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My Story with Adoption

Since I was only a month old when I was adopted into my family, I don’t remember a whole lot about my birth parents. I can’t tell you what their names were, what color of eyes they had, how curly or straight their hair was, if they had any tattoos or face piercings or even how tall they were. I can’t even tell you if they are still alive. But, none of that really matters to me. I neither saw nor heard from them again after my adoption day.

Usually people don’t believe me at first when I tell them I was adopted (which I’ve never understood, because that seems like such a strange thing to make up) on account I look so much like my family. But, if one looks close enough I’m sure they can easily spot some differences. Out of the five people who make up my immediate family, I am the only one with blue eyes. And while my mom, sister and I all have dark hair, mine is twice as thick with curls to match a poodles, opposed to the straight fine hair of my kin. I have also been outgrown by both of my siblings despite being the eldest.

Again, these little difference don’t matter a whole lot to me. I am my own, I am part of this family, but I am my own.


What really mattered to me was not having a heritage. I can tell you my grandma on my dad’s side is Irish while my dad’s dad is German. I can tell you my mom’s side is Irish, German and French. Really, my mom’s side is a combination of almost every European country. I can tell you my siblings carry these traits. What I can’t tell you is what I am. I will never share the same blood of my loved ones, no matter how hard I want to. Their heritage and family line will always be different from mine.

After listening to my many guesses about my own ancestry, my mom did some digging in hopes she would find me answers. It shocked me to discover my birth father was involved in a closed adopted and also knew nothing about his own ancestry. Apparently, my blood enjoyed passing down unanswered questions.

I think that’s about when we decided Ancestry was our best bet.

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I filled up a tube of spit and sent it off to a lab to be processed. After about 6 weeks, I got an email that my results were in. This was it. There was no going back once I opened these results. No more guessing. I had to own what I was and be okay with it.

I typed in my Ancestry password, clicked on the link that read “Genetic Ancestry” and stared at my results.

I can now, for the first time, say I descend from Eastern Europe. Ancestry made the results clear and easy to understand. Roughly 50% of my DNA descends from Eastern Europe, particular in the Polish and Eastern Ukrainian regions with some Slovakian heritage. Another 30% of me comes from Great Britain and 8% from Ireland.

The results also showed me I was 6% Native American and 4% Asian (no surprise there as I’ve actually always suspected I was Asian).

Overall, I’m really glad the days of guessing my cultural identity are done and I’m especially grateful Ancestry exists and offers people this kind of knowledge.

. . .

Knowing my own results doesn’t change how I view my family, their heritage or even my own position in my family. In fact, I feel closer to them. I plan to learn more about my own culture and hopefully share it with them over the years. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll convince them to visit the birth places of our ancestors.

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  1. Very cool Claire! Does this make you want to explore some of Eastern Europe to see where you biological ancestors came from?

    p.s. Is ancestry the one that updates your results as more people sign up and they have more data about each area?

    1. yes! I definitely want to visit Ukraine someday for sure, and yes (kinda) you get a notification every time a blood relative also signs up, so you’ll see lots of third and second cousins usually!

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