Parents who have lost children never stop longing for them, and the same can be said for one man who spent more than three decades searching for his long-lost brother.
Children are vulnerable to many dangers, and sadly, in 1988, the unthinkable happened to a family living in Bogotá, Colombia. A child watched his brother walk away with a family friend and never saw him return home again.
The experience left the child's mother heartbroken, and 32 years passed before her heart was finally made whole again. Grab your tissues for this tear-jerking story of a brother's unwavering love.
A brother who never stopped looking for his missing sibling. | Source: twitter.com/wsvn
THE START OF A LIFELONG SEARCH
Juan Jimenez was filled with guilt and grief after his baby brother's disappearance. He saw his mother's pain and vowed to search for his brother, no matter how long it took to find him.
"I grew up seeing Mommy suffering so much ... that was my big desire, to try to do something in this situation."
Jimenez eventually discovered that his brother, Jhonatan, was most likely taken to the United States. He moved there in 2007 and set out on a mission to find his missing sibling.
HIS FAITH HELPED HIM
Jimenez had many setbacks while searching for Jhonatan, but he never gave up. He credited his faith in God for the strength and determination to keep looking for his brother.
"An interview that they did with Denzel Washington. They ask you, 'What code do you live by?' And this changed me forever. He said, 'I read from the Bible every day.'
From that moment on, Jimenez also started reading his Bible regularly. He stated his faith helped him believe that nothing was impossible—not even finding his brother after decades apart.
DNA TESTING HELPED HIS SEARCH
While In America, Jimenez saw a pro bono project undertaken by MyHeritage's DNA Quest. They were donating kits to people and sent him one upon request.
Little did he know how much the kit would help his search, as another man also took a DNA test thousands of kilometers away—it was Jhonatan.
HIS BROTHER WAS ADOPTED
A couple from Norway had adopted Jhonatan, and they renamed him John Erik Aarsheim. Karen and Gunnar Aarsheim believed their adoptive son was abandoned by his birth parents in Colombia, and they had no idea what really happened to him.
Aarsheim grew up in Stad and lived a quiet life in a loving home. However, he was curious about his origins and decided to take a DNA test to find out more.
IT WAS A MATCH
The DNA test didn't reveal much at first, but Aarsheim eventually took a MyHeritage DNA test to uncover information about his genes. He was shocked by the results—the test showed that he had a match with Jimenez, a possible half-brother, uncle, or nephew.
An ecstatic Aarsheim reached out to Jimenez, and both men were speechless. Jimenez immediately told their mother the good news, and he also spoke with Aarsheim about what happened to him as a child.
THE EMOTIONAL REUNION
Aarsheim was overwhelmed. Not only did he have a whole new family, but they had been searching for him for decades. In 2020, a few months after their first communication, Jimenez went to Norway to meet his brother.
His 32-year-long endeavor was over, and the moment they saw each other was unbelievably emotional. A video of the encounter showcased both men as they repeatedly cried and hugged.
Through tears, Jimenez shared:
"Thirty-two years brother. Look at you. Look at you."
Brothers reunite for the first time in 32 years | Source: youtube.com/Juan jimenez
RETURNING TO COLOMBIA
The duo set off to Colombia, where Aarsheim received a royal welcome from family and community members. Norwegian flags and signs with his name on them waved in the air as he arrived home via police escort.
The mother, who never sold her home in case her son returned, held a sign that read: "I missed you a lot, son of mine. Welcome home. I love you." It meant the world to Aarsheim, who always longed to find his biological family.
MAKING UP FOR THE LOST TIME
Aarsheim kept his supportive Norwegian family updated as he learned about his origins and spent some time getting to know his Colombian family. He was thankful to have two loving families now.
"We can never get back the 32 years we missed. But we can make the next 32 the most amazing moments in our lives."
THEY ARE BROTHERS FOR LIFE
Aarsheim and Jimenez shared a special bond despite their time away from each other. They are determined to stay connected, and Jimenez shared that he couldn't put into words what it meant to have found his brother.
Aarsheim felt the same, and he added:
"Now, I have a brother who’s protecting me and who’s always standing up for me."
Their message of encouragement to other family members hoping to find loved ones was simple: "It's possible. Miracles exist. Miracles do exist."
THE ONLINE RESPONSE
The brothers' love touched the online community, and they applauded Jimenez for continuing the search despite various challenges. One user said: "I have cried with you and have thanked God for your reunion."
"Definitely your FAITH and trust in God led you to fulfill your dream of finding your little brother, you are a living example of what a person can do with God as a guide."
For another reunion between a mother and her long-lost son, click here. They were separated but found each other again after the son incredibly drew a map from memory three decades later.
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