SAN DIEGO — Imagine finding out after almost 80 years that you have an older sister who had been waiting nearly her entire life to meet you.
DNA technology helped facilitate an emotional meeting for one Chula Vista woman whose 87-year-old half-sister had grown up in Panama. This week, the two sisters finally had the opportunity to meet face-to-face.
Francisca Freeman, who is 87-year-old, was born in 1931 in Panama. Her father, Frank Freeman, was a sailor stationed at that time in Panama. He had a relationship with Francisca’s mother, but was then transferred when Francisca was only eight months old.
As only child, Francisco grew up extremely poor in Panama and never met her father. Eventually, she learned that years later, he went on to marry and had six other children in the United States – her half-siblings.
Her half-siblings new nothing of their older half-sister living in Panama until DNA technology brought them together.
Nancy Freeman, who is 77-years-old, had no idea she had a sixth sibling until her daughter, Dawn, used Ancestry DNA and matched with Francisca’s granddaughter, who also used the Ancestry DNA test.
The two began communicating and quickly determined that Francisca and Nancy shared the same father.
Francisca said it has been a blessing that her family has so warmly accepted her – even flying her out to San Diego from Miami – where she now lives.
At the age of 87, Francisca is now learning about the family she had always wanted to meet her entire life.
Divided now only by language, the two sisters have been using a translation device to communicate, but so much of what they are learning about each other transcends language.
Described by Francisca as a miracle, a lifelong connection that may never have been realized without technology.