VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Carrie Newton said her childhood was filled with joy, and happiness, alongside her mom, stepdad and siblings.
"I thought my mom's first husband was my dad, and I had never met him because I was raised by my stepdad," Newton, now 52 years old, remembered.
Thoughts of tracking down her biological father rarely entered her mind until she was older. It wasn't until three years ago that she hopped on the trend of submitting a DNA heritage test.
"I just wanted to find out where I was from geographically,” Newton said.
Little did she know that DNA kit would change her life forever.
"I kept getting emails saying, 'You have a fifth cousin.' I didn't care about that. Then about a year later, I checked my email, and it said, 'You have a half-sister and a niece,’” said Newton.
It turns out that half-sister got a similar notification around the same time because she took the same DNA heritage kit. The two eventually came into contact, leading Newton to her biological father, Mario Gonzales.
"My daughter from my previous marriage called me and goes, 'Dad, did you date a girl by the name of Kay when you 18?' And it was complete silence," said Gonzales.
He was shocked because, at 18, he dated Newton’s mother until she moved back to Seattle, and he'd never hear from her again.
"My daughter gave me her number, and I immediately called her and said, 'Honey, this is your dad,' and she started crying. She made me cry,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said he never knew Newton’s mother was pregnant. Sadly, in 2004, Kay lost her battle with cancer, taking that secret with her.
Finally, after a long-awaited year amid COVID-19, the duo met at San Diego International Airport.
As Newton came down the escalator, years of distance evaporated in mere moments as she and Gonzales embraced each other with tears of joy.
The cost of these DNA kits unearthing a priceless connection.
"It was like we were two peas in a pod. Every time we talked, it's like we get each other," Newton said.