DNA Wonders: Long Lost Brothers Reunite in their 50s

Two brothers, Nic and David, grew up knowing they were adopted. They knew that their mom was too young to take care of them and that life had been hard on her, but what they didn’t know was that they had each other. For most of their lives, each sibling believed he was their mother’s only son.

Nic Bannister and David Lloyd / Old family photos / DNA testing
Source: Getty Images

That is, until they decided to purchase a DNA kit. In a miraculous turn of events, the results uncovered a life-altering secret: Nic and David are brothers who live only a few hours away from each other AND had met 30 years before at a concert. “If someone had told me two years ago this was how my life would have developed, I’d never have believed them,” Nic stated.

Here’s what they have to say about the emotional reunion.

He Never Cared to Dig Into His Past

Nic Bannister grew up knowing he was adopted. It was never a secret, and it was never something he was ashamed of. He knew had been born to a 15-year-old girl in the ‘60s who had likely been through a lot when she became pregnant with him. But what he didn’t know was that his mom had given birth to another son 18 months later.

A happy boy is playing with a toddler on a grassy field.
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He grew up an only child and often wondered what it would be like to have siblings, someone to play with. That being said, he never cared to dig too much into his past and was never overly interested in contacting his birth mom or looking for any hidden siblings.

His Mom Wasn’t Interested in Talking

It was Nic’s wife, Jacqui, who was curious about his murky past, especially after giving birth to two boys and establishing a family of their own. She managed to track down Nic’s birth mom and phoned her on his 40th birthday, thinking it would be a kind and surprising gesture.

A man is sitting on an old sofa while writing.
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Sadly, Nic’s mom wasn’t interested in talking. He wrote her a letter, to which she responded, “Please don’t contact me again.” Rejected and hurt, Nic was about to give up on his past until his wife brought home a DNA kit which sparked his curiosity.

His Wife Urged Him to Do It

Jacqui had previously purchased a DNA test for herself and decided it was a good idea to hand her husband one as well. Nic sent the kit to the lab and gave his wife the log-in details so she could check the results online once they arrived.

A 23andMe DNA testing kit.
Photo by Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A year later, the results came in. Nic was on a family holiday in Cuba when he heard the news. He was back from his fishing trip when Jacqui came running to him, saying, “I’ve got something really exciting to tell you!”

He Needed Time to Process It

At the time, Nic was going through some legal stuff with his commercial cleaning business. So, he assumed Jacquie was referring to his work issues when she approached him. So, when she told him he had a younger brother, he felt “strangely deflated. [He] needed time to process it.”

A man looking like he is going through a lot as a woman sits beside him and tries to comfort him.
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The DNA kit revealed that Nic had a younger brother named Dave who lived near Liverpool. The following morning, he woke up and told his wife, “Well, I suppose I’d better get up and email my brother.” Initially, saying “brother” felt weird, Nic admitted, but now “it sounds comforting.”

Nic Saw David Perform

Back from Cuba, Nic was preparing himself mentally for the meeting. They were planning on doing it halfway between their homes (a neutral choice) until Nic suggested that David come to their place in Yorkshire, where he could appropriately host him.

Half Man Half Biscuit performing live at the Cornbury Music Festival.
Photo by Steve Thorne/Getty Images

Their first proper meeting went great. Incredibly, the two discovered that they had been in the same room unknowingly 30 years before! Apparently, David was in a band throughout the ‘80s called Half Man Biscuit, and Nic had seen them play once in Blackburn (a town in Lancashire, England).

He Knew He Had Found a Great Brother

Nic’s birthday was three days after their meeting. As a gift, David sent his newfound brother a package of Hawaiian beer. “It was awful!” Nic laughed. Still, the gift made both him and Jacqui tear up. “I was touched when a package arrived,” he recalled.

Bottles of Hawaiian beer.
Source: Pinterest

David wanted to impress his brother with something “exotic,” but Nic insisted that he shouldn’t have gone to such great lengths to wow him. He was extremely grateful and knew straight away that he “had found a great brother.”

Their Families Have Come Together

Nic and Dave have met up several times since their first meeting. David’s family, including his sister’s kids, now hang out with Nic, Jacqui and their kids. They spend weekends together and often go camping across the country. Nic calls their get-togethers “a big success.”

