Rochester woman meets birth mother following at-home DNA test connection

July 22, 2019 06:15 AM

WITCHITA, Kan. (WHEC) — A Rochester woman met her birth mother for the first time this weekend after both their family members connected using a 23andMe, at-home DNA testing kit.

The connection was 55 years in the making for Theresa Miller who had always thought about her birth mother but was too nervous to try and track her down. Then, she and her daughter took the DNA test and the results put them in contact with Miller’s half-sister who helped make the reunion possible.


Both Miller and her birth mother Lennie Castaneda told KSN, the NBC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas, that they had thought about finding one another for most of their lives.  

Castaneda made the difficult decision to put Miller up for adoption right after she was born. 

“I had made the decision because I felt as a single mother back in that particular era, I could not have done for her what an adoptive parent could have,” Castaneda said.

When the DNA results put Miller and her daughter in touch with Castaneda’s other daughter a few months ago, they all decided to meet up. This weekend, Miller and a number of her family members made the trip from Rochester to Wichita to meet Castaneda.

The reunion was an emotional one. 

“She's always been in my heart, but I never wanted to rock the boat,” Castaneda said.

Now, the family is spending time together to try and get to know each other.

“If you don't believe in miracles, we're living it," Miller said. "Fifty-five years later, yeah, it's a miracle."


Jennifer Lewke

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