florida hospital.
Holly Hoyle O’Brien, 46, born Pok-nam Shin, said she had searched for her younger half-sister for most of her life after being adopted by a family in the U.S as a little girl in the late 70s.
It wasn’t until earlier this year, when they were both hired at the same Sarasota hospital, that they became instant friends and suspicious of their powerful bond.
“I was in shock.
I was numb. I have a sister,” Meagan Hughes, 44, born Eun-Sook Shin, told the Herald Tribune of a DNA test’s remarkable results this summer.
Both women spent some of their earliest years in an orphanage after Hughes’ mother ran off with her in the middle of the night, leaving O’Brien with their alcoholic father. Not long later, O’Brien’s dad was killed by a train leaving her alone in the world, they said.
Both girls eventually wound up in orphanages with O’Brien adopted by a family in Arlington, Va., and Hughes taken in by a family in Kingston, N.Y.
within two years of one another.
One night as a child, O’Brien said she woke up in tears saying, “my dad died, I have a sister; we need to find her,” she recalled.
Her adoptive mother contacted the orphanage and asked about her sister but there was none, according to their records. Decades later O’Brien’s husband contacted the orphanage himself to ask the same question but got the same answer.
“But in my heart, I knew,” O’Brien said. “I knew she was out there somewhere.”
As fate would have it, both would eventually move to Florida, Hughes as a teenager with her parents and O’Brien in 2005 with her now ex-husband. They both became certified nursing assistants.
In January O’Brien started working at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota and just three months later Hughes did too.
“One of the patients,” O’Brien recalled to the paper, “told me there was another nurse, named Meagan, who was from Korea. She said you should talk to her, maybe you’re from the same town.”
After connecting, they realized they were not only from the same South Korean city but they shared the same last name and had “abandonment” listed on their orphanage paperwork.
The sisters ordered DNA testing kits from Canada and submitted mouth swabs as samples. When the results came back this August, they were left astonished by the positive results.
“I’m like, this can’t be,” OBrien recalled. “I was trembling, I was so excited, I was ecstatic.”
The sisters have been inseparable since.