A group of family members greeting one another before sitting down for an outdoor meal together.
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Dave welcomed Nic into his life with open arms. He even introduced him to his nephews, saying, “This is your uncle, Nic.” Being unconditionally received into his brother’s life has meant a lot to Nic. Nowadays, whenever something interesting happens in Nic’s life, Jacqui and David are the first people he texts!

“Look What You’re Missing Mom”

Nic’s one regret is not having met David earlier in his life. He believes that if they had known they were brothers in their 20s or 30s, they would have done all sorts of fun things together. “I might have helped him develop a taste for decent beer,” Nic laughed.

A photo of Nic and David.
Source: Reddit

Nic’s adopting mom said she would have gladly adopted David if she had known they were related, but, sadly, she was never informed he had a brother.

At times, Nic and David consider sending their birth mom an email saying, “Look what you’re missing. Your two sons are the best of friends. Isn’t that a happy ending to whatever you went through in the ’60s?”

David’s Side of the Story

A self-confessed hypochondriac, David Lloyd has always been a bit tense and fidgety, but after he turned 50, he began to wonder what was in store for him. He had been through a difficult period, caring for a loved one with a brain tumor. After seeing them pass away at a young age, his priorities changed.

A photo of David Lloyd.
Source: Reddit

He decided to purchase a DNA kit to find out if there were any hidden, life-altering secrets he didn’t know about. He signed up, spat into the test tube, and send it off to the lab in hopes of discovering something new about himself.

A Whole New Meaning to Life

David never imagined his results would reveal he had a brother living just 50 miles away. In addition to finding out about Nic, David also discovered he had several cousins living in the U.S. Uncovering all of that new information was extremely overwhelming. Yet, it added a whole meaning to his life.

A man looking at a computer screen with a look of shock and surprise.
Photo by DjelicS/Getty Images

Nowadays, many people use DNA kits to trace their roots. But when David purchased the kit, it was more to find out whether he would go bald in a few years than whether he had a long-lost brother! After finding Nic, David said he couldn’t care less about the test’s other results.

A Nervous Mess

David loves his adopted family, but when he heard of Nic, he knew he had to reach out. Writing his brother an e-mail would prove to be one of the hardest things he’s ever had to write. “Looking at it now, I cringe,” he shared, “I sound like Miss Marple.”

a young man working at home, typing on the laptop.
Photo by lechatnoir/Getty Images

Excited and nervous, he struggled to write naturally, resulting in tense lines like “How curious. It would appear that we are related…” But none of that really mattered. Both brothers were so eager to see each other that they could have written absolute babble to one another, and it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

It Was Like Preparing for a First Date

At first, David kept his discovery a secret from his parents. He didn’t want them to think he was out there looking for something they couldn’t give him. He assumed it was best first to meet Nic in person and then take it from there.

A man is sitting on the bed with his hand on his forehead looking rather nervous.
Photo by Ophòlie Fas/Getty Images

On the day of their first meeting, David felt like he was preparing for a job interview or, even more nerve-wracking, a first date. He changed outfits about four times and even got a bottle of hair dye to redo his look. He rehearsed how their conversation would go, coming up with funny little sentences along the way.

They Joked About Each Other’s Accents

Before meeting in person, the brothers had only communicated through emails and texts. They had never actually heard each other’s voices, so when David got lost on his way to their first meeting, he was nervous about calling him.

A man talking and laughing on a cellphone at home.
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“I’ll never forget hearing his voice for the first time and how northern he sounded,” David shared. Later, Nic told him he was surprised by his Scouse accent.

But despite slight differences in intonation, the brothers found that the way they talked was somewhat similar.

Different Accents, Similar Humor

Neither David nor Nic have seen a picture of their birth mother, so they have no clue whether they resemble her. And while the two of them don’t look very much alike, they find they have a similar sense of humor and even move their hands in a similar fashion when they tell a story.

Two men enjoying discussion in a grassy field.
Photo by The Good Brigade/Getty Images

David recalled their first meeting: “It was freaky to be sitting next to someone who shares your DNA for the first time –it’s something only adopted people can really appreciate. It’s like two missile systems locking on to their target.”

