They may not look anything alike, but sisters Hannah and Marissa Brandt are two peas in a pod.
Marissa was adopted from South Korea as a baby. Her sister Hannah is 11 months younger. As children, they celebrated Marissa’s heritage together, even attending a Korean culture camp. The girls each took up different sports. Marissa initially was a figure skater, before joining Hannah in learning to love hockey. Both played in college, but at different schools. Hannah attended the University of Minnesota, while Marissa went to Gustavus Adolphus College.
This week, they are reunited — but this time on Marissa’s home turf. Hannah is playing for the U.S. women’s hockey team, and Marissa for the North/South Korean team. And she’s not going by Marissa. She will play as Park Yoon-Jung, her birth name.
The sisters both have the sweetest public Instagram pages, sharing photos of themselves as recent as this week, but also when they were young girls. Their pose? Their arms draped around one another.
As a mom by adoption to four black children, the question I’m asked most often is: “Are your kids real siblings?” People are often confused when children in the same family look nothing alike, and strangers desire an explanation or justification. My response to their inquiry is always a simple “yes.” Siblings do not have to look alike, share biological parents, or even share the same race to be “real siblings.” Additionally, I am my children’s “real mom,” even though I didn’t give birth to them. And their biological parents? You guessed it. They are “real” too.
Family is family, and my family was created by love, not biology. The Brandt sisters are in the same boat: sharing no biological genes, but a lifetime of memories and a bright future.
As soon as Marissa arrived in South Korea, she posted, “First thing I must do: find my sister as soon as possible.”
Hannah’s feelings are mutual. She posted that Marissa is her “best friend” and “an amazing sister.”
The love between Hannah and Marissa is so evident. Truly a picture is worth a thousand words, and these two women post plenty that demonstrate the beauty of sisterhood, the sacredness of adoption, and the strength of women who work hard for what they want in life.
Best wishes to Hannah and Park Yoon-Jung. Let the games begin!