For Christmas I got myself a 23andMe DNA test. Some people wondered why. Most people who utilize these tests are extreme genealogy buffs or are in search of biological family. Because of my experiences working as a search angel in various different groups I have been able to develop a deep appreciation for tests such as these. Furthermore, a deep appreciation for the fact that these tests mean nothing unless more people like me, who are not adopted, submit our DNA.
Yes, I am a birthmother, but DNA will play no role in the life of the daughter I relinquished in regards to her quest to find me. She will never need to search. Her adoptive parents hold all the answers to my location. And if, for some reason, she is unable to obtain that information from them, she will only need to look to the courts in the state she was born in. My notarized signature is on file. She has permission to have her original birth certificate. The fact that I needed to give permission for her to have it, in the first place, is sickening but, nevertheless, it was the only way. In addition to that, my address and phone number is also there. I have updated it every time information has changed over the past 14 years. I hope she never has to use this as a means to find me and only as a means to have her birth certificate. But, if it turns out that way, I have peace knowing it is all there.
Unfortunately, for the majority of adoptees in this country, that is not the case. Outdated and archaic laws and informal social institutions have dictated that adoptees are somehow not deserving of the basic human right to know who created them. So until these laws and social attitudes are changed, many adoptees have only one hope of finding any birth family. Genetic testing.
There are a few big players in the DNA testing market. I am by no means an expert at this stuff at all. I chose the company I did because, overall, to me, it seemed to serve the main purpose I was using it for the best. It had a large database of people and is well known for matching birth relatives. I don’t know that there is anyone sharing my DNA that may be searching for family, but I don’t know that there isn’t. In a show of solidarity for all those people still searching for answers, I jumped in the pool, as one of my fellow adoptee friends pointed out. If my DNA could help only one person solve their puzzle it would be worth it.
Of course I did get some other perks of the test. It’s neat to see where my ancestors came from and what genes could be potentially ticking time bombs. I found out I’m not nearly as white as I look and that I have the best longevity gene one could hope for. Great! Since all I really have is raw data I can’t do too much in regards to my main purpose for testing. In a few days the program should start matching me with relatives. Distant cousins, Maybe close cousins? In the meantime I am trying to make my family tree as accurate as possible. I have transformed all the data I worked on for years from my ancestry account and it now resides in my 23andMe family tree via MyHeritage. Maybe the secrets of my genes can help someone uncover secrets of their own.
Why am I blogging about this? Really it’s quite simple. If EVERYONE paid the $99 and did one of these tests imagine how many adoptees could find their answers sooner than these laws are starting to change. What do you say? Are you ready to jump in the pool with us?