Every once in a while (maybe a bit too often) I open links that pop up on Facebook which typically brings about more spamming of “Suggested for you” links. But one I read this past weekend dealt with DNA and the damages it brought to families, although a bunch of the stories had great outcomes. So here are my thoughts.
Let me start by saying I believe the people who changed your diaper, wiped your mouth, fed, clothed, and housed you are your parents. Regardless of biology!
That said, anyone planning on taking a DNA test needs to prepare themselves mentally for the possibility that their results are not going to be what they expect. The two terms used in this community are Non-Paternal Event (NPE) and Misattributed Parentage. Due to a lot of controversy over the form term they are now saying, Not the Parent Expected.
The fallacy with saying Non-Paternal Event is that there was a paternal event, just not the one expected. The insult of the term is that too many offspring in this category do not want to be referred to as an event in that way. That is why I prefer the Misattributed Parentage. We may find that there was an adoption, a sperm donor, or invitro-fertilization using another woman’s egg.
While I personally believe that once a child reaches the age of about 17, they need to be told the truth but too many parents are afraid the child may decide they want a closer relationship with their biological parent than with the one who raised them. While this does happen, I have yet to see a story written where that was the case except for where the parent who raised them was dealing with their own demons of substance abuse or violent behavior. In most normal families, there is that curiosity and desire to search and try to find but the parents who raised them should not feel slighted in any way.
Several of the stories were done by people wanting to know their ethnicity and that is how they found out. I need to remind you to take the ethnicity portion with a grain of salt unless you are of a heritage that was not mixed with a lot of others for many generations. For example, my late wife who lived her first four years in a Korean orphanage was always labeled a Korean-American. Recently my oldest son did the DNA test and he came back 50% Korean which meant she was 100% and that is believable. But for most of us, the results are XX% British, XX% French, or German, etc. Who is to say that this is accurate since the French invaded Germany many times over the last 1,000 years and Germany invaded France, the British invaded other countries, and the Vikings invaded what is now the British Isles. So these ethnicities are so mixed, I take my results with a grain of salt as I have watched them change many times over the past 7 years.
But back to the main topic. Should you take a test and discover a deep dark secret, I would suggest you be very sensitive as to why a particular parent may have wanted to keep it a secret and could possibly be embarrassed and then angry that you discovered it. I would strongly recommend not throwing it in their face. I recently spoke to a medical Doctor in Michigan who knew his dad was not his biological father but never knew who was. That is until a half-sister popped up on his testing site and shared the name and pictures. The pictures matched the man he saw in photographs his mother had of her with the man about the time he was conceived. I know his biological father was dead already and I don’t recall if his mother was either but he had no animosity over the matter.
The Army taught me to put the bottom line up front and in a way I did that but to state it more bluntly. No one should take a DNA test unless they are prepared to see information that does not match their expectations.