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My DNA Journey – Reflecting on 2020

2020 has been quite a year in so many respects. From the catastrophic Australian bush fires to the COVID-19 pandemic to the massive BLM protests and so much more. It will be one none of us ever forget.

At a personal level I will never forget it for a whole different reason. After all the searching, tracing and testing, I found blood relatives paternal side.

I can’t even begin to tell you how it felt when they first reached out to me via email. My mother and I showed up in their list of of matches and of course they were curious. We exchanged quite a few emails and pictures, which I also shared with my mother. Seeing people who looked like her was truly unreal. She has four living half sisters and a living half brother on her birth fathers side. One of them is even fairly close to my age!

As you can imagine this came as a shock to them. While I was aware of them because of my research, they had no idea we existed. I certainly haven’t pushed it with them as I don’t want to presume to understand how they feel about it. I do hope that post-COVID we are able to set up some sort of meeting. My mom is 71 and I would love for her to meet them before the time comes where she can’t.

I still can’t believe that after two years of searching and tracing that it finally happened. It’s still quite overwhelming when I think about it.

In the Fall I did an interview with Chelsey Gould of Saltwire about my journey – https://www.saltwire.com/news/canada/whats-hiding-in-your-dna-being-informed-and-prepared-for-the-unexpected-critical-to-commercial-genetic-testing-kits-says-lawyer-498842/ – That was a very cool experience. I have always said that if my experience helps one person it was worth all the energy I have put into it. I find myself becoming more vocal every day about adoptee rights.

My goals for 2021 will be to find out whatever I can on her birth mother. I would so love to find a picture of her. That is my greatest challenge. While I know who that family is, I am not comfortable reaching out. Causing stress or upheaval in someone else’s life was never what this was about and I won’t do it. I also hope to continue connecting with the new found paternal family and learning more about that side of the family.

When I think back to where I first started with that test kit from MyHeritage I am amazed at how far I was able to get. Every step in this journey has remarkable, but without that first step none of it would have been possible. I’ve had so many people reach out through the various DNA platforms it’s amazing.

If you’re thinking about doing a DNA test, go for it. What do you have to lose. Is there more perfect a time to sit and do research than during a pandemic, when most of us at home more than ever? There’s a whole world out there to discover. We may not be able to physically travel but we all can take a DNA journey. Let me tell you it’s a trip!

I look forward to another year of discovery in 2021!