Over a year ago a friend and co-worker, Patty, encouraged me to learn all I could about the newly emerging field of DNA Adoption Search because, as she explained to me, it’s going to be the wave of the future for adoptees to identify and connect with their birth families IN SPITE of sealed records.  Now to be honest, science was not my best subject in school.  I avoided all the ‘technical’ classes and stuck with Ecology and science in nature classes.  I wish, now, that I had gravitated to the more technical classes where DNA ties with family were better explained, it would make my current endeavors into Autosomal DNA research much easier.  However, one thing I’ve learned, we are ‘never’ too old or set in our ways to explore new and exciting fields especially if it ties in with our current occupations.

As a reunited California adoptee, I pretty much thought I knew who both sides of my biological and adoptive families were.  I found out who my biological mother was at a very early age and was very proud to share with all my friends and acquaintances that yes, I do have two mother’s and they both loved me!  It took me several years to complete my search for my very ‘under’ the radar biological father, but we did finally connect.  His first question to me was, “What took you so long to call?”  Obviously he had no idea that adoption records are sealed in most states.

My husband, children and I were soon invited to my brother Sloane’s wedding in Sparks, Nevada where the paternal side of my birth family lived.  I was very nervous to meet everyone ‘all at once’ but my birth father told me it would be fine.  In fact my husband took several of the wedding photographs to share with the family.  After the beautiful and moving ceremony, we all went to the reception where I met extended family, including Aunt and Uncle who basically raised my birth father Les, as well as his first cousin S and her husband B.   Aunt, a very proper woman, said, “I vaguely remember your mother!”  I thought that was an odd statement but just figured she was very quiet.  What was not mentioned, which in retrospect I thought was odd, was the word ‘adoption’!

Now you are probably wondering why I’m bringing up all this ancient family history, but there is a reason.

My first test was at 23andMe.  I waited impatiently for the results to be received and processed.  When they were done, my goodness, there was a huge surprise!  I had TWO solid 2nd cousin matches, one public (Adam) and one Private.  To my knowledge I had nobody with the first name Adam in my known family!  I immediately sent a share request to Adam which he soon answered.  We are talking SOLID match.  We shared DNA on 13 different segments!  Adam soon replied and shared, and at that time I discovered that the one surname on his list was a family name on my birth father’s side.  I asked Adam, “What do you know about that B family?”  He said “Not much, I am adopted!  I was born in California”. Oh my goodness, the last thing two adoptees who do NOT know their birth surnames want to do is ‘match’ with another adoptee who is in the same boat.  However in this case, Adam located and found his birth mother in 1991.  Remember I located my birth father in 1989.  We shared that common surname.  As it turns out Adam is my birth father’s first cousin’s son.  The reason no one mentioned adoption when I met the family is because there was ‘one’ out there that had not been found yet.  I’m hoping that my own reunion softened their hearts and paved the way for Adam to reunite!  I’m also hoping to meet Adam in person this summer!

Another surprise, about 8 weeks ago I received a share request from a 3rd cousin on my match list, a sweet and bubbly young lady named Erin.  I checked her public surname list and saw two that I was familiar with, Reese and Nunley.  My great grandmother was a Reese from Utah, and I know I have Nunley cousins in Salt Lake City because I used to visit with them when I was young.  In fact my favorite Nunley cousin was Michelle.  So I accepted and we started a conversation through the system.  I told her who my great grandmother was, and she said my great great-grandfather was her brother!  I said I know, and I have Nunley cousins in Salt Lake City.  “Do you know Michelle?”  She replied, “Michelle is my MOTHER!”  Amazing, here I am meeting someone for the first time that had we stayed in touch, Michelle most certainly would have introduced me to!  Erin and I then decided to friend request each other on Facebook, and this is where the 6 degrees of separation comes in.  When I went to accept her friend request I discovered that we already had a friend in common, Carlos, a writer and TV producer from New York City!  In fact, Carlos is considering writing a book about search, so this story is definitely going to be another chapter in that book!

Every day is a surprise with DNA Genealogy.  Yesterday, out of the blue, I connected with a 4th cousin and can you believe we even ‘knew’ who our common ancestor was?  It allowed me to update my family tree on and helped fill in some of the missing blanks on my birth father’s lineage!  The very wild part of my match with Kelly is that my daughter, Mica, looks more like Kelly than she does me and we are 4th cousins!

Our family is so convinced that DNA Genealogy is the wave of the future that my son Chris, my daughter Mica, her husband Matt and my husband, Lane, have all tested at 23andMe.  To date Lane has reconnected with family from his mother’s lineage, I’ve connected with family from both my lines, and Matt discovered interesting things about his ethnicity.  

If you have ‘not’ tested at one of the three major Autosomal DNA Testing sites, (23andMe,Ancestry DNA, or Family Tree DNA) and you are adopted or have an interest in family history, please consider this newly emerging genealogical research tool for your own family tree research.  I can promise you that you will be amazed at what you find!