The Secret Child

What happens if you found a secret child in your past?

Would you accept a secret child or sibling if they messaged you? I know I would not be upset about it. There are so many stories about people who think adoptees should not reveal who they are on the first contact, and other tales of people getting upset when a new relative they did not know about contacts them. This is not the majority of people, but it seems like a few think that Ancestry DNA and 23andme are just tests taken for entertainment value with “ethnicity estimates”. This is the genealogy spectator crowd, the people who do not really work on their family trees. There might also just be some very private people, but genealogical testing might not be for you if this is the case.

I respect those who want to be more private. Honestly, I wanted to share way more about my genealogical journey, but I curtail what I do share because of my family. Certain thoughts I only post on Facebook because I still want to share, but I do not want to be chagrined for posting a certain thought on a public blog. So I get that people have different levels of privacy, but it is a little bit over the top if you think an unknown relative will never contact you after taking a DNA test. Genealogical testing services warn about non-paternal events, which essentially means that your ancestors might not be who you think they are. People think that in years past people lived more puritanical lives, and that is not always the case. Genealogy reveals people had affairs, and sometimes there were offspring from such unions.

I have been thrilled when a new cousin contacts me on the ancestry websites, and I would not be upset if I found out I had a half sibling or unknown cousin. Actually, years ago I suspect I did have an unknown cousin who contacted my dad asking for info about her father.  My dad was not her father since he was around the same age as her, but some of the details that caused her to contact us made me wonder who her father was. I told her I was not certain exactly who her father was, but I did have some thoughts about who it might be. I am always curious if she will show up as a new match on the DNA tests, but I have never had her come up. Maybe she got the wrong information when she contacted us, but I think she actually had done her research and knew who she was looking for.

Genealogy is now one of my biggest hobbies, and I adore it because the tests give us more clues to help us work on our family trees. I am excited I have made new friends who are cousins via these sites, and I always look forward to hearing from new people. Actually, I like it when cousins contact me on the genealogy sites because they are usually more into this subject than immediate family members who are just not as interested.

The picture at the top of this post is one of me from Christmas in 1986, but I did not have any photographs to illustrate this post. People tend to ignore posts without photographs, so I am just trying to make it more interesting. The point I wanted to make is children do not choose who their parents are, and adults who take the DNA test should be mature enough to accept people into their lives who just want more information about their heritage. If the possibility of an unknown relative contacting you one day puts your world in a tailspin, then DNA testing might not be for you.

2 Replies to “The Secret Child”

  1. I think having an unknown relative is interesting — and in fiction it always makes for an intriguing plot twist. Today, many people meet their biological parents for the first time as adults. There is no shame in that.

  2. I am glad you are open minded about this, Aya. Some people who are looking for birth parents or other family members get chagrined, and this is by people who took those Ancestry tests and show up as close relatives. The tests warn people in advance that we may find out things that are surprising, such as unknown relatives, but there have been some cases where a person flat out denies they are related, even though the science says otherwise. Or people who are scolded for sharing they are an adoptee in the first contact. I think all these rules are a bit abrasive towards people looking for a birth family, and maybe people who do not want the secrets of their past to come knocking should think before taking these tests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *