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Julia Tinetti Cassandra Madison, Julia Tinetti and Adriano Luna with their biological father,
Julia Tinetti waited 32 long years to get a hug. This October, it finally happened.
Tinetti, who was adopted at birth and raised by a single parent, is a picture of Tinetti. discovered through DNA testing Cassandra Madison Madison was her best friend and sister last year.
Tinetti was able to meet his biological father and nine siblings in Dominican Republic this year. Right away, they received a warm welcome from their family, who met them at the airport wearing T-shirts with a picture of the pair’s faces. In Spanish, the shirts read “Welcome To Your Family”
Tinetti tells PEOPLE, “The trip was life-changing.”
Julia Tinetti Julia Tinetti’s and Cassandra Madison’s families at the airport wore these shirts.
Tinetti and Madison, now 34 years old, met for the first time in 2013. They were working at a Connecticut restaurant. After learning they were both adopted from the Dominican Republic — and even had matching tattoos of the country’s flag — they quickly developed a bond.
Although they’d previously checked to see if their adoption papers matched up — they didn’t — in January 2021, Madison convinced Tinetti to take a DNA test. They were married. learned that their paperwork was wrongThey were in fact sisters.
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Madison — who took her own DNA test years earlier, connecting with their biological family for the first time in 2019 — couldn’t wait to book a trip to meet them in person.
Madison tells PEOPLE, “I jumped on the plane as fast I could.”
However, her sister was anxious.
Tinetti, a single mom who grew up, always wanted a dad. But, once Tinetti learned more about her biological parents, she was nervous to meet them in person. “I was concerned that they wouldn’t love me as much Cassandra. Is that what they are going to do? She recalls.
She hesitated, and she delayed her trip. She first needed the COVID vaccine. Then she needed a passport.
Madison refused to give up. She was determined to go to the DR to celebrate Catalina’s first Birthday with her entire extended familia.
She claims that Catalina wasn’t supposed to have any grandfathers. “Catalina’s adopted father is not part of my life. My husband’s dad died so she wasn’t supposed to have a grandpa. It is amazing that she has one, and that he is so great.
Julia Tinetti Adriano Luna with his granddaughter Catalina
Another worry for Tinetti was her adoptive family, whom she didn’t want to upset — but they were all supportive.
“Nobody was offended. No one was threatened. Everyone was happy,” she said. Her mother was even on the trip.
Tinetti panicked when the plane touched down.
“I was like, ‘I’m not ready yet. I’m still not ready. She recalls, “I’m not ready yet.” “Cassandra was great though. She basically said, “We’ll take you wherever you are ready.” Just let me know. “
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When she was ready to go, she only heard “cheers!” from her biological relatives.
She recalled, “I was like, ‘Oh my God! They look exactly like me.'” “My father was ahead of everyone and he just came to me and was like, My daughter.’ He started crying.
She continued to post a video of their first hug on TikTokThe video clip has been viewed over 70.000 times. She captioned the clip, “This is THE MOMENT.”
Julia Tinetti Julia Tinetti and Adriano Luna
Tinetti spent the week connecting to her biological siblings. She says that as soon as she met them, she felt like she had found a part of herself that she didn’t know she was missing.
“I grew up thinking, “Oh, well, I was adopted into this big Italian family.” I was perfectly fine with it. Then, when I met them, it was like, “Oh, this is kinda the piece that I had been missing,” she said. Looking back at it now, I can see that I needed it. “
Julia Tinetti Julia Tinetti and Cassandra Madison with their families
Madison claims that even though they’re now back at home, she continues to watch videos of her biological father.
Connecting with his children, including his first granddaughter, her daughter.
Adriano Luna and his wife, who had been in financial difficulties, decided to adopt Madison in 1988. He previously shared with PEOPLE that Madison was placed for adoption because he wanted to give Madison a better future. The couple adopted another child when their second daughter was born less than two years later.
Madison says that Madison’s dad was like a small child. “It was his first time in 35-years that all of his children were together.”
Luna shared his thoughts with PEOPLE about the possibility of reconnecting with his biological sisters last year.nothing can compare to the happiness I feel now.”
Julia Tinetti Cassandra Madison with her daughter, Julia Tinetti and Adriano Luna
Tinetti introduced her family, while she was in Dominican Republic to a very special woman: the woman she intends to marry.
Tinetti met Dereka Mejia, a California-based emergency department nurse. They then connected on TikTok. Tinetti proposed to Dereka in Venice Beach in November. Now she is planning to move cross-country in the latter part of January.
Her family in DR is eager to meet her face-to–face. She said they’re “ecstatic”. “Everyone’s like “When’s that wedding?”
Another moment from their trip, which was captured on TikTok and Tinetti bought a bike for her 13-year-old nephewHe walked for over an hour each day to get to school. This clip has been liked over 10,000 times and has even inspired others to buy gifts for him and the other boys from the DR.
“Everyone wants to help more kids.” “She says.
Also, she created an Amazon wishlist — and says she’s been moved by the amount of people who are sending packages of clothing and sports equipment. Tinetti will receive deliveries from the company on her behalf and either ship them to her home or bring them on a future trip.
“This helped me to see the value in my life,” she said.