Recently I got some Big News and at first curiosity bubbled over as I wondered “What now?!” Part of me itched to hurry and tell somebody because the news was too big not to share! Part of me craved to be still, sit and simmer on the information to allow me to maintain control of the situation and to figure out what purpose it serves me. I’ll admit, I followed my curiosity down the online rabbit hole snooping some but also to help shape my idea of “What this all means!”
My original motive for taking a DNA test was to figure out what my other ½ was since I didn’t have that information when I was adopted. When that can of worms opened, family spilled out – as I knew they would. Right away the database paired me with a few 2nd – 4th cousins. While that sounds really close, (2nd is almost as good as 1st, right?) realistically 2nd means that, if we’re lucky, we share great-grandparents. So you can guess how distant 4th cousins feel. Exhilarated, I snooped some close matches online searching for any obvious commonalities on their online profiles. I’ll admit, too, I sat staring at the little envelope button (below the red arrow) and continued to simmer on the whys and what ifs. How would this be received by the recipient?
The reason I’d never really considered looking for biological parents growing up was because I simply believed it was an impossibility. In my mind I’d painted a tale of a military guy on a weekend furlough looking for fun in the country he was stationed in that wound up having a side consequence he never knew of. Whether this is part of the script they tell us to help us “cut ties” with our home country or something I made up to protect myself from potential disappointment, I’m not sure. Since my exposure to other adoptees was super limited and nobody else offered a different picture – I just sat within this reality.
Since then, I’ve read a few books and joined a few online Korean Adoptee groups that paint a very different possibility and changed my perspective enough to be open to communication with a relative if they reached out to me or if were a direct match. I would love to let Korean relatives know that their selfless decision to let me go turned out well. I don’t aim to blow anyone’s vision of what their family unit looks like with a surprise relative from a far land.
While contemplating this new branch of my family tree and how to prune it, I took another DNA test. While attending a blogging conference this past summer, Ancestry.com was there and when they heard I had a 2nd – 4th cousin match on my first round of matches, they said “Here, take this test, our database is one of the largest, maybe we’ll get even closer!”
They brought forth a different cousin – but a 2nd or 3rd! After the usual online snooping, I wasn’t any further to finding any information on this new person. Also, the closest people from the first database didn’t overlap this new sprinkling of relatives.
To go all in, I also downloaded the raw data and threw it into a Korean adoptee specific database (but truly have no idea how to navigate it).
- I know that I want to go to Seoul, South Korea. I know it’s super far and if I’m going to go, I’d want it to be a meaningful trip, not just a tourist trip.
- It could be cool to trace some lineage to answer “behavior or biological” questions.
- As an INFJ, I’m not seeking to have a pile of “relatives” to flood my inbox since I can barely keep up with my own family!
One of the folks in an adoptee group I joined explained it perfectly that we adoptees have blind spots that exist and that we wind up richer by allowing ourselves the curiosity and tenderness towards our own past to let it grow and flourish, thereby overtaking the shadows that have followed us, knowingly or not.
What about you?
Have you taken a DNA test?
Were you adopted or just researching ancestry?
What’d you do next?
Haven’t taken any DNA tests yet. I believe I’m all European American, but who knows! Which one do YOU recommend?
Both Ancestry and Family Tree DNA are great. At the time, I’d chosen Family Tree because it was more my price range, but Ancestry has a larger database. That being said, I have more “close-ish” matches on FTDNA. So how’s that for a sort of but not really recommendation? Thank you for wandering by!
Very cool that you’re searching for relatives! I hope you find many close ones, and soon. I’m not adopted but have researched my family lineage on both sides of my family. I knew we had English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Cherokee. Tracing my grandmother on my mother’s side, I not only find out we have French ancestry, but French royalty! Learning all kinds of cool stuff. My grandmother’s maiden name was Cessna. Come to find out the name used to be De Cessna and I found relation to a Count. Wonder what I’ll find next…
That is so cool! People often dream that they’ll find a link like that but how cool that you really did! I find this whole process fascinating and feel like if more people looked into their heritage, maybe we’d all be more empathetic towards each other!
Thank you so much for including me in this dynamic group! I look forward to checking out everyone’s posts!