If not for DNA testing, I would not have revealed so much so quickly about my original family cultural roots. Certainly, my mom being adopted in what later turned out to be a baby stealing and selling scandal gave me a quick start. Because of that scandal, Tennessee was eventually pushed to open their sealed adoption files. And my mom’s was rich with details even if Georgia Tann was a known liar and I did uncover some lies in that file. Thankfully, there was enough true information that it opened up a world to me that I never expected to know nada about. Yay !!
Both of my parents were adopted. On my dad’s side it was trickier. His mother had been unwed and his adoption came through The Salvation Army. Ancestry was a big help in revealing enough details to what I already knew that The Salvation Army was then willing to reveal a tiny bit more. 23 and Me was the big breakthrough there, when a cousin received her results and contacted me to tell me we had the same grandmother. That led me eventually to another cousin thanks to Facebook. She had the final breadcrumb keys that my grandmother had left for me as to my dad’s father’s identity in a photo album.
Interestingly, almost a year before I received the breadcrumbs, Ancestry had identified a cousin. He didn’t reply to my inquiry right away. When he did, he apologized for not having a clue how we were related. By then, I had some details about my paternal grandfather. The man was able then to tell me that our grandparents were brother and sister.
Yes, I do believe in DNA testing and for adoptees given that half of these United States continue to refuse to unseal their adoption files, DNA matching may be the only way to learn your true cultural identity. Today, I read another story about how this helped. I will summarize.
The daughter of a Jewish patriarch gave birth, out of wedlock, to this person’s mother. That fact remained a secret within the family. This person’s mother died knowing none of this, much like both of my own parents. She was raised by another couple, just like my parents were. In the case I was reading about there wasn’t even a formal adoption or paper trail.
So it took DNA testing for this person to discover his ancestry. Thanks to that testing he discovered relatives, leading him to even more new discoveries. That is how it was for me too. I know of living relatives for 3 of my 4 grandparents. With my paternal grandfather, he had no more children but he did remarry. Thanks to Ancestry and Find-A-Grave, I came into contact with what I will call a step-cousin, who could give me some details about his life.
It is said that a recent survey showed about a quarter of the people who take these tests find some kind of surprising result. That sometimes leads to a book about the story of those discoveries. At the end of December, I completed the story of my own. I am now in the process of seeking a literary agent. May 2020 prove successful in my quest.
For more about the Jewish story I mention in my blog today, you can go to this link – https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-a-dna-test-revealed-the-family-i-never-knew-2020-01-10/
2 thoughts on “If Not For DNA Testing”
Deby, Tracing our footsteps backwards in the sands of time is a pilgrimage of the road and an ethereal journey of the mind for many adoptees–a trip of a lifetime to hallowed ground they are forced to make alone. I was adopted and my mother was adopted. In the beginning, I was only interested in meeting my mother, but thanks to DNA testing my circle of relatives has greatly increased, including many relatives living in Italy that look just like me. Over time I have learned that some aunts, uncles and cousins also have potential to enhance our lives. Judith
Absolutely – I seriously cherish these genetic relations I didn’t know for over 6 decades. I feel very close to them. It has made me whole !! So glad to read your experience has proven valuable as well.