It was a billion to one odds, but when one mother had a gut feeling, she found out she was right.
Two girls, born in two different cities two hours apart from two different orphanages in a country with over 1.3 billion people share an incredible connection. The phrase “it’s a small world” couldn’t be more true.
Two adopted girls from China met on the other side of the world.
Jim and Staci Maneage had always wanted to adopt a child, and on Mother’s Day in 2010, they finally did. The Maneages went across the globe and brought little Ellianna to their Weldon Spring, Missouri home from an orphanage in China.
The couple, who have 3 biological children of their own, knew Ellianna was the one the moment they laid eyes on her. “We knew she was ours right away,” says Ellianna’s mom, Staci.
Three years later, Steve and Paige Galbierz, who live just three minutes down the road from the Maneages, traveled to China to adopt their little girl Kinley, from a different city, a different agency, and a different orphanage.
When they brought Kinley home, the two girls became instant friends.
The girls, now 7 and 10, were inseparable. They shared so many similarities and mannerisms that Staci pointed out to Paige all the time, who thought it was pretty interesting, but didn’t think much of it otherwise.
“They pout the same way,” Elliana’s mom, Staci says. “Their personalities are the same.”
“They go to the same school. They go to the same church. Our families are together,” Kinley’s mom, Paige added.
But it was when Paige posted a picture on Facebook that the adoption agency had sent her of Kinley, Staci just couldn’t look away.
Kinley looked just like Ellianna.
Nearly identical, in fact. The photo of Kinley was striking, undeniably, irrefutably, similar to the photo Ellianna’s adoption agency had sent Staci 3 years prior.
That’s when the mother of four told her husband Jim she wanted to get the girls tested.
“Staci asked me one day, she said, ‘I want to get the girls DNA tested,’” Jim said. “I’m like, ‘What girls?’ ‘Ellianna and Kinley.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ My mind immediately went to how many people there are in China.”
It was against all odds. But the mom just had to know.
“It was just in my heart,” said Staci.
When the results came back, the Maneages and the Galbierzes were completely stunned.
“[Staci] said, ‘I just have to tell you something. I just learned. The results are in. And the girls are 99.9 percent certain they’re half-siblings,’” she said.
In a town with a population less than 6,000, the two families found themselves belonging to the same church, attending the same bible study, and having adopted a girl from China who both go to the same school, but they never in the world thought that their little girls could possibly be related. But they were.
Ellianna and Kinley remarkably share one biological parent.
“They’re related. Unbelievable,” said Kinley’s dad, Steve.
It was almost impossible, but obviously, meant to be.
Paige doesn’t believe this miracle is a coincidence. “God is doing these extraordinary things in ordinary people. And that he chose us,” Paige said. “I have faith that He’s at work. And I’m grateful that we’re along for the ride.”
Now, the Weldon Spring, Missouri families are organizing their lives and trying to plan holidays so that the girls can grow up as sisters together as much as possible.