Writing is therapy. Putting ink to paper or words onto the screen forces an experience out of your head and into concrete form. To help others understand what you’ve been through, what you’re feeling, you must communicate.
Expressions and body language are one way; the written word is another.
Stacey reached out to me looking to connect with and find support from others who have discovered from DNA testing that they have Misattributed Parentage (NPE). She also shared with me a link to her anonymous blog, My Search For Me.
Immediately, I saw the value in sharing Stacey’s blog with my readers. She has agreed to share the backstory here, as an encouragement to others who, like she did, will find therapy in putting their words out there.
The Watershed DNA blog is another place I invite you to share your story, but your own new blog might be a place of your own to grow and change with time, as you will.
Every blog starts with its first post.
It matters not what it says, only that you get started by hitting “save and publish.”
Blogging to Cope with My DNA Surprise: Stacey’s Story
A couple of weeks after my 41st birthday, my world as I knew it changed forever. It’s a story we’ve now all heard: a DNA sample submitted to an ancestry website revealed unexpected biological data. After asking my parents about it, they finally revealed that the man who raised me was not my biological father. I had so many questions - who was my biological father? Why did they lie? How could they keep it from me for so long? Who knew?
My mom had no answers for me. She either couldn’t - or wouldn’t - give me much information.
On the one hand, I felt shattered; I had been lied to my entire life. And it was a lie about something so core to everything I thought I knew about who I was. I had over 40 years of history as me, but now I felt like I wasn’t who I thought I was.
Everyone says that DNA doesn’t make you who you are, but if the very basis of your self image is a lie, what does that mean for self identity?
On the other hand, this confirmed something I always knew. Growing up, I never felt like I fit in my family. I had fine, straight light hair, with fair skin. My siblings and parents all had thick, wavy, dark hair with olive skin. I had such different interests from my parents and siblings. I always felt a place apart, as if I didn’t belong there.
I constantly questioned this difference, but my parents didn’t waver on covering up their lies.
Even a year and a half after finding out the truth, I am still struggling... though it doesn’t hurt every day, and not even every week. I recently felt strong enough to start researching and to try to figure out who my biological father is. I think I have the answer, but am waiting for confirmation before taking that next step of reaching out to him.
When I started my research, I learned that I am not unique.
A supportive, open, sharing community has begun to emerge. It is very hard to fully understand the emotional toll this takes on a person unless you are going through it, so it helps to share with others having a comparable experience. Some very brave and strong people have come forward to be advocates for our experience, creating non-profits, websites, and support groups to help us not feel so alone.
I felt such relief after finding these resources.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always written short stories and journaled to help me process my emotions. As I wrote about my feelings about this journey, I struggled with being honest and vulnerable. On days I was feeling optimistic, I would erase what I had written on a sad day and vice versa.
One day last month, it hit me - I could start a blog.
Using the blog format would keep me honest as I would have “published” my writings so wouldn’t erase them. I decided that writing it anonymously was crucial to me at this stage. I haven’t yet confirmed the identity of my biological father and most of my extended family and friends are not yet aware of what has been happening. And in all honesty, I still feel a tremendous amount of shame, even though I know that logically I have nothing to be ashamed of.
It was very easy to start the blog, and I am so thankful that I did. Logistically, I just googled “how to start a blog” and found many resources.
The hardest part for me figuring out what I would name it.
I thought a lot about what I was feeling and realized that my search isn’t for my biological father, it is really a search my me, for my self identity. I had only planned to share it with my husband and friend, but on a whim I shared it on the “secret” facebook page of a support group. I was overwhelmed when I got a comment back from another member who shared her story with me and was only a few months into her discovery. She said that she felt very sad, and that she was ashamed to talk to anyone else about it.
After thanking her and offering a connection should she want it, I realized that something good can come of all of this hurt.
In a world that seems increasingly divisive, we are all searching for understanding, reassurance and connection.
If I can do my part of to help just one more person feel less alone, then I am going to continue to share my story.
Follow this link to Stacey’s blog, My Search For Me. She has a contact tab at the top — Send her a quick message there about what impact her story has had on your life.