Online DNA test leads Holland man to long-lost twin

Nation & World News

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Imagine filling out an online ancestry profile and finding your twin brother. That’s what happened to a Holland man who’s now trying to redraw his family tree.

Gabe Kangas says he signed up for a 23andMe profile a few weeks ago.

“We just wanted to know a little bit more about my history because I don’t have a lot of information about my past,” Kangas said.

Kangas, who was adopted as a baby, has cerebral palsy. He said he and his wife hoped the website could tell him more about his health history, which could help his two children.

To his surprise, the DNA test results showed a relative who had also taken the test.

“According to the report there were like 700 matches,” Kangas said. “Then there was one report that said, ‘He’s got a 50% match to your DNA,’ and I went, ‘Whoa! Who is this guy?'”

Kangas learned it was his fraternal twin, Vince, who lives in Washington state.

“The likelihood of us ever finding each other was very rare,” Kangas said.

They were born in Korea in 1987 and adopted by separate families in the U.S. Kangas said he always knew he had a twin because of medical documents he had access to, but his brother had no idea.

“(Vince) was found in an alley by some policemen. He was given a birthday and a name so we don’t even share any identifying information,” Kangas said.

“I was not expecting to find him really ever. I came to the conclusion in my head that I’ll probably never see him and I would be OK with that but now that I have found him it’s super exciting,” he continued.

The brothers have been communicating via FaceTime. Kangas’ wife said that though thousands of miles and years apart separate them, it’s clear they’re related. 

“They are two totally different people but there were so many things that seemed so similar,” Carissa Kangas said. “They do this clearing of the throat thing.” 

She also joked that neither of them like ranch dressing.

In addition, both of them had interest in serving their country. Kangas spent three years in an ROTC program. His brother served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

The two are planning to eventually meet face-to-face. They say their goal is for their children to one day know each other. 

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