I Found Out I was Adopted From a DNA Test

Jessica* always suspected her mom wasn't telling the truth about her birth story, but it wasn't until she took an at-home DNA test that she had proof. A year later, her biological mother reached out.

Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong. Photo: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

Part of me always suspected I was adopted, because my mom's story about my birth never quite added up. She claimed I was delivered in a random town in another state because she happened to be taking a trip there. As a kid, I even found adoption magazines in my parents' garage, but when I confronted my mom about it, she got really defensive. She was adamant that she was my biological mother, so for the most part, I let it go.

Then last year, I got one of those at-home DNA tests, thinking I would take it just to put my suspicions to rest. Turns out, it did the exact opposite, and at the age of 24, I finally confirmed what I'd kind of known all along: Genetically speaking, there was no way I was my parents' biological child.

My test results showed I was nearly 100 percent Irish, Scottish, and British—a background that didn't match either of my parents' whatsoever. My dad passed away a few years ago, but when I confronted my mom with this new information, she tried to deny it meant anything. Eventually, though, she couldn't dispute the obvious: I wasn't her biological daughter, and she'd lied to me about being adopted for my entire life.

At this point, my mom broke down. She told she'd tried to tell me the truth so many times through the years—when I graduated high school, when I graduated college, when my dad was sick, when we went on a trip together after that. But the timing was never quite right, she said, and she was afraid I'd hate her and never speak to her again for having misled me all these years.

I kind of had to put my own feelings aside and comfort my mom. I didn't hate her, but I did feel betrayed. I wish she would've just told me the truth all along so my being adopted wasn't something the rest of my family felt like they had to hide from me.

Funnily enough, though, I'm now keeping my mom in the dark about something pretty big. A few weeks ago, my biological mother reached out to me through the DNA kit company's website. She sent a super brief note saying I can "reach out if I wanted to chat." I wasn't sure how to respond or if I was ready to have this new relationship sprung upon me. But after thinking about it for a few days, I messaged her back.

I told her I'm "open to a line of communication between us," but otherwise, I don't really have much to say right now. I don't want to lose the chance to ever talk to my biological mother, but hearing from her—and learning I have half-siblings—has been a lot to unpack.

I'm taking some time to process all of this. I don't know if or when I'll tell my mom that my biological mother reached out to me. And I don't know when I'll be open to pursuing a relationship with my biological mother. I did tell her that if she has anything she wants to share with me, I'm willing to listen.

Ultimately, I am glad I took that DNA test last year. I've always wondered about my actual origin story, and while I wish I'd known the truth much earlier in life, this was the way I had to do it if I ever wanted to find out. I have a lot of mixed emotions about the people involved, but it's been worth it for the overall sense of clarity. Now I just have to navigate everything that's come with it, and I'm giving myself some time and space to think on it.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the contributor.

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