Archives for posts with tag: dna

Where to even begin. Since my last update I feel like ten thousand things have happened and my brain has thought of little else. It has been four weeks and three days since I first heard the name from my mother and it’s been on repeat over and over. Probably the longest stretch of time in my life, and sadly it’s just going to continue to take even longer.

I reached out to my potential cousin and aunt, and explained the situation as best I could. One thing I’ve learned quickly was that there really is no graceful way to approach this subject with the people involved. It’s awkward, it’s weird and for those on the receiving end it’s completely out of left field. But, I keep reminding myself that I exist and should not apologize for it. Unfortunately that doesn’t stop me from feeling like a crazy person intruding on people’s lives.

She was understandably skeptical, but very kind. She reached out to her brother and followed up with me explaining that he did say it was a possibility and she left the ball in his court to reach out. To this day he has not, which is probably for the best. I’m waiting to make contact until DNA can confirm or deny.

So just after Christmas I get a text from Virginia excitedly exclaiming that she knew the potential half brother I had shown her pictures of and that she was calling him first thing in the morning to get him to take the DNA test. My stomach instantly had a fit, but I was thankful for her complete lack of fear in this situation. I hadn’t been being that brave thus far. So she did as she said she would and made that call, and within a couple of days the test was in her hands and she met with him in a coffee shop. She kept telling me how calm and confident he was, and how she felt like a nervous teenager on a first date. I can only imagine I would have been the same. Virginia and I used to talk for hours about what my dad must be like and scheme ways that we could try to track him down. Obviously the loosely knit plans of a pair of 13 year old girls didn’t yield much by way of progress- but she has been one of the people closest to me in this journey. She knows how important it has been to me for so long. She dropped the test in the mail that evening and then the excruciating wait began.

In the meantime, with the help and advice of two outstanding facebook groups, I decided to do some research to see if I could link his family tree with that of some of my existing DNA relatives. I went to work drafting his family tree, learning as much as I could about the family, relatives and history. Watching it all unfold was addicting as in my mind, it really felt like I was finally learning more about where I came from. I spent several days engrossed in Ancestry.com’s archives, adding, editing and researching. Then, a breakthrough. A notification sprung up that one of my DNA matches shared both a surname and a location. I investigated further. Upon looking I saw similar branches to her tree and my own, although much of hers was marked private. I sent a message briefly explaining myself, and heard back shortly with a phone number. I called right away and spoke with the woman who owned the tree. Her stories confirmed what I had found- she and I shared a common ancestor from my potential father’s tree. What this meant is that I share a definite blood relative with this family. With the predicted genetic distance from this relative, it would certainly add up for him to be my father.

So all this evidence, all this data and speculation and photos continue to add up all pointing to my search being over, and I still am left not allowing myself to get excited. My brain is refusing to let me celebrate or cry or relax into this knowledge. Not until the DNA test comes back. So I will sit here and continue to wait, and obsessively check the status of the test. I am hoping I will have the results by the end of the month and it seriously can’t come soon enough. I keep playing back in my mind what it will be like to see one way or the other, and I can’t really say what I am more afraid of- it being positive or negative. I have built this moment up in my mind for so long I don’t really know what to do.

I’ve been stewing over this for a week, with only one or two people to really talk to about it wishing I could get it off my chest over and over again. Then I remembered I have a blog. HA! I need to remember the catharsis that comes along with getting all these thoughts out onto my keyboard.

A few nights ago, a new 2nd-4th cousin match popped up on my FTDNA list. He took rank as now my 3rd closest match on there, right on the first page. This was the first time I had gotten a new first page match since 2014, so you can imagine my excitement. After some sleuthing, I figured out that this person was an 18 year old from Australia. We corresponded a little- nothing too in depth, but it was good to see that he replied when contacted. That night I had a very vivid dream about finding my father. I don’t remember meeting him in the dream, but seeing a name and then collapsing in sobs, overwhelmed with emotion (which is probably how it will go when the time comes). As I woke up, I grabbed my phone with my eyes barely open and did my usual check of my email, instagram, facebook, etc. I was greeted with a facebook message from just moments earlier. My cousin in Israel told me to not get my hopes up, but he had another potential “match” he had just ordered a kit for. He also said the wait might be longer given that the person in question lives in Australia.

!!!!

I can’t help but feel a little hopeful. My search had felt somewhat bleak after the last lead ended up to be a dead end. I knew I was back to the brain numbing waiting game yet again, and quite frankly it bummed me out a bit. I remain hopeful, but I remember how sad my mother was when she found her father only months after he passed away. Knowing that this person¬†likely has a good decade or so on my mom, I am understandably nervous about this guy being dead by the time I find him. Hopefully he stopped living the fast life some time in the late 80’s like many did, calmed his ass down and is now living one of health conscious self preservation. One can hope.

So hopefully I’ll have good news to report in the next 8-12 weeks, maybe the end to my search, maybe just narrowing down another avenue. Either way it’s progress, either through completion or through elimination. I’ll again remain cautiously optimistic and neurotically checking my matches each day. Every day advocating for the miracle of autosomal DNA testing and what it can mean to yourself and others. ¬†Each test, each connection being one additional fiber in an immense network of information paving the way to answers for those of us that seek them desperately.