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Adopted Brazilian woman finds birth mother, discovers husband is her brother

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Adriana, an adopted woman living in Brazil, had been looking for her mother for years. Leandro, her husband of seven years, was also adopted and had also searched for his birth mother over the years. According to Time magazine's Aug. 10 report, their separate searches came to an end when Adriana reached out to the Brazilian radio program, Radio Globo's "The Time Is Now," to enlist their help in finding her long-lost mother. And they did it; they found the woman. Then live on the radio, Adriana not only got to meet her mother for the first time, she found out she had a brother who had also been given up for adoption -- and much to the surprise of all, Adriana already knew him, had known him for years. It was her husband, Leandro.

According to the British paper The Mirror (via NT News), Adriana (note: last names were not disclosed to protect the privacy of the individuals) was shocked and a little worried upon hearing that her husband was also her brother (technically, Leandro was her half-brother, she would discover, only sharing their birth mother).

“I don’t believe that you’re telling me this. Leandro is my husband,” Adriana reportedly said, sobbing uncontrollably at the news.

“Now I’m scared to go home and find out that Leandro doesn’t want me any more. I love him so much.”

Adriana and Leandro have been in a relationship for ten years, seven of which they've also been married, although not legally. Both had been searching for their birth mothers for years. As she told Radio Globo, they thought it was amusing that their mothers had the same first name. But, then, they reasoned, Maria is a very common name in Brazil.

According to the Daily Mail, Adriana, who is 39, had been given up for adoption when she was one year old. Leandro, 37, found out when he was eight years old that the woman he was living with was actually his step-mother.

“We thought it was funny that both our mothers had the same name," she told the radio show, "but it is a common name so we just thought it was a coincidence."

But after the initial shock wore off, Adriana said that she, Leandro, and all concerned had a family meeting. They decided, regardless of what people might think, that they would stay together. Of course, adding considerable weight to the decision had to be the fact that Adriana and Leandro themselves had a 6-year-old daughter.

Besides, as Adriana saw it, their union was divinely directed.

“At first we were really knocked by it all," she said in a follow-up interview with Radio Globo, "but we had a family meeting and told everyone that we are going to stay husband and wife, whatever anyone might think.

“All this happened because God wanted it to happen."

The couple say they do not blame their mother for giving them up for adoption. They have also spoken with her a number of times since Radio Globo reunited the trio and there are plans in the works for all to meet sometime soon.

A similar case to Adriana and Leandro's was reported in 2011 when a South African couple discovered they were brother and sister. Engaged to be married, the two found out they were related when the families met prior to a planned wedding. The two had been separated as children in a bitter divorce, neither family having contact with the other. The couple had dated five years prior to finding out the shocking news and, complicating matters, the young woman was eight months pregnant. At the time, they decided against marriage.

There are many stories of such relationships, some unknowing, some fully knowledgeable that they're in a relationship with a family member. According to psychologists, there is a strong sexual attraction between close relatives who meet for the first time as older individuals or adults. It is called Genetic Sexual Attraction. The attraction is rare between people reared together during early childhood due to a reverse sexual imprinting known as the Westermarck effect, a desensitization from sexual attraction that is believed to have evolved in humans to prevent inbreeding.

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