adoptees

"Dear Brianne...I was adopted from the US to Europe. Can you help me?"

"Dear Brianne...I was adopted from the US to Europe. Can you help me?"

A few of the sections from my book with co-author Shannon Combs-Bennett addresses special issues related to international/intercountry adoptions.

Most of the book is US-centric (where Shannon and I live and have most of our experience). Some of the issues we address in the book are not country-specific, though, like issues we address related to the emotional aspects and moving forward with communication.

As DNA testing options expand, the use of DNA testing for the purpose of family searches will grow as well.

I recently received an email from someone living in Europe who was adopted out of the US state of New York. Here is how I addressed his question.

"Dear Brianne, I'm adopted...Where do I even start?"

"Dear Brianne, I'm adopted...Where do I even start?"

I have people reach out through my website who are adopted or donor conceived and are at the very start of a search, asking where do I even start? It can be overwhelming trying to learn all of the ins and outs of searching whether using access to records or DNA testing.

Here’s how I responded to a recent query:  

Severance Magazine, The Beagle Has Landed podcast, and other resources on the topic of DNA Family Surprises

Severance Magazine, The Beagle Has Landed podcast, and other resources on the topic of DNA Family Surprises

When a new resource becomes available that I think will help my clients and the readers of my blog, I try to highlight them. This week I have three to share - one a website, one a book, and one a podcast.

Severance Magazine is a new resource for the growing group of individuals who learn they have been separated by biological relatives. You can read articles, news, connect with other resources, and share your own story through print and video. Those who will benefit included those who are adopted, donor conceived, NPE (“not the parent expected”), and the less-common situations of those who have been switched at birth, kidnapped, or abandoned as children.

High ROH - a topic covered in a chapter of "The DNA Guide for Adoptees"

I recently got this feedback on The DNA Guide for Adoptees from a reader:

“I learned a lot! Very informative and sensitive to so many things.  I especially appreciated how tactfully written the high ROH chapter was (high ROH=when birth parents are related to each other). It’s a sensitive topic but was very tactfully done.

The reader continued on… 

The DNA Guide for Adoptees - #1 New Release in Genetics on Amazon

The DNA Guide for Adoptees - #1 New Release in Genetics on Amazon

Exciting news today as The DNA Guide for Adoptees has released in #1 new release for genetics. I’m looking forward to the information and support falling into people’s hands whether their preference is paperback or Kindle.

The book covers a lot of ground and is divided into four sections:

  • Getting Started

  • Bringing Science and Research Together through Genetic Genealogy

  • What to Do After the DNA Testing is Done

  • DNA Tests and the Search for Health Information

The DNA Guide for Adoptees: new book offers information and guidance for adoptive parents as well

The DNA Guide for Adoptees: new book offers information and guidance for adoptive parents as well

The book "The DNA Guide for Adoptees" currently available on Amazon for Kindle preorders is nearing publication! On May 30th, readers can find it on Kindle and in print in a paperback version. My co-author Shannon and I are busily preparing to be ready for reader questions and comments and are planning genealogy and genetics conference booth appearances in the summer and fall.

Should people have at-home DNA tests for medical purposes?

Should people have at-home DNA tests for medical purposes?

I’m often asked for my thoughts on whether at-home DNA tests should be used for medical purposes, since they are the only option some people can afford.

This a complex question, but it is one I have thought about and continue to think about.

It’s hard to answer succinctly because of all the moving parts -- access to an ordering provider for clinical DNA tests, additional costs for getting customized support or counseling support, the next steps to take in the medical system if a test is positive, etc. -- I address some of these in my recently published book since I am very close to all of these moving pieces and will write just a bit about it here.

Announcing the upcoming release of the book "The DNA Guide for Adoptees"

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I’m excited to announce the book I have written with my friend Shannon Combs-Bennett is available for preorder on Kindle! The DNA Guide for Adoptees will be available as a Kindle e-book and in print starting May 30th, 2019 on Amazon.com.

Shannon and I met in 2016 while attending a week-long workshop, the Advanced Genetic Genealogy course run by the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.

We have both worked with family, friends, and clients using DNA testing in family searches. The melding of our minds as a genetic counselor and a genealogist has led to a book that covers a wide range of DNA topics for the audience of people using DNA for family searches and medical reasons.

Listen to Thomas MacEntee mention it during his discussion of consumer tests on the podcast Not Old, Better (it comes up around minute 16:00). Thomas has helped us prepare and launch our book to the benefit of readers, and we are grateful to him for it!

I will be blogging more about the book in the upcoming weeks to address questions about the sub-topics we cover and how it will benefit readers. I also talk about the book on an upcoming podcast on June 7th with Kira Dineen of DNA Today. Watch for it!

Are you a library, book store, adoption, genetics professional, or genealogy group interested in a visit and book signing with the authors? Reach out to express interest in getting on the schedule for an in-person or virtual book tour visit for your group.

DNA Quest program increases available free DNA tests by 5,000

Nearly a year ago, the genealogy/DNA testing company MyHeritage announced the roll-out of a program they call DNA Quest. They asked me to be part of the volunteer advisory board for this project, a program aimed to take down the barrier of DNA test cost to searching adoptees and the birth family members searching for them. Last week at a genealogy conference called RootsTech, MyHeritage announced an extension of DNA Quest to provide free testing to an additional 5,000 participants. Share the news with family and friends who you think may be interested!

Genetic Sexual Attraction - a couple’s story going viral as a result of a 23andMe test discovery

Genetic Sexual Attraction - a couple’s story going viral as a result of a 23andMe test discovery

A story was posted a few days ago on Reddit by someone claiming to have discovered he and his girlfriend are half-siblings, the discovery coming after both opted in to the DNA Relatives feature for their 23andMe test.

Both reportedly knew they were donor-conceived and were on the hunt for their paternal biological families, but apparently neither was suspecting the possibility they may have come from the same sperm donor. The discovery was reportedly and understandably traumatic, with the relationship being ended same-day and temporary thoughts of suicide mentioned by the writer of the Reddit post.

A DNA Surprise Five Decades in the Making - Part 1

A DNA Surprise Five Decades in the Making - Part 1

The Story of Judey and Ginna: Judey’s Side of the Story:

Birthdays have been bitter-sweet for me since I found out at age 21 that I was adopted as an infant. Since then -- and every year until last year -- the wish I made over my birthday candle was a desire to know who my biological family was.

DNA Testing: Ten Tips for Adoptive Parents

DNA Testing: Ten Tips for Adoptive Parents

I’ve spoken with a few parents of children who were adopted, and DNA testing is clearly on the radar for many of these families. News reports and TV shows that highlight adoption reunions facilitated by DNA and health discoveries from genetic research have piqued the interest of many.

I’ve compiled ten tips for adoptive parents based on common questions and issues. The focus is on parents of children under the age of 18, but these points can apply to other families as well, such as those who included egg, sperm, or embryo donation in building their family.