Turning to science in search of my biological family.
Over the last several years, I have tried to find biological family, by asking my parents’ friends and my father’s coworkers in Hong Kong. I requested information through the birth records database in Hong Kong fell short. Why didn’t I just ask my adoptive parents? When they were alive, I did, but they remained tight-lipped (perhaps still so surprised I figured out I was adopted). I started contemplating using one of the many DNA testing companies to find relatives.
I’m no longer looking for a biological family to quell the overwhelming angst of feeling that I don’t have a grasp on my identity – as I did in my early teens. More recently, (over the last few decades), it’s more of a curiosity to see what my relatives look like, as well as a practical desire to know about medical history for my children’s sake. Although, apparently, we can find out our the genetic predisposition to certain ailments by spitting into another test-tube – one that tests for medical and wellness issues.
I had been dragging my feet on the DNA test because I wasn’t sure which company to use. The company’s database of people in your ethnic group improved the accuracy of the test. It also increased your chance of finding someone with DNA that matched your own. A heartwarming conversation with Joy Lieberthal Rho, cofounder of Iamadoptee,org, led me to 23and me.
The next day, I ordered my DNA kit from 23andme.com and received it within the week. I excitedly opened the cardboard box, registered the kit number, and followed the easy steps on how to spit and save my sample. I resealed the pre-addressed and prepaid box, and gleefully sent it on its way (hand delivering it to the local post office to make sure it didn’t get lost on the way from a mailbox to a post office).
Now, as the page in the 23 and me kit booklet states, I wait for about five to six weeks. However, there is a handy-dandy webpage set up when you register your kit and set up an account, that lets you see where your sample is in the entire testing process.
I know I wrote that this search isn’t solely about me finding an answer to my identity to placate, but that doesn’t mean the answers won’t soothe the daily wonderings about my biological origins and ancestors, or daydreams of long-lost siblings, cousins, and tales about a history. I’ve learned to live with those gaps in my timeline and the daily burbling of my heart, that are constant reminders of loss and emptiness, so if this path is simply a spit in the wind, and unearths no new truths, I have lost nothing. But, if this process discovers something or someone, maybe I will find myself on a grand new adventure.
Stay tuned to this blog for updates!