Julie Tinetti and Cassandra Madison first met when they worked together at a bar in New Haven, Connecticut. They grew to be fast friends — they found out they were both adopted, had tattoos honoring their native Dominican Republic and were both raised by single mothers.
They often joked that they were so similar that they could be sisters. Now, nearly a decade after they first met, they have proof.
Tinetti and Madison met while working at The Russian Lady in 2013 and instantly connected as friends. Even coworkers noted how similar the two were.
“I looked at both of them and I was like, ‘You two look alike, like are you guys sisters?’” their former coworker Courtney Ritchotte told WTIC-TV in Hartford, Connecticut.
Even when Madison moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2015, she and Tinetti stayed in touch.
The two always suspected that they may be related, given they had both been adopted from the same country within a few months of each other. But it wasn’t until Tinetti realized that there may have been mistakes on her adoption papers that she began to investigate.
Tinetti’s childhood friend, Molly Sapadin, was also adopted from the Dominican Republic. Their adopted mothers were friends, and according to ABC News, an investigation of their adoption papers showed that they had the same last name, and same person listed as their mother However, a DNA test later revealed that Sapadin and Tinetti were only third cousins, not sisters — leading the two to conclude that Tinetti's adoption papers were wrong.
In 2018, Madison traveled to the Dominican Republic to do more research on her family background. There, she met her biological father, who revealed that he and Madison's mother had given her up for adoption because they were struggling to care for her brother, who was sick.
That’s when Madison’s father revealed that the family had given up another daughter for adoption. Madison quickly called Tenetti and urged her to get a DNA test.
The results came back on Jan. 28 and confirmed the two were biological sisters with the same mother and father. Their story later got viral fame when Madison shared her story on TikTok.
"It's exciting. We've got one more sister," Madison told ABC News. "Especially since Julia [Tinetti] and I were already friends."
"Still processing the magnitude of the situation," Tinetti said. "This is the type of thing you see on TV. Finding my biological family just wasn't a thing for me. I grew up with a great family, so I just kind of left it to what it was."