7 Steps to Finding Your Biological Father
What do you do if you’ve never known who your biological father is? I recently asked Alexa and got unsatisfactory answers. Alexa, it seems, thinks that the way to find out your biological father is to have a name. NO KIDDING ALEXA! She even went as far as suggesting that you ask your mother. But what do you do if you are adopted and the adoption is not open? Or if you’ve never known your biological father and your mother is being less than helpful. She either doesn’t know or isn’t willing to tell. What about those of us who thought we KNEW our biological fathers? We took an at-home DNA test and found out that SURPRISE! What we thought we knew about our biological father is, is completely, patently false.
Steps to Finding Your Biological Father:
1) Take an Ancestry DNA Test
If you have not already, you need to take a DNA test. Not all DNA tests are created equal! The main competitors out there are Ancestry and 23 & Me, and while each has their benefits, Ancestry is the #1 choice for DNAngels. Why? Because if you match with a person, and they have a public tree, you can use that to further your research. 23 & Me is great but does not give a way to see other members’ trees or a way to share your tree with your Search Angel other than allowing her access to your account by giving her your username and password. Ancestry allows for sharing that does not require anyone else logging into your account. Add to this that their database is much larger. 23 & Me is good as a secondary test, but it’s like Pepsi and Coke.
2) Get your Results
It’s a long 4-6 weeks while you are waiting for those results to come in! We understand! While you are waiting, you can start building your tree on your known-families’ side, if applicable. When we begin work, we like to have your name, your date and place of birth, and Mom’s name and date of birth filled in. Anything else is just gravy. One your results populate, resist the urge to sort and color code you matches, your Angel will appreciate it!
3) Reach out to DNAngels
Once you have your results, you need to apply to our screening room on Facebook. You can find that at DNAngels Screening Room. We do all of our work using Facebook Messenger currently, so that we can keep a record of all of the information you supply your team, and because Messenger allows your TEAM, from Intake Specialist to Angels and anyone else that needs to be able to “read the room” the ability to look back. It also gives you a permanent record of the work we do and a place to be able to always contact your Angel.
4) Be assigned a Search Angel
Once your Intake Specialist has gathered the information your Angel will need, you will likely be assigned a Search Angel in 24-72 hours, depending on the volume of clients. Angels are volunteers and typically work at night or on the weekends for the most part. Your Angel will ask questions of you and listen to what your DNA is telling her. She will map your matches in your tree so that she can use those matches to determine your biological family.
5) Be Cooperative
Your Angel may have questions about your matches, who you’ve spoken to, and what kind of information you have. She may ask you to upload your DNA to free sites to generate more matches, or to reach out to a match and ask carefully worded questions. It’s important that you recognize you and your Angel(s) as TEAM and that finding your biological father is a group effort!
6) Be Patient!
Finding your biological father can take awhile, depending on your matches. Most cases are solved in less than a week, but some cases take longer. It really depends on a few things – who in your bio father’s family has tested and whether or not they have built a tree. Sometimes, it takes some coaxing to get the information needed from a key family member.
7) Get Your Answer*
This is always the most exciting part! Nothing gives our Angels as much joy as being able to provide a client with their truth, and having it validated through a DNA test or a confession on either Mom or Dad’s part. While we stand by our answers, the validation that comes from having your tell us your DNA test for Dad or sibling came back and we were spot on always gives us a big adrenaline boost. When you celebrate, we celebrate.
Because DNAngels is not just the kind of group that finds your biological family and then says “So long, and good luck!” We stay with you through the process of finding bio dad and after. Your research room is always there for you to ask questions or to give updates. As a client, you have access to our client group – which is secret and by invitation of an administrator only, we have resources that we give you access to, our Best Practices Guide, the DNA Buddies program, which pairs you up with someone who has been where you are and will help you through the “next phase” of your journey. We have a list of counselors available that are sensitive to DNA discovery issues and we even have a therapist who is there for emergency situations and can help guide you to someone in your area for long-term therapy and self-care.
And we have our best resource – all over our other clients and their experiences. Truly, we have a unique situation and a wonderfully supportive group of clients who are more like family to all of us! We stay involved – to the extent you want us to be – in your story! We love our clients and we love getting updates. Your victories are our victories and your sorrow is our sorrow. We all either celebrate or mourn together.
So there it is, how to find your biological father in 7 easy steps. If you are going through this journey, remember to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to process your discovery. You’ll go through all the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But for those of us on a DNA journey, there is a 6th – finding meaning. You will have to determine what is important to you and for you for the next phase of your life. You’ve found him, now what do you do with this knowledge? Only you can determine what is right for you. To all of you out there searching for your biological fathers, and to those who found him, I raise a glass. Slàinte!
*DNAngels solves 90% of cases. Sometimes a case comes down to one of several brothers and target testing must be done of the potential Daddy candidates or their children. Sometimes, the answer is not clear for one reason or another.