It’s my ‘new’ blog day. I forgot I switched from Wednesdays to Thursdays. Whoops. The good news is I’m getting this in under the wire. It’s 11:15 in Denver, so HA!
I have a handful of topics I considered writing about today. I settled on discussing the strange events surrounding my DNA results. For the record, we sent them in two months ago. My wife ordered me a kit for our anniversary. Pony Express must have delivered them. It seems odd that our government can get a DNA result of Osama Bin Laden in a matter of hours, but paying customers like you and me get to wait months from private companies. Perhaps, the horse that carried my DNA kit in its satchel had a lame leg and had to mend before continuing on the treacherous journey. I digress.
I finally got the results Monday night. The good news is I’m basically what I assumed I always was—a mutt.
- 39% English
- 22% Scottish
- 17% Irish
- 14% German
- 5% Norwegian
- 3% Swedish.
You can check my math, but I believe that adds up to 100%. Now, we don’t take kindly to redcoats in this house, so you can cross the English off that list (just kidding around to all my English fans, if I have any). Yay, that means I’m Scottish. Now my ‘Scotland Forever’ (in Gaelic) tattoo doesn’t seem so strange.
That was a pleasant surprise to learn about my DNA. I didn’t want to set myself up for expecting anything beyond that. No sense in getting let down if I expected more and got less. But that’s not all. I hope you’re sitting on the edge of your seat.
Included with my DNA results were possible matches. None are siblings. My biological mother is not living. There is no record of the biological father. I wasn’t remotely expecting to get anything in that arena, so I wasn’t let down. Having said that, I did find matches with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins. I was pleasantly surprised. My wife was elated. My mom (who has been a champion for me with her detective work on this) was cautiously optimistic.
We decided to send out polite feeler messages in the Ancestry.com app to see if any matches would respond. I sent the messages and didn’t expect to hear anything for some time. As you’ve heard me say plenty of times, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I started getting messages within 24 hours from multiple cousins. It was pleasant and overwhelming at the same time to actually hear from people I never knew existed.
As if that weren’t enough, I was put in touch with the family genealogy guru for my extended bio-family. He has the same knack my mom has for putting in the man-hours and detective work to build out impressive family trees. Long story short, he was able to find my bio-mother’s birth name (she was adopted too), and he linked me into their bio-family tree. It was incredibly unexpected, and I am still processing all of it.
For the record, the fella I spoke with—I won’t name names as I protect anonymity as often as possible—is a great guy. We chatted for nearly an hour last night, and he had more information than I knew what to do with.
I want to be precise. Nobody and nothing could replace the family that adopted me. I am their son, their grandson, their nephew, and so on. I’m proud to be part of the family that raised me. I’ve always joked I was made in a factory and shipped off to a new home after some dents and dings were smoothed over in the mechanic shop (foster care). I love my mom and dad. I love the life they painstakingly and patiently built for me. I simply wouldn’t be me without them. The same is true of my wife and daughter. They’ve rounded me into a better man with lots of patience, tears, and love. I like to write about this topic often because I don’t think enough people express the love and tenderness we silently carry in our hearts.
Getting back to the story, I have a bio-family tree going back to my 7th great-grandfather on one side of the family. It’s pretty surreal to think I had never seen a photo of my bio-mother until a few weeks ago. Now I have this entire history that was utterly unknown to me. I can’t help but be grateful to live in a time where we can plug DNA into a computer and get the results we do in such a short time. In fact, when I called my mom last night to tell her the news, she joked that I found out more in one night than in all of her research combined. I told her I got lucky. I ran a DNA test in 2021. Plenty of folks have DNA in the system now, so it’s much easier to find matches as a result.
I’ve also spoken to three cousins now in the last 36 hours. They’re older than me, as my bio-mother was the youngest of the bunch. It’s interesting to see that the family had lots of siblings through many generations. It’s quite the opposite of what I’ve grown up with. I have one brother, and I had one first cousin. I am used to a small family. It will take some getting used to a large network if I hear from more folks in the bio-lineage.
Like I said, I’m still processing all of this. I am not happy or sad. I’m optimistic, but that is my typical outlook on most things. The reason I don’t have any emotions about the experience yet is I have gone 43 years with nothing more than a few facts on a handful of court records—that’s all my mom and I were able to get over the last 40 years (I was adopted in 1980). I’m grateful for what I have in those documents. I’ve shared them with the guru I mentioned above as he has access to more records for more people than I do. Perhaps, more information will come to light. Only time will tell.
The last comment I want to leave you with is something my dear wife said to me tonight. She said it was probably for the best I never met my bio-mother or bio-grandmother. They were sick and, from all accounts, not very good at managing their sickness. For the record, I agree with my wife’s assessment. I never intended to have a relationship with my bio-mother. I did always want to meet her and take her to one single dinner so she could meet me and know I turned out okay. Aside from that, I didn’t want anything to do with her. As it is, I can put that to rest because it isn’t going to happen.
I’m always impressed, mystified, and enjoy the irony of God’s Plan. We always get answers. They’re often not the answers we thought we would get, but they are answers. God, I know you’re looking down and smiling at me. You’re probably getting quite a chuckle out of what you knew would happen all along. I enjoy the humor and wisdom of me not finding these answers until I was old enough to attempt to process them.
As always, this has been the World According to Chris. Please hit the like button or leave a reply.