I started a few secret support groups that were discussed here in an article by Sarah Zhang, writer for The Atlantic. I originally started these groups for a friend and some clients who expressed a desire for support and understanding from others who who had been in their shoes before. Since then, the groups have grown to include people who have heard about the group via word of mouth, past blog posts, and interviews I've given in which I've discussed them.
I cap the groups at 100 members to help maintain a small size and stronger privacy of individual members, so if you are member #101 you might have to wait for a few others to join your group for it to feel like a community. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding if this happens to you.
One group quickly growing in size is specifically for those who discover misattributed parentage for themselves (most commonly, they discover their dad is not their biological father). The other group is for everyone one else (DNA surprises affecting anyone, including people who made a shocking DNA discovery for someone else and need to find a way to break the news). I recently launched a third group, for spouses/family members indirectly affected by a DNA surprise. The first three members are wives of a husband who are part of an NPE/misattributed parentage situation.
The groups are confidential, and secret groups on Facebook don't seem to have been affected by the Facebook vulnerability that has allowed information to be taken from posts made in private Facebook groups.
Because of the 'secret' setting, I can't just send you the link, I have to manually add you.
Here are the steps to joining:
1) Join Facebook (you can using a pseudonym or initials if you are joining and wanting to maintain complete anonymity; however, know that Facebook discourages fake/pseudonymous accounts.)
2) Contact me with the email address associated with your FB account with a brief synopsis of your situation.
3) I'll screen your story and add you to the group that is most fitting.
4) Accept the invitation you receive to join a "Watershed" group. Check your email spam folder if the message doesn't arrive when you expect it will.
5) Introduce yourself once you've joined so you can share a little about your situation and other members can welcome you.
If I don't respond to your request to join a group within a week, ping me again. I rarely have to deny entry, and it's more likely that your message got lost or the invitation went directly to your spam folder.
That's it! There's no obligation to post if you don't feel moved to do so, however other group members do appreciate hearing the stories of others, as that is where the understanding comes in. The groups are pretty quiet except for the times people choose to share stories or updates.
If you want to join a group but worry that another person involved in your DNA surprise situation might join the group as well and make things awkward for you, please let me know names to watch out for. I'll try not to allow family members in the same groups, but as the group(s) grow that will be harder for me and other admins to manage. If you need to leave the group, you can drop out at any time.
I'm sure you feel alone in your DNA surprise discovery, but I think you'll soon learn how many others are going through similar situations all as a result of an ancestry test.