Earlier this summer, Angela Laffin received a frantic phone call from her 19-year-old daughter, Victoria.
“She’s screaming her head off,” Angela tells TODAY.com. “I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I was like, ‘Were you in a car accident? Are you OK?’ And she goes, ‘Me and Frank are brother and sister!'”
Angela was confused — what on earth was Victoria talking about? This was hardly news.
“I said to her, 'Of course you’re brother and sister. I raised you,’” Angela recalls. “And Vicky says, ‘No, Mom. You don’t understand, we’re biological siblings.”
At first, Angela thought Victoria was just playing one of her famous pranks. But this was no joke. Victoria was reading the results of a DNA test.
Victoria and Frank were adopted less than two years apart by Angela and Dennis Laffin, who are also parents to biological son Nick. After struggling with infertility and experiencing two devastating pregnancy losses, the couple, who live in New York, decided to grow their family through adoption.
In 2002, the Laffins adopted a newborn baby named Frank, who was found in a diaper bag on the doorstep of a daycare center on Staten Island. Frank was a “very sweet” baby, but he was “allergic to most things in this world,” according to Angela.
“He never slept because he was up all night scratching,” Angela says. “We had to hold him all night so he wouldn’t injure himself and wake up bloody.”
The Laffin's agreed they had their hands full, and decided Frank would be their last child.
“Haha,” Angela says now.
When Angela phoned the adoption agency to close their home, she casually inquired about a baby who had been discovered in a bathroom stall at Richmond University Medical Center, formerly St. Vincent's Hospital, on Staten Island.
“My caseworker was like, ‘Why? Are you interested?' I said, ‘It’s a girl, right?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ And I didn’t need a second to think about it. I said, ‘I want her.’ I didn't even call my husband!"
Today, Victoria is a 19-year-old college student studying psychology and creative writing. Frank, 20, hopes to become a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service. He also recently lost 80 pounds and is toying with the idea of opening a fitness center.
“They’ve never given me a day of trouble,” Angela says. "They've always been tight — they've always been friends. Frank, especially, has always been so protective of Vicky."
In July, Victoria and Frank received results from DNA tests they ordered to learn more about their family history.
“We just sort of wanted to know where we came from, so we can could better connect to our cultures,” Victoria tells TODAY.com. “Frank for a really long time thought he was Puerto Rican — and it turns out he’s not.”
The siblings are still processing the fact that they are biologically related, but say nothing about their relationship has changed.
“I was shaking when I read the results. I was definitely emotional,” Victoria says. “The fact that I’ve been living my entire life with my biological sibling and had no idea?”
She notes that many people have been pointing out that they have similar facial features.
“We’re getting a lot of, ‘You guys have the same smile. You have the same nose,'" Frank tells TODAY.com.
Frank, who has no photos of his biological parents, says he used to dream about having a child of his own blood.
“I just wanted to know what they would look like,” he reveals.
“I never thought it would look like Vicky!” he adds, with a laugh.
Though Frank wonders about his biological parents, he said he doesn't feel like anything is missing.
Shortly after Frank received his DNA results, he sent Angela a text that read, in part: "I love you and daddy ... that day I was left (was) the best day of my life because it led me to you two."