DNA test throws life into tail­spin

Winnipeg Sun - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON

DEAR AMY: I re­cently found out through a DNA test that the man I thought was my fa­ther for more than 60 years is not my bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther. The DNA test also re­vealed that I have a half-sis­ter.

I do not want to be as­so­ci­ated with this fam­ily and have de­cided not to com­mu­ni­cate this new in­for­ma­tion with any of them.

I have sev­eral sib­lings with whom I would like to share this in­for­ma­tion, but I’m scared they will spill the beans to their spouses or oth­ers, and the “news” will be all over town.

It would be em­bar­rass­ing to our fam­ily name as well as to them and me (my par­ents are both de­ceased, as is the “sperm donor”).

Since I don’t be­lieve shar­ing this info will be of any ben­e­fit to any­one, I now have to fig­ure out how to deal with keep­ing this se­cret for the rest of my life.

Some­times I feel like

I’m about to ex­plode. The stress of learn­ing this is about too much to bear and has made me see my mother in a very neg­a­tive light.

She had to have known the truth of my bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther, and yet kept quiet to save her own rep­u­ta­tion. (Iron­i­cally, that is what I’m now con­sid­er­ing do­ing.)

I’m sure my fa­ther had no idea he was not my bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther. Amy, he doted on me!

Any sug­ges­tions about how to deal with this se­cret? — MIXED-UP!

DEAR MIXED-UP: I’ve re­ceived many ques­tions re­gard­ing re­sults of DNA test­ing, and while many peo­ple re­port pos­i­tive re­ac­tions, even when the news is un­ex­pected, there is no ques­tion that re­sults like yours can pull a per­son into a tail­spin.

Give your­self some time to process this.

I un­der­stand that this news up­ends your own ideas of who you are, but

I’d like to of­fer you an al­ter­na­tive view: You are who you’ve al­ways thought you were. Your fam­ily is your fam­ily. The fa­ther who raised and doted on you was your “real” fa­ther. Un­der­stand that it is pos­si­ble that he knew you were not his bi­o­log­i­cal child, where­upon he would have made the choice count­less par­ents have made through time — to claim you and to love you. It’s re­ally pretty sim­ple.

DNA re­sults may an­swer ques­tions you didn’t even know you had re­gard­ing hair colour or health his­tory. But don’t let a DNA test kit tell you who you are and who your fam­ily is. YOU get to de­cide that.

I urge you to own this, claim it and dis­close it if you want to. I think it would help you to talk about it, and I hope you will.

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