Woman Finds Long-Lost Brother After Jokingly Taking A DNA Test
A woman took a DNA test for a laugh after joking she must have been switched at birth because she’s “nothing like” her family–and discovered she had a half-brother.
Farrah Khilji-Holmes, 52, met her newfound sibling Steve Bolton, 62, for the first time after he traveled to the United Kingdom from Canada to see her and her relatives in person. They had the same dad, Dr. Mohammad Elijaz Khilji, but different mothers and didn’t know anything about each other until they sent their DNA tests off and they matched.
Khilji-Holmes reached out to Bolton when his name came back as a match and when they spoke on a video call, she said it was “like seeing her dad in the flesh.” Now, after chatting for 18 months over video calls and WhatsApp messages, Bolton flew to meet Khilji-Holmes in her hometown of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in the north of England, in the United Kingdom.
“I only logged on as a joke to see if I was switched at birth. It’s been a bit of a running joke in our family for years. I always said I must have been swapped at birth because there’s no way I could be part of such a bizarre family,” Khilji-Holmes said.
“So I did a DNA test as a joke and made my mom do one too. She’s my mom, there’s no doubt about that. But it came back with a close match to a man that it said was a first cousin or closer, but it couldn’t be sure because there was a wide range.
“I was sat in the pub when a message came through from Steve about 18 months ago and I shouted out ‘I’ve got a brother!’ It’s absolutely like seeing dad in the flesh. My friends who have seen him say he’s the spitting image of dad,” Khilji-Holmes continued.
Dr. Khilji had a relationship with Bolton’s mother Pamela in London in the 1960s before returning to Pakistan without knowing she was pregnant with his child. Tragically, Pamela died when Bolton was just seven years old and Dr. Khilji died in 1998 having never learned that he had another son.
In the meantime, he fathered children in Pakistan and when he returned to the U.K., he had two children from a relationship with Sue Burton. Khilji-Holmes also had three other half-siblings which she knew about as she grew up, but she never knew about Bolton until her DNA test results came back.
“I sent the information to my mom and she filled in the gaps, she said Steve is most likely my half-brother. My dad had me and my sister with my mom. My dad looked after all his children and if he’d known he had another child, we’d have known about it.
“Dad was a big part of all our lives, if he’d known about Steve, he would have ensured he was part of our family too. He took an active role in all his children’s lives and there is no way dad would have seen any of his children taken into care,” Khilji-Holmes said.
Bolton was born in London and he didn’t know anything about his father other than his nickname and that he had connections to Karachi. After his mother died of pneumonia, Bolton spent time in an orphanage before his grandparents took him to Jamaica where his mom was born.
But when his grandmother got sick, he was placed back in an orphanage in Jamaica before being adopted by a Canadian family and he lived in Toronto from the age of 13. He said that after his adopted mom died he got his birth certificate and started looking for his dad.
Two years ago, he set about researching his family history and sent off a DNA sample that returned a couple of cousins. But was about to give up when he got a message from Khilji-Holmes out of the blue to ask if he was her brother. While in the U.K., Bolton visited his father’s grave before meeting up with Khilji-Holmes, which he said was “really emotional.”
“After you’ve been waiting for so long it’s hard to believe it’s happened. It’s completely surreal, I didn’t know how to process it,” Bolton said.
“As I got older, a friend helped me get my English birth certificate. My wife did all the research and got me to go on Ancestry.com. I got a couple of hits from cousins, but I was about to cancel my membership when Farrah messaged.
“She reached out to say I think you’re my half-brother and started asking questions about dad. When she sent me a picture of dad, I showed it to one of my aunties on my mom’s side and she said: ‘that’s the bugger’. I hope this encourages other people who have been adopted to do their research because it’s really amazing,” Bolton said.
Produced in association with SWNS.