One by one, women have begun to reach out to me. They describe a similar scenario.
Their husbands were unaware they had fathered a child in the past (typically, it's a daughter).
That child is now an adult.
Consumer DNA testing helped reunite the adult child with their father.
These situations involve a lot of emotions for everyone, including the adult child, the father, his wife/significant other, and other children in the family.
The emotions range along a spectrum of positive to negative, intense to subdued.
There's sadness over lost time, for example. Or anger over why lies were kept about the truth of someone’s paternity. There's confusion about whether there might some mistake with the DNA testing. Frustration that the family unit has changed and attention has shifted away from relationships that were once more important. Hurt feelings when secrets are being kept about communication between the father and his newly-found child.
The emotions run high, and they change over time, and many people have described the time after a surprise DNA discovery like a roller coaster ride that they never expected to get on and wish they could get off but can't.
The wives of husbands who are newly discovered to be someone’s biological father struggle as well.
They witness all that happens from the position of the sidelines, and not being involved in the DNA connection, are often dismissed.
The marital bond between husband and wife, whether it was strong or weak before the new DNA family member comes along, gets tested. Each family’s situation is unique, and each relationship being formed is as well.
Things seem to be more complicated in situations of an adult daughter reuniting with her biological father. Some things are more tangible and visible, like husbands buying flowers for their newly-found daughter or primping ahead of a meeting. Others might be secretive, like hidden texts and phone calls.
There is no guidebook for you to follow if you're hit with a DNA surprise. It’s understandable why these situations have sent some people in search of a support group, including birth wives. It helps to share your experiences with others who have been or are going through a similar experience.
The good news is that we are learning it is possible for families and couples and newly connected parent-child duos to navigate these waters. But it takes effort. And time. These things do not happen automatically or smoothly.
We are learning that everyone involved must try to look at the situation from the perspective of the others, as difficult as it can be to step outside of your own experience. You have to be willing to encourage and participate in uncomfortable conversations with one another.
I've written posts for other situations in the past, and this one is to let you know that if you are the wife of a birth father who has been discovered as a result of DNA testing, you aren’t crazy for struggling to adapt to the new version of your marriage and family post-DNA testing. There are other women who understand what you're going through. Reach out to me through my website or Facebook if you’d like to join the secret support group on Facebook.