A woman from the Forest of Dean tracked down her long-lost brothers – using a DNA kit her husband gave her for her birthday.

Heather Wood, 60, was adopted at just six months old and only briefly met her biological mum once later in life before she died.

She knew she had two brothers, and her husband always felt there was something missing for her. So four years ago he bought her a testing kit from family heritage website AncestryDNA.


She completed and returned the test and set about compiling her family tree with the information she knew, which initially threw up only a few possible distant relations.

Then two weeks ago she logged into AncestryDNA to find a message from someone who thought they might be her first or second cousin.

Heather asked whether they had any contact with her brothers, Dean and Stephen.

They revealed that they knew where one of her brothers lived and mother-of-two Heather has now met up with both of them.

Heather, of Caldicot, Wales, explained the moment she received the message from the cousin on the site.

"She said, 'My mother lives opposite your brother, Dean', and that's when it all started.


"She contacted him, and he wanted to compile some words which he sent to me overnight about how he missed me, and that he'd always told people he had a sister."

She described her first meeting with Dean, a carpenter and joiner from Hereford, and Stephen, a communications accountant for a military engineering company who lives in Tewkesbury, as "super emotional".

She said: "Me and Dean were texting for a week before we arranged to meet. We were both a wreck leading up to that.

"It seems like it was meant to be, because all those years ago I lost contact, and if my cousin's daughter hadn't done a DNA test, I probably never would've met them again.

"It seems like fate. People don't get this chance once in their lives, and I've had it twice."

She also spoke of her relief at how supportive her 89-year-old adopted father, who lives with her, has been.

"I didn't want to upset him, but he's said that it's exciting and he's embraced it, he understands that the chances of it happening like this are slim."

Heather, a senior sales accounts manager for the Forester and the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review, always knew she was adopted.

She explained: "I was raised by a loving family and was always told I was adopted, that I had other family.

"I wasn't bothered through childhood about finding anything out, I was quite happy.

"It wasn't until I moved to Reading years later that I went to a friend's house and her landlady thought I looked familiar.

"I told her I was born in Hereford and was adopted, and she asked if my original name was Jennifer, which it was.

''She then said, 'I know your mother', which was just shear chance."

That led to her meeting her mother and brothers for the first time 39 years ago.

But, respecting the wishes of her adopted mother, the contact with her biological family ended there.

She said: "Because of the situation - my adopted mother didn't really accept it - I didn't keep in touch. It was quite sad, being an only child, it was difficult."

Then, years later while camping in the area with her daughter Carys, they went into Hereford to explore her roots.

But upon arriving at the address where she had met her mother years earlier, Heather learned from a neighbour that she had sadly passed away many years previously.

She added: "I asked where my family were, but they didn't know, I left a few phone numbers, but nothing came of it."

Heather said her husband had always said he felt there was something missing for her, and that her curiosity about her family and ancestry would come up again one day.

Heather, who has two grandchildren, is now looking forward to her family developing new relationships with her brothers, as well as her niece and two nephews.