Happy tears and warm embraces put an end to 70 years of mystery. In Jean Celletti’s home in Rhode Island, she reunited with her older sister, Patricia Milliken, from Tennessee.

Patricia was only a toddler when her mother placed Jean with a couple for adoption. Patricia only learned of the adoption after their mother had passed away. She spent many years searching for her long lost sister, but after hitting several brick walls with her research, she eventually lost hope.

In February, Jean received her matches from a DNA kit her son Michael gave her for Christmas. The two were able to reunite a few months later, and the two of them were delighted to be able to know each other. “I was always afraid my sister wouldn’t like me. And she does. And I like her. So I feel good that my sister finally found me with the help of my kids,” said Jean.

Jean has five children, and she has always been curious about her roots. She had a good life, and her adoptive parents were wonderful. She discussed with WPRI how even through all of the good times she could still feel the stigma associated with adoption. “When you’re a kid growing up,” Jean said, “you have this feeling that even though good people adopted me that you weren’t wanted.”

Many adoptees spend their lives looking for answers. They want to know who and where they come from. They wonder what their ethnicity is and which family member they look like. Some need crucial medical history information. Each one has a different reason for the search. With the ever growing popularity of DNA testing and open adoption, many more adoptees are finding their roots. Each year new states are opening sealed adoption records. Maybe one day we can end the secrecy and stigma felt by so many.