Adopted Romanian siblings separated for decades reunited in Toronto thanks to DNA test

Two Greater Toronto Area residents who were separately adopted as children in Romania before moving to Canada as adults recently got the surprise of a lifetime: DNA test results revealed they were long-lost siblings.

Dacina Crasnanic and Traian Alexandru had never met before results revealed they were brother and sister

A woman in a black shirt and a man in a blue shirt sit on a couch. Both are in their 50s.
Dacina Crasnanic, left, and Traian Alexandru, right, found out they are siblings after both independently took DNA tests and uploaded the results to the website 23andMe. Both live in the Greater Toronto Area. (Petar Valkov/CBC News)

Dacina Crasnanic and Traian Alexandru had never met before they independently took 23andMe DNA tests in recent years hoping to learn more about their family health histories.

Instead, they got the surprise of a lifetime: the results revealed they are long-lost siblings. 

The pair, who are both in their 50s, coincidentally live less than a 30-minute drive away from each other despite both hailing from Eastern Europe.

Alexandru, who lives in Toronto, said the fact that they are both in the same country added surprise to the unexpected revelation that he had a sister.

"This is crazy. I mean, why Canada? I could be in England. I could be in Germany. I could be in Spain. I am a European citizen. I could be everywhere, but I'm here," he told CBC Metro Morning's Ismaila Alfa in an interview airing on Family Day.

Alexandru messaged Crasnanic, who lives in Markham just north of Toronto, on social media on Christmas Eve in 2021 shortly after getting his results.

They met for the first time a few days later, and have since tried to make up for the decades they spent apart, unaware of each other's existence. 

"At the beginning, it seemed very unreal," said Crasnanic. "I knew it was real, but I still couldn't believe it." 

The more they spoke about their pasts, their life stories sounded the same. 

A tale of 2 siblings

Crasnanic told CBC she was adopted shortly after the director of a Romanian orphanage found her abandoned as a baby in the bushes outside the building. But she only learned she was adopted when she was in her early 20s after discovering a discrepancy on her birth certificate.

She moved to Canada with her husband in the 1990s to raise their children.

Alexandru was also an adult when his mother told him for the first time that he was adopted after someone abandoned him as an infant.

"Someone from the army was on his way to work and he saw something," said Alexandru. "I was ... close to the garbage chute, outdoors."

An old photo shows two parents holding a baby.
Traian Alexandru as a baby being held by his adoptive parents in Romania in 1968. (Submitted by Traian Alexandru)

The solider who discovered Alexandru brought him to the police station and his mother, whose brother was a captain with the local police, took him in, he said.

Alexandru's ex-wife and son moved to Toronto to be closer to family members and Alexandru spent several years moving between Canada and Romania before settling in Toronto around 2008, he said.

The two Victors

The similarities don't end there. 

Crasnanic and Alexandru both have adult sons named Victor. Victor Crasnanic attends Toronto Metropolitan University, which is Victor Alexandru's alma mater.

The two sons have grown close over the past year since their parents connected.

"Immediately, Victor and I clicked," said Victor Crasnanic, 19. "There was never any awkwardness, you know, it just, it felt good. It felt right."

Victor Alexandru, who is 30, said the two share a love of the same TV shows, math games and Star Wars

"We're still discovering things that we have in common," he said.

Four people smiling in a family-style photo.
Dacina Crasnanic, middle left, and Traian Alexandru, middle right, pose for photos with their sons, both of whom are named Victor. (Petar Valkov)

Traian Alexandru said moving to Canada after he turned 40 was challenging because he didn't have many friends, but finding a new family means the world to him.

"Finding your sister.. [it] covers everything," he said.

Crasnanic said while she wishes she and her brother could have known each other as children, it's never too late.

"I plan to live to be 100, so we have 50 more years of doing this to make up for the time.".

With files from Salma Ibrahim, Ismaila Alfa and Metro Morning