Post # 1
I’m an adopted child. I might have just discovered a younger (half)sibling or cousin completely by accident.
I did an Ancestry DNA test for fun about 6 years ago. It was all very interesting to me, since I like genetics and had no idea of my background. (A European mutt, yay!)
I saw the other thread and was like, “Oh cool, I haven’t checked to see if my regions updated. I’ll do that.”
I had a message, Bees. From a 25 year old woman who matched with me as “close family-1st cousin”. She introduced herself and pointed out that we matched. She told me where her family is located. That’s it.
I’m imagining she may be wondering who the hell I am. I never considered this particular consequence when I did my test so long ago, but Bees… what if I’m the family secret? What do I say? Do I explain that I’m adopted and risk turning a family upside down? This is hard, and I can’t believe I wasn’t thinking about this. I guess so few people did it back then that I didn’t think this would never happen.
Post # 2
I am not adopted so I can only speak on theory. I’d like to think that I would reply and just be honest…tell them I’m adopted and inquire about their family.
If you feel like you want to know about your possible bio family I’d reply and see what she has to say.
Post # 3
- Wedding: April 2021 - City, State
I had this happen with my aunt when her daughter she put up for adoption contacted her, it was a family secret, but to her, it actually was a relief for my aunt because she always wondered what happened to her and had kept that pregnancy a secret for decades from everyone but my grandma and at the time she probably would have considered having an open adoption but that option wasn’t popular back then and my long lost cousin was welcomed into the family which is nice because her adopted family ended up being a bit dysfunctional.
Of course, that was my family’s story, every family is a bit different, but the story with my aunt and cousin was pretty positive, unfortunately, not all of them are. If I were you, I proceed with caution and don’t be offended if they don’t want anything to do with you.
Post # 4
I’m personally not a fan of this aspect of the DNA kits for this very reason.
Since she reached out to you, it’s not like she can’t expect there to be some backstory potentially associated with who you are. It really is up to you and what you feel is right in your situation. Do you want to know? There is no right or wrong answer.
Me personally, I wouldn’t want to know anything or have contact with ppl who thus far were not in my life bc I feel like that would open up a can of worms and I don’t feel right judging choices others may have made in the past. Also, I am happy with my life and my family so I have no reason to be searching for others out there, so to speak. But I can understand why someone would want to know. So, that said, it is a deeply personal choice.
Post # 5
This is a challenging situation to be in but I agree with the PP who said to be honest and share that you are adopted. She contacted you, you did not contact her. Also, whatever circumstances led to your adoption (which you do not know) aren’t really your burden to bear without additional clarity. (meaning I do not think you should forego contact just in case no one knows about you. You have a right to exist and any secrets about your existence aren’t your fault).
I’ve been noticing how Ancestry (and other DNA kits) have been bringing to light all kinds of hidden family secrets and some of them are really painful and others are just lingering habits of secrecy and shame and it’s actually healing to get them out in the open.
I have a very large family. Our approach tends to be of the “more to love” variety. My father learned at 65 (from a relative, not a DNA kit) that he had an older brother. They have become good friends and speak on the phone regularly (they live across the country from each other).
My mother and I were contacted by someone who said she was adopted and her test showed a connection to us and we were able to connect her with an aunt who may be able to tell her more about her father.
Post # 6
I can speak to this from experience. My Mother is adopted. I did the DNA test just to find out what my heritage is. I knew there was a chance I might connect with biological relatives of hers but I honestly thought it was slim. When I did notice a few high matches (1st cousins, etc.) that I was unfamiliar with I sent them messages. I have developed a strategy.
My initial message is vague. I say hi and that I noticed we matched as close relatives and would they be interested in chatting. Most often than not the person wrote me back a similarly vague response and said that they would be interested in chatting. If they didn’t write back at all, I left it alone.
My second message would be to say that I believe we may be connected through my Mothers adoption however I know that adoption can be a sensitive topic so I would understand if they did not want to go down that path. Most people were still interested in speaking. Through these conversations I have been able to pretty conclusively determine who my Moms biological Father was.
