Irishman's 'emotional' reunion with sister after 24 years apart
An Irishman has spoken of his emotional reunion with the sister he had not seen in over 20 years.
Dan Ryan was born in Romania and adopted by an Irish family when he was just three.
However, he recently discovered that he has a sister who went to live with a family in southern Italy.
Long-lost brother and sister Dan (27) and Carmen Rachieli (28) feature on TV3's Adoption Stories this week.
Physical therapist Dan - who operates a gym in Naas - was adopted by Mike and Anne Ryan from Kildare, while Carmen was adopted by the Rachieli family from southern Italy.
He and his sister Carmen were not orphans, however. Their parents, like many in Romania at the time, were too poor to keep their children and left them to an orphanage.
Dan found his birth father in 2012. After an emotional reunion he organised a proper house and help for his father.
After this he started to look for his older sister.
"I had an exact address for her from the archives, but the problem was a trust thing - she wasn't sure whether to trust us at the time," he told the Herald.
Dan managed to win her trust by contacting other people in her village and finally he set up their first meeting.
"We talked on Skype for the first time - it was a weird feeling when in your life you have a void and you meet someone who is a carbon copy of you - it was very weird but kind of cool at the same time," he explained.
Three or four months after making contact, Dan and his adoptive parents went to Italy to finally meet his long-lost sister.
"It was surreal and quite emotionally charged - more so than when I met my birth father," he said.
His sister runs a restaurant in a remote, idyllic mountainous part of southern Italy and Dan has made several trips.
"I've been over a good few times at this stage, my Italian has gotten way better," he said.
Carmen has also visited Ireland with her adoptive parents and they have plans to visit again. "She's only been over once and it was for a small time and it would be nice to have her here again," Dan added.
Since appearing in the original show, Dan has helped several others adopted from Romania to find information about their families.
Adoption Stories - What Happened Next airs every Tuesday at 8.30pm on TV3