Today’s blog comes courtesy of LINK>Right To Know – who believe that “It is a fundamental human right to know your genetic identity.” I totally agree and that is what drove me to discover my own adoptee parents’ (both were adopted) origins.
She writes – “In 1998, my sister let it slip out that my parents were divorced for 3 years before I was born, thinking I already knew. I only started wondering and asking questions like…what were the circumstances of my conception ?” I remember when I was in middle school, I discovered that I had been conceived out-of-wedlock by counting the months between when my parents married and when I was born – 7, not 9.
She writes that in 2005, her Dad passed away. She says that was when she started wondering whether or not he was her biological father. Her mom was in the early stages of dementia due to Multiple Sclerosis. Her sister asked the question for her – “Is it possible that Dad is not Liann’s biological father”? Her mom immediately said, “I know he’s not”.
Liann does feel that she was lucky to be able to have a conversation with her mom and that her mom was even able to give her some answers. She was a product of an affair with a married Jewish man. So much like my own dad, who’s mother had an affair with a married man much older than her.
In 2017, she did the 23 and Me test. So much of what I know about my own origins is thanks to inexpensive commercial DNA testing. 23 and Me brought me much of what I now know about my dad’s mother through my own genetic cousins. In 2018, she did Ancestry’s DNA. I have also done both and really one should do both as what they can get from each is different. She discovered a half-brother but was asked to keep what she now knew about her genetic father a secret as he was still married and the couple had worked through years of his infidelities.
The problem for Liann was that the whole goal of her own journey was to no longer be “the secret”. So she did personal work on her own self-esteem so that she could get to a place in her own heart where she would be able to handle rejection, if that came her way again. She needed to be strong enough in who she knew herself to be, that she would know deeply that whatever her genetic relatives response to her was, it was not about her, who and how she is.
In September 2021, she sent her half-sister (who she had been asked to keep the secret from by her half-brother) a Facebook message explaining who she was, as delicately as possible given the circumstances of her own existence. Her half-sister did respond, though understandably shocked by the revelation and started asking questions. She notes that – while it was a very sensitive situation, the communication had a very different vibe than with the half-brother.
She was in therapy but her therapist ended up NOT being the right one for her. She says there is no way to understand and it is difficult trying to work through the depth of trauma this knowledge causes. She spent many years, sorting through memories and connecting the dots for her own self. She is exploring alternative modalities of healing (including inner child work/shadow work and ancestral trauma), support groups for those who experience a non-paternity event, learning self-love and connecting more deeply to her authentic self.
She admits – Finding out the man who raised me is not my biological father caused my foundation to crumble from underneath me. I had to put the puzzle pieces of my foundation back together without having the picture of what it should look like. She ends on this positive note – If there is one thing I realized through this journey, is how much of a hero my Dad actually was in my life. He raised me without question, and I know deep down he knew. That’s the kind of man he was. I feel him with me all the time and I see his name everywhere. I feel the connection we have now is even stronger than I could have imagined.