Their Birth Mom Refuses to Acknowledge Them

Like Nic, David decided to write to their birth mother as well. But he got a similar response. Her email back read “Dave, I don’t want to meet you, and I don’t want any further contact.” He was devastated. The only reason he wrote her an email in the first place was because he thought it would make her happy that her two children were getting along.

An older woman is using a laptop as she types.
Photo by Robert Nicholas/Getty Images

“It must have been a difficult time for her back in the ‘60s,” David explained. The brothers have different fathers, so picturing what their mom had to go through at such a young age with different men made both of them terribly upset.

A Committed Brotherhood

Since meeting each other, David and his partner, Stuart, have been spending a lot of time hanging out with Nic and Jacqui, and David even mentioned that all his female friends have developed a massive crush on Nic!

Rearview shot of two unidentifiable brothers sitting in the back of a car at the beach embracing one another.
Photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

Both are fully committed to their new brotherly relationship and are excited to see how it continues to develop. During their second meeting, Nic told David, “Dave, if I’m your brother, then I’m going to be your brother. I have absolutely no clue what that means, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I promise.”

Fighting Over Hair Gel

On their first Christmas together, Nic bought tickets for them to see one of his favorite bands. “That’s the thing we share most, a love of music,” David shared. But their taste isn’t exactly the same. Nic is into bombastic rock tunes from the ‘80s, and Dave is into Abba and gentle female songwriters.

Two men are sitting together on the living room floor as they listen to records.
Photo by 10’000 Hours/Getty Images

The two of them are trying their best to get each other to listen to their preferred songs. “We’re trying to convert each other,” Dave joked. “I have the feeling there’d have been trouble if we’d shared a bedroom as teens. We’d definitely have been fighting over the hair gel.”

They’re Each Other’s Anchors

While Dave isn’t a huge believer in supernatural woo woo, he does appreciate, and is in awe, of the fact that he found Nic at just the right time in his life. “Life has thrown some tough things my way,” he confessed. “Having someone like him has helped anchor me.”

A photo of Nic Bannister.
Source: Reddit

When he first told his adoptive parents about Nic, his mom cried. She said she felt incredibly happy to have someone look after me when they’re gone.

Life throws so many challenges at us and having a family to back us up is one of the most important things a person can have.

A Surge in Family Reunions

Dave and Nic’s moving story is just one out of hundreds of miraculous cases from the last decade. Thanks to DNA testing, people who have always felt that something was missing in their lives, have finally put together the missing pieces.

A female scientist examining DNA sequence results on a digital tablet in a laboratory.
Photo by Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

People have received results that changed the course of their lives completely. People have found parents, siblings, cousins and discovered they have ethnic and geographic origins they could never have imagined.

It Seemed Like a Game

Not all discoveries are happy ones. In some cases, they can be life-shattering. Like the case of Dani Shapiro, a woman who, at the age of 54, discovered that her dad wasn’t her biological father. She discovered it completely by chance after her husband suggested she get the DNA kit “just for fun.”

Dani Shapiro with her father on a ferry ride.
Source: Tumblr

A few months later, the results were in. Shapiro discovered that her beloved dad, who had died in a car crash when she was 23, was not her biological parent. She spent the next few years piecing together the story of who she is, and how she came to be.

She Discovered Her Daughter Was Looking for Her

On a happier note, Wendy Spencer, from New Brunswick, CA, finally found her long-lost daughter through DNA testing. She found herself pregnant at the young age of 17 and had to give her baby up for adoption, yet she never stopped thinking about her over the years.

Wendy Spencer posing with her long-lost daughter Trina Hartlen.
Source: Pinterest

When her daughter, Lindsay, decided to get tested, she discovered she had a sister. That’s when the story of the premature pregnancy came out, and both tried to search together for her lost daughter. Finally, Wendy received a letter back letting her know that her birth daughter, Trina, was looking for her.

“It Felt Natural, Like a Friend I Always Had”

Excited and nervous, the three decided to arrange a meeting—Wendy, her daughter Lindsay, and her first daughter, Tina. Incredibly, when Wendy and Tina stood in front of each other for the first time, they noticed that they were dressed practically the same.

