Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Adoptees Who Received Close Family DNA Matches and Reunited with Birth Family as a Result - Part One

I have posted a couple of adoptee/birth family reunions on my "Your Genetic Genealogist" blog in the past and wanted to bring those stories over here, so to get started, I am going to repost them.

First we had the emotional story of Dan, an adoptee who found his half-sister at 23andMe back in December 2011 with many of us following along as this beautiful story unfolded. I will be writing a follow-up to this story soon detailing more about Dan's reunion with his six half-siblings.

Adoptee Reunites with Birth Family at 23andMe

For a little over a month, many of us have been following the story of an adoptee who tested at 23andMe on a whim and amazingly found a 27.3% DNA match in their database. Today, finally, there is a happy resolution.

Dan had always planned on finding out more about his birth family, but had not taken any steps in that direction until one day a few months ago when he saw a GroupOn offering a discounted 23andMe test. He ordered the test and waited for his results. Initially, he didn't fully investigate his Relative Finder list. When he did so in mid-November, he received quite a surprise. He had a 27.3% female match with the same mtDNA. This meant that his maternal aunt or half-sister (or, less likely, niece from a full sister) had already been tested at 23andMe.

Here is Dan's own summary of his discovery:

 I decided to have my DNA tested on a whim one day as the result of-of all things-a Groupon deal! I had always known that eventually I would seek out my birth family, and the timing was right. To make a long story short, a few months after my results came back, I finally clicked on the "Show Close Relatives" button, and lo and behold, a major match showed up. 27.3% on the maternal side. The good folks here in the community helped me figure out that it would have to be either my bio-Mom's sister, or my half-sister. Stunning news, to say the least.

He immediately sent an invitation to connect to his relative and then turned to the 23andMe Community for confirmation of what he thought he had found. He received an outpouring of support, advice and very interested followers, including me. Throughout this long month, we have all hoped that Dan would receive a response from his match. Personally, I checked almost every day on his progress. With the days drawing on, many theories were developed and ideas for alternate avenues of searching explored, but in the end the DNA test was the answer.

Yesterday, Dan's half-sister logged into 23andMe and received his note. I am so happy to report that she and his five other half-siblings are ready to welcome him with open arms. I have to say that they are lucky to have found a brother such as Dan has proven to be throughout the waiting. From his postings in the 23andMe community forum, he has shown himself to be a caring, thoughtful and well-balanced individual with a lot to offer his new-found family. Obviously, his adoptive parents deserve credit for doing an outstanding job. Kindly, his "new" sister even posted to the very extensive thread concerning Dan's discovery and introduced herself to all of us interested 23andMers. This resulted in many tears of joy from Dan's supporters.

This story is one of hope and encouragement for all adoptees still searching for their biological families. It is also a testament to the power of DNA testing. As the DNA databases grow, I am confident that this type of story will become commonplace. I am, and have been for sometime, committed to helping adoptees utilize their DNA results to learn more about their ancestry, especially in light of the unjust laws on the books of so many states blocking adoptees from their inherent right to know who they are and from where they come. Let's hope this story inspires more adoptees and birth families to DNA test, especially those who have exhausted the traditional avenues of self-discovery and have lost hope.

I hope to post more on this story as it develops and would like to extend my best wishes and congratulations to all parties involved. Dan and his "new" family have received the best Christmas present imaginable. Happy Holidays to all!

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