There is no experience or condition more isolating to the human spirit than a soul denied of its truth.
I don’t think there is anything more lonely and confusing than not knowing who you are; not knowing where you’re from.
As a young adoptee, I would stare into the mirror and every time I did, I came face-to-face with a stranger. I knew that I was supposed to be familiar with this girl I saw. Yet, she was foreign to me. I didn’t know her.
I didn’t really know her story or the stories of who had come before her. I felt as if I was a girl all alone in the world. A tribe of one. No true understanding of a biological identity or a DNA history. Many around me said that it—the biology of who I was—really wasn’t important, anyway.
It is true that I speak of a family as having little to do with biology and everything to do with love. I believe in this statement with all that I am. We don’t have to be biologically related to be parent and child, brother and sister. Adoption proves this day after day.
Yet, in the creating of a family through adoption, we should not forget that the biology of identity may matter to your adoptee. It has always mattered to me.
My DNA had been given to me by my birth parents. The rights to knowing of my DNA heritage were taken from me upon their abandonment. As an international adoptee, I had been offered a new identity, a new heritage, and a new story. Still, I longed to know the one story that ran through my veins. I longed to sing that tribal song. I longed to feel the pulse of my ancestors.
My childhood was lived out before DNA direct-to-consumer testing companies like 23andme,, and came into being. In other words, I had no way of accessing genetic information for myself. No way of finding out about my ancestry information, at all. In addition, I had no way of learning of any medical risks I might face or of finding biological relatives.
I was a mystery. And, I didn’t have a clue to help me open up the locked doors of my ancestry. Even after reuniting with my birthmother, as a teenager, most of those doors of information remained locked. So, as an adult adoptee, I made the decision to take the DTA (direct-to-consumer) DNA tests named above. I did this mainly for ancestry information. What I found is that the results of every test were very similar. For the first time, I had an idea—a picture—of my ancestral story. It was empowering. I began exploring all the different facets of my genetic mapping...
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