By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A DNA test led to a life-changing reunion for two women in the Twin Cities.

Thirty years ago, WCCO captured the fall of a communist dictator in Romania. The countries orphanages were cramped full of children who were forced for be alone of hours at a time.

These children are known as Romania’s lost generation.

Thanks to readily available DNA tests, some of those orphaned children now consider themselves found.

In May, Lia Pirro ordered a kit from Ancestry.com as a gift to her mom for Mother’s Day. Lia was five when she was adopted by a Lakeville family.

She was one of thousands of children given up for adoption as a way to provide for the impoverished household she left behind.

Ultimately, that gift to her mom, led to her own lasting present.

“It was the exact same last name and the picture that he showed me, just looked exactly like my biological mom,” Lia said.

On the Ancestry.com website, a man spotted Lia’s results and thought they looked a lot like another woman he knew with a similar story.

“How are you?” Lia asked a woman approaching her at the airport as WCCO was there to capture their reunion.

“This is Zoyie,” Lia said to her mom.

Turns out, her sister adopted by a family in Kansas that Lia never knew.

“It’s crazy. This is surreal,” Zoyie Schnieder said.

Schnieder is five years younger than Lia. She admits she never gave much thought to those she left.

The two have another sister and a brother still back in Romania. Lia and Zoyie plan to visit them in person in January.

“I definitely do think we have a lot of similarities,” Lia said.

As they navigate a new path together, Lia and Zoyie are also still trying to figure out if they have the same biological fathers.

However, they learned their biological mother passed away a few years ago in Romania.

Liz Collin

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