Wendy Spencer is pictured with her daughters Lindsay Maillet, Shawnda Peters, and Trina Hartlen.
Source: Pinterest

But the most incredible part of it all, according to Lindsay, was how easy it all was. “It felt very natural – like she had been there all along, like a friend I had always had. That was one of the most amazing things,” she explained.

They Continue to Chat Daily

Sadly, less than a year after the emotional reunion, Wendy Spencer passed away, after spending only a short amount of time with her newfound daughter. But the reunited sisters remain stronger than ever. “We haven’t looked back and continue to chat almost daily and be in each other’s lives as much as it will humanly allow,” Lindsay noted.

A portrait of a woman using her mobile phone while lying on the bed.
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Tina is a bit shyer than Lindsay, but she doesn’t allow their different temperaments to get in the way. “It will always be a work in progress to integrate a shyer one into a family of loud people,” Lindsay explained, “but we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

She Always Felt Like There Was Something Missing

The reunion has been truly heartwarming for Trina, who claims she has always felt like something was lacking in her life. “I always felt there was something missing, being an adopted child never having a family tree and never truly feeling like I had roots,” she explained.

A close-up on hands holding up vintage family photos.
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Unlike many sad tales of failed reunions and painful rejections, Tina’s story is a happy one which “continues by developing love and a closeness to [her] biological family members.” The sisters remain in touch to this day.

She Tried to Puzzle Her Heritage Together

In the fall of 2017, a woman from Ohio named Erin Chatterton, who didn’t know anything about her biological parents, received a birthday present from her daughter and husband – a DNA kit. Around the same time, in San Diego, a woman named Lisa Rassner took one as well.

Erin Chatterton takes a selfie with her daughter.
Source: Facebook

The results of both tests were life changing, leading to an exceptional reunion 52 years after their separation. Lisa was trying to put the missing pieces of her life together, and Erin was just “taking the test for fun.” Until they discovered a match and things “just snowballed from there.”

Kicked Out of the House

When Erin messaged Lisa telling her they matched as “first siblings,” Lisa was confused as to how it could be. She turned to her dad, who had little to reveal, and then to her stepmom, Leslie, whom her dad married after divorcing her mom. Leslie informed Lisa that she did, in fact, have a baby with her dad before they wed but gave her up for adoption.

Keren Leslie takes a selfie with her stepdaughter.
Source: Reddit

Raised in a religious environment, Leslie was kicked out of her house for getting pregnant out of wedlock. And at only 21, she felt like she had no other choice but to give the baby up for adoption. “It was a really hard time in my life,” Lori’s stepmom told her.

She Blocked the Memory Out of Her Mind

Too painful to think about, Lisa’s stepmom likely blocked the event from her memory and never once dared to speak up about it. But following the DNA results, Leslie agreed to get a test done herself in order to verify whether Erin was her daughter.

Erin and her mother Leslie give a TV interview at the airport.
Source: ABC

The result was positive, and after months of texting back and forth, the family finally met Erin for the first time at the San Diego airport. “My stepmom had always wanted to meet her daughter. She just didn’t think it was going to take 52 years,” Lori said.

Big Hugs and Tears of Joy

The heavily anticipated reunion ended in tears of happiness and long, heartwarming hugs. “Part of me questioned why I was doing this,” Erin admitted, “but I was really excited, and seeing them felt like we’ve known each other our whole lives.”

Erin and her mother embrace in an emotional reunion.
Source: Twitter

Understandably, Erin’s adoptive parents were a bit uneasy about the reunion, but she reassured them that meeting her biological mom “was just the cherry on top” and that she had no regrets whatsoever about their wonderful parenting and her happy childhood.

Ethical Dilemmas

While DNA testing has done wonders for many families, it has also prompted a serious debate surrounding people’s privacy. What if someone doesn’t want to be found? Surely, some of you will agree that certain connections are best left behind.

A scientist viewing a DNA profile results in a laboratory.
Photo by Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Giving your baby up for adoption is a painful event, and many believe that birth parents should be allowed a right to privacy because not everyone wants to relive and be reminded of those dark times. In conclusion, it’s a problematic issue with many questions that don’t have clear-cut answers.