Three yrs. ago today, I was a good 10 yrs. past rejection from failed reunion with my biological mother and dealing with the reality that my birthmother wanted me to believe – my conception was a forced situation and my birthfather was someone she still feared 5 decades later. She told me that me and my family should fear him as well.
I googled him and she was right.
This was the status of my adoptee brain when I woke up to this email that read, “GREAT NEWS! Your DNA results are in!” I waited 6 weeks and was so excited to finally get the results to help my half-sister on her quest to find her biological dad. She needed my DNA to help rule out one of 2 possible fathers. I texted her immediately and emailed her my results. Within a few short days, thankfully, with the help of a genealogist, she was able to find the identity of her dad.
For the previous 20 yrs., I believed what my biological mom told me about my birthfather. Like, why would I not believe her? Why would I not believe the woman who gave me life – the gatekeeper of truth regarding my origins? Why would she want me to believe something so traumatic if it weren’t true?
Turns out, this naive trust didn’t serve me well. People – even first parents – don’t always follow, “Treat others the way you want them to treat you.”
As I looked further into my DNA findings, something seemed a little off. Out of over 1,000 DNA matches, the family name of my biological father that my biological mother gave me was nowhere to be found. Not one DNA match shared that name. What are the odds? I didn’t think it was very likely that all of these 1,000 people were only from my maternal side.
Turns out, there was a very good reason his name wasn’t popping up as a DNA match. He wasn’t a DNA MATCH – he isn’t a DNA match! He was nowhere to be found in my family tree. As a matter of fact, we weren’t even in the same orchard! When my DNA led me away from my “bad dad” to a completely different dad, that was definitely GREAT NEWS!
But, would it be great news for him?
That’s the thing…it’s the most ginormous risk on steroids you can ever take. Offering your heart to a first mother or a father who also happen to be complete strangers. There’s nothing like it. Complete strangers, responsible for my very existence who share my DNA with the built-in capacity to instantly bring healing or completely shred my already shattered heart. Complete strangers, yet a primary part of me – my first parents.
How crazy is that?!
For some along my journey, it’s 100% crazy. In response to setting out to find the truth about my birthfather, they’ve asked me, “Why do you have to just go and dig up more pain and grief? You already went through a nightmare with your first mother – why do you want to go look for another one?”
For them, knowing the response of my first mother, the risk is absolutely not worth it – 100% not worth it. While I completely understand their comments and questions are solely out of concern for me, they’re 100% wrong. Like most adoptees, I want to know where I come from. But this isn’t unlike unadopted folks as well….even these take DNA tests and research their roots through genealogy. All humans have a basic need to have the question, “Where do I come from?” answered.
We, adoptees, aren’t morally inferior to the unadopted who search for answers to the same question.
For me, I’ve never been ok with not knowing where I come from. Since finding out about my adoption at 17, I knew I wanted to know at some point. Equally, I would never do anything to hurt my adoptive mom. When she gave me her blessing twenty-five-ish years ago, I began the search for my first mother, considering every possible outcome but hoping for the best.
The outcome was definitely not the best but I took away more knowledge than what I had before, bandaged my shattered heart and moved on. At this time, I wasn’t given much room to hope for my dad since I was told he was not a good dude. Google confirmed it. So, I convinced myself I had to be ok with only knowing about him from afar. I knew for the safety of not only myself but also my family that I couldn’t reach out to him.
So, imagine how amazingly amazing GREAT NEWS it was to find out through Ancestry that this dude wasn’t my dad after all! Just knowing that I didn’t share DNA with him was the best feeling ever! But that meant there was someone else who shared my DNA…and I had no clue if he would think it’s great news. But it didn’t matter – I had to find him. I had to find the final piece to my puzzle.
So, I did….
Greater news? Two weeks after my 50th birthday, I reached out to him. He had no clue I existed and immediately accepted me as his own even before he could DNA test to confirm. He told me he always wanted a daughter …
Over the last 25 years, I searched and found my biological parents. And even though I would’ve told you that it’s been about finding them, I was wrong.
They were never lost.
All this time – decades of wondering, wandering, searching and heart shattering – it’s really been about finding the pieces of me.
And that truly is the greatest news ever!