People whove had their families upended by DNA websites reveal what happened.
According to Divorce Statistics, 2% to 3% of all children are born out of infidelity and most of these children are unknowingly raised by men who are not their biological fathers.
These days, with the availability of so many DNA websites like 23andMe and Ancestry, a lot of people are discovering things that maybe they didn’t really want.
A viral post on the askReddit forum asked how these new websites have affected families — “People whose families have been destroyed by 23andme and other DNA sequencing services, what went down?”
Here are the best responses to the question:
1. Finding family
“I’ve been searching for my father my whole life and through 23andme I just found a half-brother, finally answering the question. Our father is unfortunately passed, but we’re meeting in person in April.
A couple weeks after we found each other we were also contacted by another half-sister.”
15. A happy ending
“My story has a rough beginning, but a happy ending. I apologize, this will be a bit lengthy.
I ordered 23andme to try to figure out ‘what’ I was, not to track down any long lost family members. I had known since I was a teenager that my dad who raised me wasn’t my biological father. I used to ask my mom if I was adopted because I don’t look like anyone in my family.
My mom is almost 100% Irish and my dad (who raised me, he is and always will be my dad) is also Caucasian and I look a bit ethnically ambiguous. Olive (but fair) skin, dark hair, and green eyes; no one else in my family looked like me. My mom finally told me the truth when i was 16.
When I got my report back, I was mostly European by my breakdown, I was still confused. I had several cousins show up, but contacting them didn’t interest me at all. One day I got a notification that I had new relatives and a half sister popped up. This caught me completely off guard and I didn’t know what to do…because I wanted to contact her.
For the first time ever, I wanted to know more. I messaged her, not telling anything about myself, just that if she’d like to know more about me, I would be open with all that I knew. I never got a reply, this kind of broke my heart if I’m being honest, but I accepted that she probably knew nothing of me and that the revelation of my existence may have hurt their family horribly.
A few months later a second cousin popped up and she was shown to be the first cousin of my ‘half sister,’ this confused me even more. Why was she my second cousin and my half sisters first cousin? She contacted me because she thought I may have answers for her, I told her that I had tried to contact my half sister but heard nothing and apologized for not being able to help her. (Her story is oddly similar to mine.) She also told me that she had communicated briefly with her first cousin, but after bringing me up, she cut off contact with her.
That made me feel horrible. But through our brief interaction, i realized that the three of us were connected through my ‘half sisters’ maternal blood line. I know my mom is my mom, there’s no question there, so I started thinking, how could this be?..then I realized that my “half sister” was actually my aunt, my biological father’s sister. Half-siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents all share 25% of their DNA, all the connections on these websites are based on probability.
I messaged her again and told her that I thought she may be my aunt and I told her more about myself…my birthdate and where I was conceived, and that if she had a brother who was in that area at that time, he was my biological father. She messaged me back in no time. It turns out that my paternal grandfather had passed away years ago and when she got the first message and saw the half sister connection, she assumed her father had a child that none of them knew about. I’m younger than her and her siblings, obviously, so I would have come along after them.
She didn’t contact me because she didn’t want to hurt her mother, and I’m sure she was hurt by this too. I understood, completely. She then went on to tell me that they all knew about me but didn’t want to disrupt my life. She said my biological father never forgot about me…I had always thought I was his dirty little secret. (He and my mother were both married to other people when I was conceived..that’s another long story.)
Anyways, my husband, children, and I have since met them all. I actually have three half siblings that also knew about me. It was so strange to finally meet people who I resemble. I’m a spitting image of my paternal grandmother when she was young, they were all blown away by that. We stay in contact and I couldn’t be happier that I bought the 23andme kit.”
A version of this article was originally published by our partners at Did You Know Facts and was written by Matt Gilligan.