Two orphaned South Korean sisters were recently reunited by chance in Florida after they were hired by the same hospital 40 years after their adoptions by different sets of American parents, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
Holly Hoyle O'Brien, 46, and her half-sister Meaghan Hughes, 44, were orphaned in their native Pusan, South Korea in the mid-1970s when their father, an alcoholic, was hit by a train, the sisters told the paper. Neither can recall their mothers.
Meaghan — whose birth name is Eun-Sook Shin — was adopted first in 1976 and grew up in Kingston, New York, the paper reported.
Holly, or Pok-nam Shin, was adopted two years later and went to live barely 300 miles away in Alexandria, Virginia. Haunted by thoughts of her biological sister, she contacted the orphanage in South Korea years later but could find no records of Eun-Sook, she told the paper.
Their chances of reuniting got a boost this year when both were hired just months apart at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota. Meaghan had been living in the area since 1981 after her family moved there. Holly arrived in Sarasota in 2005.
The hospital told Reuters that the sisters were not immediately available to speak on Monday.
They met working the same shift and quickly discovered they had unusual similarities, the sisters said in a joint video interview posted on the Herald-Tribune website. They ordered DNA kits and the lab results came back positive Aug. 17.
"I knew in the back of my mind she's somewhere out there and I never gave up on her," Holly said in the video before breaking down in tears.
Their story, however rare, is not without precedent.
In July, the New York Times reported the case of two pairs of Colombian identical twins who were mixed up at birth due to a hospital error and raised by separate families as fraternal twins, only to be reunited at age 24 after friends spotted the uncanny resemblance.
In 2013, two Florida-born women adopted by different parents discovered each other in a creative writing class at Columbia University, according to media reports.
The Shin sisters in Florida say they never imagined working in the same profession, let alone the same hospital.
"But I'm glad I joined in this field instead of something else," Holly said in the video, laughing.