The only awkward encounter I had was with a man that I believe is my Moms brother. I had already spoken to some of his cousins by the time I messaged him so I was pretty confident in how we were related. I sent my generic vague message first. He responded by saying that he had spoken with an Aunt of his and knew who I am. He said that he and his siblings were in shock and he would love to speak with me but he doesn’t know if he is ready. That was two years ago and I haven’t heard from him since. I have been respectful about it and not messaged him again but I won’t lie, I really wish he had been more excited to chat.
Now, two years later I have logged back into the system and discovered some new matches. I think at least one of these people may be related to my Moms biological Mother. That side of her history I hadn’t previously found anything on.
Post # 7
- Wedding: November 2017 - France
My father was adopted which is no secret especially since I’m from a tiny Island and he was adopted by a very public Senator. My brother and I did DNA tests to find family and I always disclose that my father is adopted when I receive messages. I’ve found quite a bit of family, literally a whole Island (My paternal grandfather was from the French Caribbean and the Island was endogamous). Seems like my French side never really spoke of their family life so a lot of my new-found cousins were also looking for information and we’ve been helping each other.
Post # 8
Thank you all for your responses and stories.
I always had some curiosity about my biological family (who wouldn’t?), but I never felt a burning desire to specifically search them out. So, that kind of leaves me in the position of “it would be kind of cool to know more, but if they don’t want anything to do with me, I’ll be okay with that.”
What I do know for sure that I don’t want to be unnecessarily emotionally entangled in another family. Mine is fantastic and I don’t need a second. I wouldn’t mind meeting some biological family members and being acquainted, maybe hearing some family history and about any potential health issues. I’ve always wanted to tell my biological mother that her choice to put me up for adoption is one of the most wonderful gifts she’s ever given anyone; the gift of life and a bright future full of opportunities she couldn’t have provided me. All I know about her is that she was 18 at the time she had me, and she only gained ten lbs during pregnancy due to having no money for food. My biological father wasn’t listed on my birth certificate.
All these scenarios keep running through my mind. This young woman could be a half sibling, maternal or paternal. Perhaps a cousin. Either way, she might not know I exist. My biological father might not even know he has a child.
I do think that a bare bones response, something like, “Hi, I was born in ____, but I’m an adopted child, so I don’t have much (if any) family history” would leave the ball in her court. She could do her own research within her family and respond if she felt up to it. I wouldn’t agonize or be upset either way. There is always opportunity for me to get the real deal information about my family and find them later if I decide that’s something I want to do. For now, knowing more would be fun, but I feel like I’ll need to have some boundaries prepared to make sure I don’t get in further than I’m comfortable with. I would never treat them unkindly, but they’re strangers to me; I don’t feel obligated to go past my comfort level just because our genetics match.
Post # 9
bouviebee : I can’t even imagine how exciting that would be, but I would be careful about how you go about making contact. I have a friend who was adopted, and reached out to her birth parents after locating them online, through an ancestry search. Her parents were not together. Mom was single, and dad was married. Birth mom was happy to hear from her, but Birth dad’s marriage almost split up over it. My friend reached out to her half sister, and she in turn confronted her dad. His wife or kids did not know he had a baby with another woman. My friend was given up because her parents were young teens when she was conceived. My friend is in contact with his daughter, her half-sister, but the biological dad wants nothing to do with my friend to this day.
Post # 10
bouviebee : This up to you.
On one hand, she reached out to you. It means she is curious and has some desire to connect. If you are also open to this, then i would respond.
However, i’d take time to consider that this is what YOU want. You dont owe her a message back and you dont owe anyone an apology for possibly being the family secret or blowing anything up. This is a time to be a bit selfish and consider your wants and feelings. If you would like to connect with this side of your family and realizing there may be some who are open to welcoming you and may be some who are not.
I recently met my half brother, my dads (semi) secret love child LOL. We have a good relationship and have had the chance to meet up, however my brothers don’t care to meet or talk to him.
Post # 11
bouviebee : you sound in a good place emotionally, to handle this, and I think your strategy is sound. There is always a risk you won’t be able to put the biscuit dough back in the can.
But it’s your right. Best wishes