Tag: #23andMe

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    This Boomer’s Story

    Well, who knew. It turns out, nobody did. Everyone loves a good story, and 23andMe stories are no exception. This fascinating tale of ancestry, genetics, and family connections may just capture your curiosity.

    I suspect that many boomers may have or will experience something similar.

    ¨You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.¨ — Desmond Tutu

    In this piece, I’ll explore an intriguing 23andMe story that exposed a revealing surprise that could have only been discovered through my DNA.

    The Back Story

    About four years ago, my son Ryan, called me to tell me about a “strong connection” he had on his 23andMe account. This was a person unknown to us who appeared to be connected through my father’s side of the family. He urged me to get a 23andMe kit and to submit my DNA.

    Once I got over the fear and paranoia of having my DNA “out there” in no man’s land, my curiosity kicked in, so I did it. I spit in that tube and I mailed it off. Then I went about my life and didn’t give it another thought.


    What is 23andMe?

    At its core, 23andMe is a genetic testing service that provides you with a comprehensive report of your genetic data. This report includes information about your ancestry, including where your ancestors came from and how they migrated over time. It also includes information about your health and wellness, including potential genetic risks for certain diseases and traits.

    But 23andMe is more than just a genetic testing service. It also provides you with access to a community of individuals who share your DNA. This can be particularly helpful for individuals who are searching for biological family members or who want to connect with others who have similar genetic traits.

    DNA doesn't lie. 23andMe. Sisters

    And this is where the plot thickens! For some of us, it can also bring to light some shocking discoveries, like the sudden realization that you have a half-sibling. This revelation can be a lot to process emotionally, but it can also be the beginning of new relationships.

    The Shocking Discovery

    DNA testing, 23andMe, family bonds, simplicity

    Discovering a half-sister can be a jarring experience, especially if you had no idea she existed. The only sibling I knew I had was my brother, who I grew up with.

    It’s not uncommon for people to use DNA testing to learn more about their family history, but finding a half-sister can be a total surprise. Many people experience a range of emotions, from disbelief to excitement to confusion.

    It’s important to take a step back and process your feelings before taking any action. You may want to speak with a trusted friend or family member to help you work through your emotions.

    I went through the whole range of emotions before doing anything about this. My parents were long gone and to my knowledge none of my relatives had any clue there was another sibling in our family.

    The Emotional Rollercoaster

    Once you’ve processed your initial shock, you may find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster. Connecting with a half-sister can bring up a range of emotions, including joy, anxiety, and even grief. It’s important to be honest with yourself about your emotions and to give yourself time to process them.

    You’ll have a lot of questions about your shared history and family, and it’s important to approach these conversations with sensitivity and care. Remember that she is likely processing her own emotions and may need time to adjust to this new relationship as well.

    family, what a ride, emotional roller coaster

    How I Connected with “MY” Half-Sister

    Connecting with my half-sister was a rewarding and fulfilling experience. I tried to approach the relationship with realistic expectations. Honestly, for the better part of 60 years, we had no idea our relationship existed. Perhaps it would be better to just let it be? Just go on with life without opening that box?

    After lots of prayer and discussions with my family and a close friend, I decided to reach out to her. You know how you have those friends in your life that you can go months, even years, without talking to, then pick up the phone and it’s like you were just speaking yesterday? You pick right up where you just left off?

    Well, that is what if felt like. Oddly, she didn’t feel like a stranger at all. We had an instant connection, and it was remarkable. Our relationship was off to a promising start.

    Right away, we figured out that my “our” father met her mother very briefly shortly before my parents met and married. My parents had no idea she existed and her mother refused to speak to her about who her father was.

    We started by getting to know each other through phone calls and talked about getting together some time in the future. It was so helpful to have open and honest conversations about our shared history, our feelings, and our expectations for this new relationship.

    As we got to know each other a little better, we discovered that we had so much in common and we shared so many similar interests growing up. Even our health histories paralleled one another in many ways. We both wanted to build memories by sharing our experiences and we were beginning to grow closer.

    Until COVID hit.

    “I wish I had met you earlier Lisa. I thought we had all the time in the world.” – Your half-sister

    lots of time left, family, DNA

    She became ill and didn’t make it out of the hospital. I never got to tell her how much I appreciated how hard she worked to find me. I am grateful for the short time I got to know her and as with most family stories, there is a silver lining. I’m an Aunt again!

    She has two grown daughters and I had the pleasure of meeting one of them in person recently (see below). She is delightful. She is strong, courageous, and has a big heart and beautiful spirit. I look forward to getting to know my half-sister better through her daughters.

    Family, Tellina, legacy, Intentional living

    Discovering a half-sister was an exciting and life-changing event. The gift of newfound family connections enriches lives and broadens perspectives. Embrace the opportunity to learn about shared genetics, family histories, and cultural backgrounds.

    Develop meaningful relationships, share stories, and create lasting memories together. Remember, family is not only defined by blood, but also by the bonds formed through love, support, and understanding. Make opportunities to see your family as often as you can.

    “Don’t put off what you can do today until tomorrow because it may be too late.” – Jamie Perkins

    family, sisters, mindfulness

    In memory of my half-sister, Lisa. May your soul rest in peace.

    If you have a 23andMe or another genealogy story to share, feel free to leave your comment here.