My 23 & Me Discovery
- Author Robert Hempel
- Published August 10, 2021
- Word count 1,043
An amazing thing happened to me last week. But, before I tell you what it was, I would like to give a little bit of a back story that directly pertains to this amazing event. Many, well, MOST of my friends and acquaintances know that I spent quite an extensive length of time in the Foster Care system in Texas when I was a young child. Approximately 4 ½ to 5 years. I am not going to try and go into any detail as to why this occurred, but I will say that I have never known, nor have I ever had the opportunity to know my biological father. I was reunited with my mom and siblings at the age of 9. My mom had remarried to the man that I call “Dad”. He was, is, and always will be a good man and my ‘Dad’. However, over the years I have had a curiosity inside me that has urged me to want to locate and learn about my biological father. I have questions like, “Where have you been”, “Tell me about your health history because it may be important”, and things like that. Not because I am looking for a ‘Dad’, I already have one of those as I have mentioned. I just want to satisfy my curiosity. Especially about the health stuff. (No, I am not Ill or anything like that, I just want to be proactive). Anyways, about a year ago, I discovered a way to make a possible connection, so I took it.
I heard about this company that offers DNA testing at a pretty affordable rate and it will give you a pretty extensive background on your ancestry and where you (and your people), came from. They also guarantee that if anyone who matches your DNA has taken their test you will be matched up as relatives. You may have heard of it, it’s called 23 & Me. It is a catchy name that refers to the 23 pairs of chromosomes that we all have. Hence, “23 & Me”. So, like I said earlier. I discovered 23 & Me a little over a year ago and ordered a test kit. When it arrived, I immediately took the test and sent it back to them in great anticipation of receiving my results. Over this last year I have received many notifications of ‘distant’ relatives, 3rd cousin matches and such. I have also been notified that my first cousin whom I know very well, and my nephew have both taken the test and we have been matched up. The main reason I took this test was because I was hoping to make contact with someone, anyone, who might have some information about my biological father. Here I am, over a year later and still no connection with anyone regarding that.
Now, here is where the ‘Amazing’ part comes in. Just a little over a week ago, just right at about the time I was going to give up on 23 & Me and delete the app from my cell phone, I received a message from a young lady on my 23 & Me app. It said, “Hey, I believe you’re my biological father. I’d love to talk and learn more about you.” WHAT????? That was my reaction. I looked at her DNA test results, (you can do that with anybody who matches up with yours) and in big bold letters it said, “DAUGHTER” and, “this person inherited exactly half of their DNA from you”. At first, I was like, how is that possible? So, I started asking her questions. Questions like, when were you born, what is your mother’s name. As it turns out, she was born in 1992 and when she told me what her mother’s name is, a gush of a memory suddenly came flooding back into my mind. I had dated her mother when I was in the Marine Corps many years ago, her mother was in the military too and for privacy reasons I will not reveal any of those details. For whatever reason, we had broken up and I was transferred to another duty station. I never knew that my daughter was conceived. Fast forward 28 (almost 29) years and I received this totally UNEXPECTED message out of the blue. I was shocked to put it mildly. But the memories that came flooding back were good ones, and I couldn’t even find myself being upset with this young ladies’ mother. I wish I had known about her of course because I missed out on the opportunity to be her ‘Dad’ when she needed me the most.
I will say this though, I instantly felt a “Father’s Love for his Child” and I welcomed this Beautiful young lady into my life. Into mine and my wife’s life. Since this connection, we have spoken on the phone numerous times, we have facetimed a few times and we have plans to meet in just a few short weeks. I can’t wait. After seeing her on facetime and in photos there is no doubt that this young woman is my child. All of my children (3 now) have very distinguishing physical characteristics that they have inherited from me, and this young woman is no exception. She told me that she grew up an only child and she wanted to know if she has any siblings. I told her yes, she has a brother and a sister. She was very happy about that and her and her sister have also spoken on the phone a few times since we connected. What is really cool, is that all 3 of my children share the same birth month. They were ALL born in the month of July. Now how cool is that?
While 23 & Me did not give me the results that I was hoping for, it did give me something far better, something I had never even considered. I have a daughter that wants to know who her dad is, and who her siblings are, and who her extended family is. And we ALL want to know her as well. All that I can say is this, “While I did not find what I was looking for, something far better found me. So, from the bottom of my heart. THANK YOU to 23 & Me”.
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