Brand Consultant Barbara Clarke Ruiz Connects to Her Korean Half-Sister Through DNA

An extensive family history search brought one member a shocking extension to her sibling status.

Barbara Clarke Ruiz, a Black brand consultant in New Jersey previously featured in BLACK ENTERPRISE, recently united with her Korean half-sister after a DNA sample was sent in by her cousin, Franklin Clarke, to the popular genetic testing company, 23andMe. Clarke Ruiz’s cousin reportedly sent in the sample about a year and a half ago as a part of a long research process on their family history.

According to Montclair Local, the results they received indicated that one of their family members had a half-sister. The history of Clarke Ruiz’s family includes her father, who fought in the Korean war. Because of a photograph of her father with a Korean woman holding a baby, kept by family members in Virginia, she believes her father had a relationship during the time he was deployed.

As reported by the outlet, Lupe Ibarra, the woman who matched the DNA profile of Clarke Ruiz’s family, is a California resident born in Seoul, South Korea. The Korean woman was allegedly adopted and brought to America at 4 years old by a Mexican American and African American couple.

Ibarra had also attempted her own family research to track down her ancestry.

“I kind of let that fall through the cracks when they told me that the chances of trying to find my mother or any information was going to be kind of difficult,” Ibarra said. “Because it was right after the Korean War days, and a lot of that information wasn’t kept.”

“My mother only told me that my biological mom was Korean and my biological father was a soldier,” Ibarra added. “That’s all I knew. So, I decided to go ahead and do the 23andMe to pacify my children.”

Ibarra said that her son got a lot of information after he made contact with Franklin, who was allegedly her first cousin.

The connection between the two half-sisters was comfortable when they met for the first time, according to Ibarra.

“It was like, ‘OK, we’re good. We’re OK,’” she said.

Clarke Ruiz felt the connection after receiving a candy bag from Ibarra that reportedly contained her favorite treats that she keeps in her purse all the time.

The half-sisters hope to coordinate a family reunion in the future.