DNA Matters. If it didn’t non-adopted people wouldn’t do genealogy. We can’t pretend that it isn’t important. My adoptee mom had to quit working on a family tree at Ancestry based on the adoptive families of my two parents (both adoptees) because she couldn’t get over the knowledge that it wasn’t “real”. I am still committed to eventually getting the actual family trees for each of my parents into Ancestry and maybe on 23 and Me as well. I just haven’t found the time.
Today, in my all things adoption group I read – “An adoptive parent was asked why does she want biological children when she has two adopted kids. Her answer ? She wants a child that has a piece of her and her husband without any outside involvement. So, DNA DOES MATTER. It matters to all of us but many try to erase the DNA of adoptees and foster children. As if their DNA doesn’t matter and they should be grateful for it.”
My youngest son was sad when he realized that he doesn’t have any of my DNA. My donor conceived sons have contact with their donor at 23 and Me, if they wish to pursue contact. They have met her on several occasions but she lives far away and we don’t make long trips of several weeks duration out west currently. Yet, I knew DNA did matter and getting their DNA tested (both boys and their father) gave us an opportunity to explain why they were conceived the way they were.
Because they gestated in my womb and have been with me most of their lives pretty much 24/7, there is a strong bond between us. I also breastfed each of them for just over a year. My husband puts slide shows of our photos of our boys on his computer. I get lost in watching and remembering what it was like to have babies in my life again after so many years. My husband and I were married for 10 years before we started trying to conceive. I had my biological, genetic daughter when I was 19 and she has given me two grandchildren. My sons add a richness to our lives (myself and my husband) that I do cherish. I love it when they interact with me from a love that we have developed over decades. Even so, I know that DNA matters.
Our DNA can also tell us about the much more recent past. If we concentrate on the most recent bits of our DNA family trees, we can learn about the history of our modern human ancestors—when, where, and with whom ordinary people lived or moved about. I learned a lot about my own origins from Ancestry and being able to track a lot of details about my parents’ relatives. If you are not an identical twin, your DNA is unique. This means that no one else in the world has the same DNA sequence as you. Because your DNA is unique, your physical appearance, or phenotype, is also unique.
Your genes play an important role in your health, but so do your behaviors and environment, such as what you eat and how physically active you are. Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence. Your epigenetics change as you age, both as part of normal development and aging and in response to your behaviors and environment.