ancestry testing

“Objects may appear closer than they are…” - self-identity reflections from Maggy’s NPE discovery at age 54

“Objects may appear closer than they are…” - self-identity reflections from Maggy’s NPE discovery at age 54

Today we’re lucky enough to share a post entitled “Objects may appear closer than they are…” written in 2013 by a woman named Maggy. We’ve heard from others who discover they are NPEs (not the parent expected) in our #DNASurprise series of guest blog posts, but what happens when this discovery comes later in life? After you’ve spent five decades thinking you know the ins and outs of your family tree?

When Maggy was 54 years old, she discovered that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was. Throughout the ups and downs of her discovery, Maggy has shared insightful blog posts – cathartic not only for her but also providing valuable insight to others going through similar experiences. Throughout her post, we see the theme of identity, and how DNA surprises can impact a person’s sense of self and belonging.

Two Sisters Must Decide Whether to Tell a New DNA Sister She’s an NPE

Two Sisters Must Decide Whether to Tell a New DNA Sister She’s an NPE


Jessica: I was not surprised to find out about a half-sibling as my dad was single after my mother and him divorced when I was five and did not re-marry until I was 10. He dated frequently during that time, from what I remember. My older sister made the discovery when she submitted her DNA first and found a “close relative” match but did not understand the implications until later.

Recently my sister asked my dad if he would be interested in taking a DNA test for genealogy purposes at which time he admitted he had another daughter. He figured it would come out if he ended up going through with the DNA test.

Telling an adult or minor child they were donor-conceived if they haven't been told yet

Telling an adult or minor child they were donor-conceived if they haven't been told yet

If you are a parent of a child who was conceived with a donor egg or sperm and they do not yet know it, the time to be proactive is now. Consumer DNA tests like 23andMe and AncestryDNA are changing the way people discover their genetic origins, and this new reality has implications for many people, including those who have kept the secret of donor conception hidden from their children.

A Call from Wendell: James's DNA Surprise Story

A Call from Wendell: James's DNA Surprise Story

TThe uncovering of one DNA surprise can sometimes have a domino effect in a family. It is understandable how words like “unraveling” are used to describe situations like this, when multiple tightly-held secrets suddenly all become known in short order, and how panicked fingers begin to point and deflect blame. In the case of James and his family, the discovery that the father who raised James wasn’t his biological father led to the same discovery for his three siblings as well.

James shares with us the painful details of his mother’s misplaced blame on him after the secrets of his and his siblings’ misattributed paternity came to light. He writes about how he has been able to cope and move forward in the year since he made his own unexpected paternity discovery.

DNA Surprise: Two sisters bond as they keep the secret of their shared DNA father

DNA Surprise: Two sisters bond as they keep the secret of their shared DNA father

I came to know Michelle and Eden when they joined the first secret support group I set up for people receiving DNA surprises for themselves or for someone’s DNA account they manage.

I asked the two of them to respond separately to some questions I had. The responses shed light to us as readers on how the same “DNA Surprise” event can be experienced differently.

You can read their detailed responses in the post here.

National Society of Genetic Counselors posts leaders' experience with ancestry testing for Hispanic Heritage Month

Two lovely genetic counselors and leaders within the National Society of Genetic Counselors paired up to experience and write about having ancestry testing to learn more about their Hispanic roots. As NSGC’s Ancestry Expert, I was invited along to provide commentary. The post went up recently, just in time to recognize Hispanic Heritage month. Check it out!

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.

Draft Language for Reaching Out to a DNA Match

I've gotten some questions about how to approach an unexpected DNA match and try to open up the lines for communication. I've posted some draft language here for you to get a sense of what I've written or advised other people to write in the past. 

An unwelcome DNA surprise for a devastated dad: "I just found out my wife was unfaithful and my kids aren't mine"

I recently spoke with a gentleman who was shocked to find out at age 78 that his two adult children did not match him genetically. It was an unexpected finding that rocked his world and enraged not only himself but also his two children. 

"We did not need this, we just did this 23andMe thing for fun," the man explained to me over the phone.

Overview of Ancestry Tests - Honest Product Reviews site

I came across this website and think it provides a great introduction to the different ancestry test options. This would be a great place to start if your main question is, "Which company should I choose to test with?" Check it out!

If you still have questions or want advice specific to your situation, consider scheduling a session with me to talk about your needs. I can direct you to the right test, whether for ancestry purposes or medical/health ones.

Rising Like the Phoenix: Mary's DNA Surprise

Last month I published the first #DNASurprise story, written by Casey who discovered a family surprise after DNA testing. Another person, Mary, has bravely volunteered to share her story as well. 

DNA Testing: Considerations Before You Test

If you’ve seen a television commercial about DNA testing and thought about ordering a kit for yourself, you aren’t alone. DNA tests, once confined to paternity courts, forensics labs, and medical clinics, are now available for purchase at the drug store or online. The number of tests climbs by the year along with the uses.