First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank DNAngels: Laura, Kelly and Ramona for their help in finding my possible biological father. My journey began on Christmas 2019 when I received a DNA Ancestry kit as a gift from my wife and children. I expected my results to come back 50% Jewish from my mom’s side and 50% Italian from my dad’s side. Well, the results that came back from Ancestry were 50% correct. It showed that I had 50%+ Ashkenazi Jewish; however there were zero Italian! Instead, the other 50% was a combination of Spanish, Portuguese and others. Thinking that this was a mistake, a few months later, in November of 2020, I purchased another DNA test from “23 and Me” but, to my surprise, I received the same results.
This time I also looked into the DNA matches. There were many 3rd and 4th cousins and a few 2nd cousins whom I shared a high percentage of DNA. They all had Spanish last names…a BIG surprise for me. At this point, many thoughts went through my head and I was very confused. Mom had an affair? Ok, no judgment on my part, but there must be other explanations! I’m 59 years old and an only child. My father was 51 when I was born. He had been married five times prior to marrying my mother, but never had any children from those unions. My mother was 27 when I was born. She had issues with one ovary early in her 20’s so she always said that her chances of getting pregnant were very slim. I was a surprise baby.
A few weeks ago, a family friend recommended us to watch a PBS/NOVA documentary called “The Secrets in our DNA” and this led me to listen to an audio book called “Inheritance” by Dani Shapiro. At this point, I was pretty convinced that my mother had sought out some kind of artificial insemination and that, as it was sometimes the practice in the early 60’s, there was sperm mixing by the doctor to enhance the chances of pregnancy. This information somehow made “some” sense to me, given my parents’ circumstances. I began to think that there was a strong possibility my parents didn’t even know I wasn’t my father’s biological son. As hard as this was, it just made sense.
While looking into DNA search resources, my wife came across DNAngels. I filled out the on-line request and within a short while I got a call from Laura. She had stated that my request was compelling and that she thought that she could help. Little did I know, help came that same night! I sat in front of my computer looking at a new family tree. Based on the DNA from a second cousin, they found three men (all deceased) of which only two were “possible biological fathers”. They gave contact information of two possible half sisters from one of the men and a possible half brother from the second one. At this point my head is spinning in 100 different directions! This was crazy! It can’t be…but it was.
This is all happened so fast. And I was not doing well with all this new information. Needless to say, I hardly slept that night. While doing more research, trying to figure out who was who, my wife came across a business directory from the early 60’s, where the name of one of the possible fathers appeared. The business address looked familiar. My parents ran their business on the same street. After a bit more research, we figured out that one office was across the street from the other. To me now, the artificial insemination theory is out of the question. This was an affair or something of the sorts.
What makes this situation much more difficult and stressful for me is that my mother is 87 years old and still alive. She lives in an assisted living facility (ALF), mentally very sound though struggling physically. All this has caused me a great deal of anxiety and I’m not sure if I want to cause the same to the other people related to this, especially my mother. None of them know what I know. My wife doesn’t agree, but is very supportive regardless of my decision. I have many different scenarios going through my head on how to share this information with my mother. Ultimately, I ask myself, do I really want to rock the world of an 88 year old woman who perhaps thought she will take this secret to her grave? Or perhaps she doesn’t even know that she was pregnant with this other man’s child? What do I gain by all this? It’s not going to make me feel any better.
Contacting the two potential half sisters, that are a bit older than me, and sharing with them all this information may not be welcomed by them either, after all, they also have their family lives. I just don’t know. I realize everyone has a different opinion on how to handle these situations, but the truth is, I really don’t want to hurt more people, specially my elderly mother, with whom, I have a good relationship and I don’t know how much longer she will be with me.
I’m not doing well right now, but I know as time goes by, I will feel better, or at least I really, really, hope so. Thanks for reading my story.